Esmine Barnes

This is how Esmine describes her stroke and its effects:

You have very little control over how people talk to you. They look at me and they think you are normal but youre not. You know your brain still isnt as quick as it used to be. I used to be a chef. Now my taste isnt there& things take longer to register& . Im not working& Everything I used to do was work& my day to day is me& before it used to be chefs whites& I used to look forward to collecting all my Christmas cards. It used to be 200, now Im lucky if its 10. Before I had a plan, now the whole of life is another plan.

In addition to all the changes in her life, Esmine talks about her frustration trying to find out information and where to get help:

Now Im not earning& its so difficult to get benefits and& who to ask? She is also angry about the lack of understanding To think were in the Millennium and its still not okay to be disabled. They cant see the bruise on your brain so how can you be disabled if they cant see it.

Esmine has been coming to Connect to see one of our stroke counsellors:

Boy& you have that hour just to say to a therapist how your days been, how your weeks been, how you feel. Its tapping your power line.

She also comes along once a month to the Young Persons Group and the Womens Group:

Its helped me focus on how to be understood and how to understand other people. Its meeting people and you think "wow!" and people who are in the same boat and being inspired by them. For me just to go out and have a conversation& just to go into a room of people and to learn& my speech is so incredibly much better.


Esmine is 35. Before her stroke, 18 months ago, she worked as a chef in a busy restaurant.