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Virus makes woman think she's living in the 1970s

Virus makes woman think she's living in the 1970s

Alison Winterburn believed that she was living in the 1970s in 2012 because of a brain injury

A woman suffered a seriously traumatic brain injury that left her believing that she was living in the 1970s.

Alison Winterburn didn’t even recognise herself in the mirror at first, and was completely shocked by the increase in prices, so much so that she couldn’t even look at the newspaper.

She believed that she was younger and that it was the 1970s, despite the fact that it was 2012 and she was 51 years old.

She said: “I was genuinely shocked to see a middle-aged lady looking back at me and not the youngster I expected.

“For a long time I wouldn't allow my husband to buy the newspaper because I was horrified by the inflated prices.

“I couldn't quite comprehend the time jump between the era I thought I was living in and my twenty-first century reality.

“My catchphrase became: 'It's how much?!'"

Alison Winterburn.
MEN Media

Alison, from Wilmslow, fell ill unexpectedly in October 2012 when her family realised that she was speaking difficultly and not making eye contact.

Her husband Ray took her off to the hospital, where they noticed that Alison was suffering with encephalitis, a virus that causes inflammation of the brain.

Despite taking medication to get rid of the virus, she was left with scarring on her frontal lobe, which is what caused the injury that changed her life.

The former psychology teacher said: “I felt groggy and dizzy for weeks,

“When I returned home after spending three weeks in Manchester Royal Infirmary, the scariest thing was that my brain injury had caused extreme short and long-term memory loss.

“I truly believed it was still the 1970s.

“This unnerving bout of confusion lasted for several weeks. Gradually, my short-term memory improved and, with the continued support of my family, I slowly came to terms with the real middle-aged and married-with-children 'me'.

“I effectively had to relearn who I was.

“I had no idea where I was, even in my own home.

“For a long time, I didn’t recognise anywhere.

“I was stuck in the 1970s and I have a vague idea that it wasn’t right.

“Being a teacher of psychology, I was almost able to treat myself as if I was a case study.

“It encouraged me to get better.”

Alison is continuing her recovery.
MEN Media

Now, she continues with her recovery, although she hasn’t been able to return to work.

Still, she has help from her sons and her husband, but life is different.

She said: “Failing to go back to work was a disappointment because you lose all your independence,

“I was devastated, but I eventually resigned myself to my new limitations and retired from my teaching post.

"The major problem I face even today is not knowing where I am.

“It’s like you’re not the same person you were before.

“Me and my husband went on holiday a few years ago before lockdown and I don’t remember much about it.

"Even today, life can prove very difficult when people do not understand why I suffer from memory problems and I sometimes think of that teenage girl in the mirror, wishing I really was her again.

"However, my two now-adult sons have been encouraging and resolutely positive ever since my brain injury and I am determined to rebuild my sense of self-worth.”

Featured Image Credit: MEN Media

Topics: UK News, Health, Weird