People who've heard the story of Jessica and Rich claim it's something straight out of the movies. Which one does it remind you of?
20-year-old Jessica Sharman lost her memory an attack of seizures one day in March last year, according to The Sun. Jessica had no idea who her family or friends were, including her boyfriend Rich Bishop, and he's had to woo her again, from the start. Jessica, whose memory has still not returned had to gradually get to know 25-year-old Rich and her family from scratch. This does remind you of Drew Barrymore's 50 First Dates, doesn't it? But, with the help of her boyfriend and her parents, she is slowly piecing together the parts of her life she's forgotten and it seems to be working. Jessica and Rich had been together for seven months when disaster struck. The two of them were on the tube (local subway in the UK), traveling from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, into London, where they work together when Jessica suffered a series of seizures. She said, “I was terrified. I had no idea who anyone was. Everyone was a stranger to me. I didn’t even know my own name. I remember boarding the train that day in March, but that’s it."
She continued, "I’ve been told my body went limp and my eyes glazed over. But we had nearly arrived in London and Rich was able to support me until we got to the station, then walk me to our office and call my parents while he looked after me. I now recall seeing a woman running towards me but I had no idea who she was. She was hugging me and asking if I was OK but I just stared back at her blankly. She kept saying she was my mum.” Jessica's parents were shocked to learn she could not recognize them at all. Jessica lives with her parents, Lisa, 49, and electrician Gary, 56. She said, “My mum started frantically digging out pictures of us on her phone to try to jog my memory. But not only did I not recognize my parents in the pictures . . . I had no idea what I looked like. I found a mirror and looked at my reflection but it was like I was looking at a stranger."
“I did match the person in the photos, though, so agreed to go home with my parents. Mum put a hand on my knee but I pushed it off, it felt weird to be touched by a stranger," she added, while also mentioning that she could not recognize her own home when she got there. "I didn't recognize the house. My mum gave me a tour but nothing came back to me. My parents invited Rich over but I didn’t know him and, when they left me alone with him, I was really scared," said Jessica.
Jessica's parents' then took her to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, where she was kept under observation for a week where she was diagnosed with amnesia brought on by epilepsy. Jessica was diagnosed with Epilepsy from the age of 14, but it did not have a big impact on her life. Jessica said, “Doctors told me it could take six months for my memory to return — if it returned at all. My head was spinning, it felt like I was in a horror film.”
She was soon discharged from the hospital and went home, where she got to spend some alone time with Rich, but she claims she did not like it one bit at first and struggled to accept him. She said, "I remember at one point I was left on my own with him and hated it. I didn’t know him but he was acting like we were in love. So two weeks later, I tried to end the relationship. He looked so hurt and promised he would help me remember how great we were together."
He was quite persuasive because Jessica finally decided to give it a try. She said, “Seeing how passionate and caring he was, finally convinced me he must care for me, so I agreed to give it a shot." Rich had anyway made it a mission to get Jessica to fall in love with him all over again. Rich did everything possible, from taking her on romantic walks in the park, and revisiting her favorite restaurant while he kept telling her things from their time together.
And it all worked out in the end. “He was so patient with me, so sweet, I couldn’t help but fall for him," she said. “My parents taught me how to cook again, told me what TV I liked and how I liked to dress. Socialising was hard, as friends expected me to trust them straight away, she added. Jessica did not return to work with Rich, but she waited it out a while till she was confident enough, and she landed herself a job by September."
She says, “I was starting to leave the house more. People I’d known for years would approach me and start chatting. It was stressful admitting I had no idea who they were. It’s hard to explain losing 19 years’ experiences — and doctors say I may never get these back. I’ve had to relearn everything about those close to me — and doctors say there’s a 50 percent chance I could lose my memory all over again. But Rich was able to make me fall in love with him twice — so I know he could do it again.”