I Woke Up Gay
I had a stroke when I was 20. I know it sounds crazy but it caused me to stop liking girls and start liking boys. The stroke turned me gay (I Woke Up Gay, Tuesday 9pm).
My life changing stroke happened because I did a forward roll down a hill. Don’t worry, I'd laugh too if someone told me that.
It was a really scary time; everything I knew about myself had been pulled from under me and I needed to start all over again. I turned into a totally different person.
Before the stroke, the 'old me' loved girls. I'd had a few girlfriends, been out on single nights, speed dating, even the odd 'grab a granny night' in the local clubs. At one point, I was even engaged to a girl.
Then this massive change happened.
I had physical problems after the stroke and still have some of them today - like one nipple is oddly lower than the other - but thankfully for the most part, the changes are only noticeable to me.
After all the physical stuff had sorted itself out, I started to notice I was different to the person I was before. It wasn't an overnight change though; it took me a few years to completely realise that the person I am wasn't the person I was.
There were loads of differences in my personality - mostly little things, but still - things I noticed. I found myself staring at my DVD collection and considered throwing out the horror flicks that seemed to dominate it. I didn't feel the need to fill the gaps with Disney flicks or Dirty Dancing, but I definitely had a realisation that I wasn’t the same person I used to be.
I found myself going from liking girls to liking guys. I'd always been able to say a guy was attractive without being attracted to them, but this was different.
The feelings I had worried me. I kept thinking that these weren't my thoughts, then I wondered if I'd always felt this way. I was afraid to talk to anyone around me in case this was just temporary or they'd take the mick.
This whole process was like going through puberty all over again, only this time I was alone, it was unexpected and nobody understood what I was going through. I was a typical teenager but at 23 years old!
Eventually, after I realised that these changes were here to stay I started to tell people that I wasn't straight anymore, beginning with my family and closest friends. This was the most awkward set of conversations I've ever had to have. As it’d taken me nearly 2 years to deal with these feelings myself, I knew that the people around me would probably need time to deal with what I'd told them too.
The majority of people I told were really accepting and understanding. There were the odd few who weren’t so accepting, but I do live in the Valleys and like it or not, there are some people whose opinions are firmly planted back in the 1950s!
Even though the majority were accepting, I started to feel like I no longer connected with the people I used to spend my time with. The conversations no longer interested me (sorry!) and I started to wonder why I was even friends with them in the first place. I guess that was when I realised that the 'New Me' was making a stand here. I was left with a choice; either live a life I didn't enjoy and that didn't belong to me anymore or make a change. So I made the change.
Chris and his friends
I decided to make this documentary to let people know that this kind of thing can happen after any sort of brain injury. Even though my case is towards the extreme end, it's important to me that the psychological effects of a brain injury aren't given nearly enough attention as they should be.
Personally, it also gave me the chance to learn more about what happened to me and to find out if what happened was unique to just me. I guess you'll have to watch it to find out!
I'm happier than I ever have been. Meeting new people was way easier than I expected - I went out one night, and chatted to - rather than chatted up – girls. I have now found myself with a group of friends I love, who I might not have had without having had a stroke. Weird!
I Woke Up Gay is on Tuesday 17 april at 9pm.