Lotje’s living situation had to change after her stroke. She went through a period of time when she couldn’t take care of herself. She understood that she needed the help, but she still had big feelings about losing her autonomy.

We are continuing discussing Netflix’s documentary, My Beautiful Broken Brain, a film about Lotje’s efforts to understand her new way of seeing and interacting with the world with aphasia. This is the second article in a series of four posts about this wonderful documentary. You can read the first post here.

Currently, you can only watch this documentary on Netflix.

Revisiting Home

Lotje tried going back to her apartment, the scene of her stroke, but she felt physically ill being back in the space. She described it like being back in a nightmare. She couldn’t remember all the details from the night of her stroke, but being in the space triggered enough memories to make her dizzy.

Moving Day

Instead, Lotje moved back in with her mother. In an article in the Guardian, Lotje unpacked how she felt about leaving the hospital:

The hospital’s language therapist had promised to get me discharged as soon as possible, assuming I was eager to go home. But I felt anxious about leaving. It was decided I would go and live with my mother. A formidable Baltic nurse ripped the metal staples from my blood-caked scar. The taxi slid over the speed bumps on the way home; it felt as wild and frightening as a lifeboat on a stormy sea.

In the film, she sighed that she was 34 and living with her mother again; her first time since moving out at 18. She stated, “I feel like a baby, but I’m a grown up.”

Someone Else’s Property

Later in the film, she returned to the hospital for in-patient therapy. She bluntly explained that being in the hospital felt like people were hijacking her life.

In the hospital, she felt like property more than a person. She was sick and tired of other people taking over her plans, telling her what she needed to do and when. She had a hard time adjusting to the hospital’s schedule. This stemmed from the fact that she was at a stage of life where she should be able to take care of herself but couldn’t. That thought brought out a lot of frustration.

Lotje had big feelings about her living situation, understandable considering that aphasia upended her life and changed everything. Our next article will look at memory and her attempts to organize thoughts.