WE all have days where we want to go back to being a child, but for one woman, this is a scary reality.
Chloe Barnard suffers with amnesia and says that her episodes have at times, transported her to her six-year-old self.
This has been difficult for both the 29-year-old and her fiancé James, who Chloe has on occasion, accused of kidnapping her, as she forgets where she is and who her partner of nine years is.
Luckily, the barmaid says her memory usually returns within 24 hours, but said that both James, 29, and her parents Trish, 49, and David 56, have had to calm her down.
Chloe, who lives in Leicestershire said: “I can go back to being any age. I’ve been back to being six years old. That was horrifying.
“One night, me and James had a barny that wasn’t massive but I’d gone to bed because I was mardy with him and something woke me up.
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“I went downstairs and there was a stairgate, I didn’t recognise the house but I thought ‘it must be mine because there’s a staircase and I’m only six’.
“My partner was on the sofa with the dog, which I didn’t know was mine. I sat on the stairs and said ‘who are you and who is the dog? I want my mummy and my daddy’.
“He knew what to do and not to panic. He got me back upstairs and he got into bed completely naked and told me to get into bed. I told him I wasn’t getting into bed with a paedo and that I want my mummy and daddy. I was stood there with my nan’s teddy bear!
It was on this occasion that Chloe attempted to call the police, but James was able to take the phone from her.
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During the distressing experience, Chloe said she didn’t want James to touch her.
She added: “I picked up a spanner so I knew I could hurt him if I needed to.
“He asked what I was going to do with it and I said if he came near me, I’d hit him with it and that I wanted my mummy and daddy.
“He calmed me down and said ‘I know your mummy and daddy’. We called them and they explained it and when I woke up the next morning, I was totally fine.”
On a separate occasion, Chloe detailed how she went back to being 16-years-old.
She woke up and asked James who he was.
James knew she was having an episode and took her to work with him in his lorry, so that she wouldn’t be alone.
But in her confused state, Chloe couldn’t believe him when he told her they were engaged and they loved each other.
“I wanted to believe her but I didn’t and it was really hard for me.
“I told him I needed a wee so we stopped at a services and I was in the queue for the toilet and I was looking at the staff behind the tills to get their attention without making it obvious to James.
“I wanted them to call the police.
“I thought he was kidnapping me. A staff member asked if I was ok and I said I wasn’t sure and that I’d come in a lorry, I didn’t know the driver but my mum said he’s ok but I didn’t know what to do.
“They offered to call the police but I didn’t want to get him in trouble because my mum said he was ok.”
When Chloe got back into the lorry, she fell to sleep, but when she woke up, she was 19, the year she said she first met James.
I thought my dad had pimped me out
This time Chloe knew who he was and drifted off to sleep once more, when she woke up, she was back to 29.
Now Chloe suffers one of these episodes every couple of months, which can be triggered by stress or a lack of sleep.
However, experts have told her that they could be bought on by a stroke she had when she was just 19.
Chloe was first diagnosed with amnesia in 2018 after she had gone to the pub with James and her dad – but had been unable to recognise him – thinking she was still with her ex partner.
The couple had a drink, Chloe had popped to the loo but when she returned she didn’t recognise James.
When they decided to leave the pub, James asked Chloe to get into the car.
What is amnesia?
Most people forget things from time to time, and usually it’s nothing to worry about.
But the NHS says that amnesia, which is consistent memory loss needs to be checked out.
For many people, it can be a natural part of getting older, for some it can be caused by issues such as :
- sleeping issues
In more serious cases, it can also be a sign of dementia.
She said: “I said ok but I thought my dad had pimped me out.
“I thought this is an all-time low for me and a new level for my dad.
“I got in the passenger side and the bloke said I had to drive because I’d hardly drank. I thought he was so rude but I got in the driver’s seat and I didn’t know how to drive.”
Chloe had forgotten she had passed her test and it was then that James realised she didn’t know who he was.
Chloe then locked herself in the car and called her mum, who then picked her up.
The barmaid now tries to get as much sleep as possible as she believes this is a trigger for her.
“The consultant told me that it only normally happens twice in a person’s lifetime but it happens every couple of months [for me].
“The more sleep I get the more it brings me around and they say stress is a factor. They aren’t sure if there’s a connection with my stroke but, if so, it took six years for it to start happening.
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“I just have to deal with it but it shatters you out, it can take a whole week to recover.
“James deals with it really well but it does worry him. I couldn’t imagine having to look after someone going through it”, she added.