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The plot of the rom-com “50 First Dates” is much less romantic in reality.
Life is in some ways comparable to the 2004 Drew Barrymore film for UK-based TikTok influencer Megan Jackson, whose Functional Neurological Disorder causes a variety of symptoms including memory loss.
The 21-year-old was diagnosed with the debilitating brain condition when she was 17 and experiences temporary paralysis, memory problems and seizures as a result. She’s taken to documenting her experience with it on TikTok, where she has more than 332,000 followers.
Her girlfriend, 22-year-old Tara Sorkin, has developed an assortment of sweet methods to help jog Jackson’s memory, including maintaining a diary for her, taking her to places she’s been before and recently celebrating Valentine’s Day multiple times.
“We’ve only been together a few months and we’ve been through way too much. We shouldn’t have been through this amount of trauma and I’ve forgotten her at least four times,” Jackson told the Mirror. “It’s like ‘50 First Dates.’ Everyone refers to it like that.”
Sometimes, following a seizure and resultant memory wiping, Jackson will be told “this is your girlfriend, Tara” and will respond with confusion.
“I’ll be like ‘What the hell — I’m not even gay,’” she told the publication. Due to her chronic condition, she believes it’s impossible to truly know her sexuality, “because I’ve forgotten.”
Perhaps the cruelest part of FND is that it is triggered by extreme emotions, including happiness.
“It’s so depressing. I have seizures pretty much every day,” she said. “I only need to laugh then I have a fit. It affects every part of my life.”
Particularly funny or sad TV programs can trigger her FND, as can stress. Attempting to suppress a seizure, she said, only makes it worse — “You’ve got to ride it out.”
Her condition has made it difficult to maintain traditional employment.
“I can’t work. I’ve been let go by so many jobs,” she said
This month, Jackson launched a GoFundMe so she can afford private health care instead of the care offered through the UK’s public National Health Service.
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