Locked in Syndrome – An interview with a stroke survivor

On the 16th of November 2009, Mia Austins world was about to change dramatically. Oblivious as what was about to happen, she had gone about her day no different to any other, work followed by gym and then home.

While at the gym, Mia started to feel unwell leaving earlier than normal. Overcome by a banging headache, feeling faint and shaky she returned home and ran a bath. But before the bath had even finished, Mia was struck down with agonising head pain and shortly after she fainted, hitting her head forcefully against the radiator.

Once Mia had come back round she managed to go down stairs and alert her parents of what had just happened. Seeing if she could sleep it off she went to rest in her parents bed but awoke to vomiting and had started to look visibly grey.

Mias Dad could tell something wasn’t right and called 999. Terrified & confused Mia was taken away in an ambulance with her Dad by her side.

It would soon be discovered that Mias headache was due to a massive stroke, a stroke so catastrophic it left her unable to speak or move her body, yet her brain was completely conscious . This is referred to as ‘Locked in syndrome’

Only able to communicate with her eyes, Mia hasnt let this hold her back, doing numerous chairty events, insane thrill seeking stunts, travelling the world far and wide and has now written her very own book! In the blink of an eye: The Story of Mia Austin and Her Triumph over Locked-In Syndrome

It has now been almost 10 years from the day it happened & Mia has improved vastly. I wanted to get to know how Mia was doing and see the world from a different perspective, from her perspective and how we can all learn a thing or too from this fiesty fighter of a girl!

  • Before the stroke, What aspirations and plans did you have?

I was working at the Co-Op travel agency building up my career around my number one passion- travelling! I was saving for a mortgage and was hoping to soon be on the property ladder.

  • What kind of a person where you?

I was a very stressy person always on the go be it at work or in my social life.

  • What was your daily life like?

Work hard, play hard. I also went to the gym most days and did lots of mountain climbing for fun. I didn’t drink or smoke.

  • Had the Doctors ever raised any concerns about your health?

No I was in good health.

  • What where you doing the day it happened? Where you aware of what was going on?

I had been to work, and came home after with a headache. My mum asked me to do some ironing for her, I wasn’t feeling good but did it anyway. After that I went up for a bath but fainted and hit my head hard on the radiator. After that I left the bathroom and told my mum and dad what had happened and he told me to go and lie down. They knew something was off though and phoned an ambulance.
I didn’t know what was about to happen I just felt headachey and faint. I wasn’t aware I was having a stroke.

  • When you first came round,what was your first thought?

why can’t I speak?

  • What do you wish people would understand about you?

EVERYTHING. I’m not deaf. I don’t know sign language. I’m all there mentally. How much patience it takes.

  • What improvements have you seen since that day?

I can move my legs and arms a little bit more. I have lots of facial muscles back in action. I’ve been practicing my handwriting.

  • How has it all affected your life?

Only good, it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me to make the most of everyday.

  • What would your advice be to others in the same situation as yours?

Don’t stress!

  • What have you done since the stroke that you never thought you would do again?

I try not to think like that. Anything is possible and I don’t like to limit myself or rule anything out for myself. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

  • What are your dreams for the future?

I have a bucket list that I keep adding to and I try to keep ticking things off whenever I can.

For further insight into the life of Mia Austin, her book In the Blink of an Eye: The Story of Mia Austin and Her Triumph over Locked- In Syndrome is now available to purchase either via paper back or E:Book.

On a personal recommendation, everyone should download a copy of her book, it is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. You will learn about her incredible family, the amazing and selfless work she has done for others and how having locked in syndrome hasn’t stopped one dream or ambition being for filled! it will make you laugh, cry, get angry for her sake and be driven to reach your own goals in life without any excuse.

Thank you so much to Mia for agreeing to take part in my different perspective series!

You can also follow the latest on Mia by following her Facebook blog page :Mountains for Mia


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