A young woman is “still in the honeymoon phase” with her boyfriend of three years after she lost all her memory and fell in love with him again.
Sophie Clayton, 27, suffered a nosebleed which triggered a rare disorder, disconnecting her brain from her nervous system.
Within minutes she forgot everything up to that date – including her own name, and then her whole family and her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years, Jonathan Wilson, 27.
She never got any of it back – so as well as learning to do things like use a knife and fork again, she also had to get to know Jonathan too.
The pair from Surrey “dated” again – and just like the movie 50 First Dates, patient Jonathan took her on a tour of their early haunts and places they’d been together.
The besotted pair fell in love again, and Sophie told podcast Real Fix it meant she still gets the “butterflies” you usually get when you first meet someone.
And despite being together for more than three years, she still feels like she’s in the “honeymoon phase”.
Speaking to the new podcast, which features people telling extraordinary stories in their own words, Sophie said: “I still get the butterfly feeling when I’m around him.
“I feel like I’m in the honeymoon period again, and he’s definitely not so we’re on polar opposites at the minute.
“I would say that I feel like I have been able to meet him all over again.
“It’s a really lovely feeling.”
Before her nose bleed, emergency resource dispatcher Sophie was healthy, enjoyed running regularly and worked in the control room for the London Ambulance Service.
She lived with her parents in Surrey and was getting ready for a night shift in November 2019 when she suddenly had a nosebleed.
Sophie was rushed to St George’s Hospital in London and doctors discovered she had functional neurological disorder (FND) – a condition where signals between the brain and nervous system are interrupted.
FND is most commonly caused by stress or depression, but as Sophie had not been suffering with either, it is likely that she was born with the disorder.
The separation between her brain and nervous system could have happened at any time.
In Sophie’s case, there had been a small amount of pressure on her brain and when the nosebleed released that pressure, it triggered her condition.
It resulted in left side weakness and devastatingly resulted in Sophie losing all of her long term memory.
She told episode seven of the podcast: “I’d pretty much forgotten everything from the 6th of November to me being born.
“It ranged from really basic things like how to use a knife and fork to quite important things, like my mum and dad’s names.
“My dad arrived first [at hospital] and the first thing I said was ‘who is this man?’
“So the next day it would have been Jonathan. My mum had to introduce him to me as my boyfriend.”
She stayed in the hospital for a few days for physiotherapy before she was allowed to return home to her parents in a wheelchair.
Sophie can’t remember anything before the bleed, so Jonathan pulled out all the stops to help her, recreating favourite dates and making photo books of memories.
They went to Kew Gardens – where they first became girlfriend and boyfriend – and Bath Christmas Market where they enjoyed an early date.
They went to Richmond Park, the seaside, and a tour round London.
She said: “I’ve come to terms with the fact I probably won’t get my memory back, so that took quite some time to get used to.
“But now I’m focusing on moving forward, rather than the past.”
She spoke to the team at the Real Fix podcast – which features real life people telling their own extraordinary stories in their own words.