Jessica Sherwood Advocates for FND
I am 23 years old. I live in the UK and was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder in September 2012. My Name is Jessica.
Now you may be wondering why on earth I gave my name last, well the reason is that currently my life is controlled by F.N.D and has been since September 2012. Jessica, the person I was has gone; she is but a distant memory. Now, legally my name is still Jessica, but I do not feel like her.
At just over 2 years old I took my first dance class in the local village hall, a few years later I did my first dance show at the local theatre. Wearing my first ever tutu, a little baby pink one, I stood there on the front row next to my best friend at the time, we looked at each other giggling and copying the teachers feet. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, and neither did my parents have a clue that this was just the beginning.
At 7 years old we moved house, not to far but enough that meant I had to move dance schools. That was when I began my serious dance lesson. Intense ballet classes, tap, theatre craft and gymnastics. I also did a bit of disco/freestyle but not much at this stage. I took exam after exam, falling more and more in love with my ballet shoes, dancing was becoming my life. I performed in more shows at the local theatre and danced for hours at home annoying my parents and brothers.
By the time I hit teenage years dancing was all I knew and at this point I decided to move dance schools again and that was when the big change in my dancing happened. I started doing a lot more modern, disco and freestyle dancing, the ballet became less intense. I had 3 lots of exams each year, summer, autumn and winter.
Then after Christmas was the best time, we prepared for the annual shows that we did every Easter time. We would all get really excited finding out what music we were using, how many routines we were going to be in, would we get picked for any extra routines, it was amazing! But the best was half way through practices when we would turn up to our lessons, pay our class fee, walk into the room and the costume maker would be sat there with bags over spilling with sequins, netting, lycra, glitter, everything!
The most exciting bit by far was finding out what the costumes would be like after months of speculating! I had some incredible ones, tutus, ballet dresses, cat-suits, costumes with more sparkle than Aladdin’s cape. I did also have some that were not quite so nice, a particular one big blue flared trousers with a lemon yellow long-sleeved crop top! I loved it, trying them on and then counting down the weeks to getting them to take home and show my family…the annual fashion show they all dreaded, particularly my mum wondering how many sequins and feathers she would have to sew on! It was amazing but the absolutely without a doubt most incredible thing has to be having the chance to dance on the stage in the West End not once but three times! It was mind-blowing, I was awestruck when I first saw the theatre, Her Majesty’s Palace Theatre where Phantom of the Opera is performed, but then to get to dance on the stage was out of this world.
I was with this dance school until around 18 months ago (Spring 2011) and then I took a ‘break’, which I use in the loosest sense of the word as I still danced at home everyday, to allow me to spend time with Terri-ann when she moved up here and to plan our amazing wedding. That is however another story! I had decided in the summer last year that I was desperately missing dancing on the stage and so planned to join a new dance class/school in September.
Ironically the first lesson would have been on the 10th September 2012, the day I woke up and got rushed to hospital, later finding out I had F.N.D. That was the end of dancing for me, for now anyway.
“Jessica was a bubbly, chatty, confident person. Always helping others, very selfless, loved her job caring for the elderly in the community, always going that extra mile to help her clients; nothing was too much for her. She was healthy, always active be it dancing, at the gym or just generally jumping around being happy. She had her whole life ahead of her, a new wife, plans for a family, making her house a home and so much more.”
On the 10th of September 2012, Jessica went missing, stolen by a horrendous disorder called F.N.D.
Now, although still called Jessica, the person left behind reflects nothing of the true Jessica. Yes I am still selfless, caring and boy I can still chat but that’s it. I can’t work, can’t help myself let alone others and I need 24/7 care; healthy isn’t a word in my vocabulary anymore. I try to remain as happy and positive as I possibly can but it isn’t easy; constantly in pain, unable to walk, needing help just to go to the toilet. Washing and dressing is completely out of the question and as for dancing, well the closest I can get is the severe non-epileptic seizures I have daily that send my body spasming and tremoring out of control.
I long to find the true Jessica, to put on ballet shoes, my favourite dress, play my favourite music and go into my wonderland that has long disappeared…Will I ever be able to do that again, I don’t know.
My name is Jessica, I’m 23, I live in the UK and I have Functional Neurological Disorder.
FEB. 1, 2013
Hi, I am Jessica’s wife (Terri).. I made this video for her to show my love and support for her cause. Jessica has been diagnosed with FND – Functional Neurological Disorder which has left here severly disabled needing 24/7 care from me. FND is a rare disorder with very little knowledge or understanding from medical professionals. Most sufferers are diagnosed without explination, support or a treatment plan. We are trying to raise much needed awareness of FND and also raise money to buy Jess an electric wheelchair so that she can have some independence back. Unfortunately she does not qualify for help with costs from the NHS for a chair 🙁 Please SHARE and let’s raise much needed awareness – we want sufferers to know they are not alone and the more people that know about this debilitating disorder – hopefully the more interest will be gained from medical professionals to do some much needed research into FND! Thank you x Terri x (I do not own any copyright to Coldplay’s song featured in this video)
FEB. 25 2013
Jessica and Terri-Ann on the news:
We would like to add in response to the comments of the ‘expert dr’ that today we received a report from the Psychiatric assessment Jess underwent last week which has clearly stated that she is NOT suffering from any kind of traumatic event, nor does she have depression or some other suppressed stress that has caused this illness! Also, Dr Grunewald has NEVER even met or treated Jess, and is therefore making assumption as to the cause rather than basing his comments on the facts of her individual case!
FEB. 28 2013
Jessica and Terri-Ann Interviewed by the Derbyshire Times
Just wanted you guys to see what joy you helped to create! ….Without all of your help to get the wheelchair, Jess wouldn’t be able to enjoy walking our pup like she does on a good day like yesterday! thank u all so much! I love seeing her be as mobile as possible and enjoying the simplest of things we all take for granted! Love Terri xxx