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‘We’ve Become Forgotten’ – Bill star Chris Ellison’s wife tells of his struggle with aphasia

When Bruce Willis reveals that he suffers from aphasia, he provides an unexpected lifeline to another actor. Former Bill star Chris Ellison has been suffering from the same condition since suffering a stroke a year and a half ago.

Chris found it difficult to deal with the situation, he and his wife Anita were “like hermits”, rarely leaving their home. The once-powerful actor has seen his talents “taken away” and she now struggles to answer everyday questions.

But after Hollywood legend Bruce Willis broke his silence to tell us about his struggle with the condition, he lifted the spirits of his fellow actor. Now Chris and Anita have told about their own ordeal on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, according to The Express.

Anita told the TV audience how their lives changed when Chris had a stroke. He had aphasia, a brain disorder that affects a person’s speech or language.

Anita told how her husband was often “embarrassed and grabbed my arm because he couldn’t speak”. “We were really hermits,” she said. “We never went out.”

But after Bruce Willis announced his diagnosis of aphasia, Chris gained a new sense of confidence, Anita added, “I saw a huge change in Chris. He was lifted immediately.”

Chris Ellison played DCI Burnside on the popular ITV series The Bill from 1984 to 2000. He also starred in the spin-off Burnside but has a long list of other shows to his name including The Professionals, Dempsey, Makepeace and Bergerac.

But his life took a dramatic turn 18 months ago when he was diagnosed with aphasia after suffering a stroke. Anita hopes that increased public awareness of aphasia will now help people understand that Chris has difficulties answering questions but can “understand”. “Just be patient,” she added.

Witnessing the impact of aphasia on her husband, Anita is sympathetic to Bruce Willis’ plight. She said, “It robbed him of his talents. His talents as an artist. But he’s the same smart guy on the inside and he deserves the same respect.”

Anita went on to reveal the positive impact that Bruce Willis’ announcement had on her life. “I was in mourning,” she said. “I cried a lot but now I feel relieved.”



Actor Bill Chris Ellison and wife Anita talk about their struggle after being diagnosed with aphasia

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is when a person has difficulty with their language or speech. It is usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain (for example, after a stroke).

More than 350,000 people are currently living with aphasia in the UK.

According to the NHS, people with aphasia often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use them.

here they are:

  • reading
  • listening
  • speak
  • writing or writing.

The NHS explains: “Speech problems are perhaps the most obvious, and people with aphasia may make mistakes in the words they use.”

This can sometimes be using the wrong sounds in a word, choosing the wrong word, or incorrectly putting words together.

Although aphasia affects a person’s ability to communicate, it does not affect their intelligence.

Aphasia can occur alone or in combination with other disorders, such as visual difficulties, movement problems, limb weakness, and problems with memory or thinking skills.



Christopher Ellison played DCI Burnside in The Bill
Christopher Ellison played DCI Burnside in The Bill

How is aphasia treated?

Speech and language therapy is the main type of treatment for people with aphasia, according to the NHS.

This is intended to help restore some of your ability to communicate, as well as help you develop alternative ways of communicating, if necessary.

You may receive speech and language therapy on an individual basis or in a group, depending on your needs and the service provided.

An increasing number of computer-based applications are available to support people with aphasia.

But it is important to start using them with the help of a speech and language therapist.

How successful treatment is varies from person to person. Most people with aphasia recover to some degree, and some recover completely.

If the aphasia is caused by a one-time event, such as a stroke, most patients recover to some extent with treatment. There is no evidence that recovery stops at a specific time after a stroke.

But the chance of recovery is lower for people with aphasia caused by a progressive neurological condition.

Some people can still respond to treatment, but there are currently no good ways to reverse persistent brain injury.

When aphasia results from a progressive condition, treatment focuses on making the most of what people can still do and developing other ways of communicating to prepare for a time when speaking is more difficult.

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