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Video title: When your legs stop working overnight

Video duration: 3:52

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Video transcript

[Music playing]

Chelsea: So I went to bed as normal and I went to … [laughs] I went to get up to go to the bathroom, believe it or not at 2 o'clock in the morning and I just went to flick the covers off, you know, you know, everyone flicks the covers off flips their legs out of bed and just kind of zombie-like to the toilet. I went to flip my legs out and they just … they're not moving. Wait, I can't feel them either, and then I think I cried for about an hour and then I called the ambulance.

Two years ago, Chelsea was living and studying in Wellington. At 20 years old, her life was suddenly changed forever.

Chelsea: It was very strange it was like they were there but they're not there at the same time. So imagine like you sit on your foot for a while and then all of a sudden it goes numb and you know, you uncross your feet and it comes back, pins and needles and that kind of stuff. But that kind of stuff didn't come back. So my official diagnosis is functional neurological disorder, umm and then there's like branches of other things that come off that diagnosis. So, like a branch might be non-epileptic seizures or things like that. So my branch is functional paraplegia. So basically it means that something has gone wrong in my brain in the way that it connects to the movement. So, with someone else, they might have a spinal cord injury where the connection's broken in the spinal cord, but in mine, it's broken in the brain rather than in the spinal cord, umm so they don't really know how to fix it [laughs].

But she’s not letting her situation change her positive nature.

Chelsea: The most common word people use to describe me is bubbly [laughs] really can't help that. I have my dark times because I do have other mental health issues so that does make it a lot harder, but for me, if I focus on that stuff it just makes everyday life so much harder. So if I try to focus on something else or even if I just push it to the side even though you're not supposed to do that. Umm even if I just push it to the side it just means that I can go about day to day like I can get up and make a coffee or get up and have a shower. You know, sometimes things like that are just little achievements that that might be all you do today but that's ok.

Her disability has given her a new outlook on life.

Chelsea: 'Cause it is a new life. I mean, you look at everything differently like we'll be driving down the road and I'll be sitting in the passenger seat and I'll just be sitting like this out the window and, oh yup, I can get into that house but not that one, or that one, or that one. Ooh, that one's got a ramp. But you know, things like that I didn't look at before. You know, going into town, ooh I can get into that shop 'cause I can move around in there. Oh, I can't get through those two, OK we'll do a u-turn and go right around the other side just to get to the other side of that shelf. But you know, things like that you just, you don't think about when you're walking.

Chelsea remains active, playing for the Manawatu Wheelchair Rugby Team.

Chelsea: Yeah I spent about three months to start off with when I first came home basically I want a better word than hiding but I spent three months hiding from everybody because I didn't want to have to explain to them what had happened. So I decided to put a big post up on Facebook and I was just like, well this is what happened, this is what I look like for now, if someday my legs come back, that's fine if someday they don't then I'm just going to keep living my life.

[Music plays outro]

Last updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2019

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