Joe Miller doesn't remember life before his stroke. Luckily, the 25-year-old has Instagram.
In a personal narrative published by People, Miller recalls going to bed with a migraine just weeks before his birthday last October.
When a roommate shook him awake three days later, Miller was rushed to the hospital. The doctors told his family he had a stroke and vomited so much he'd collapsed a lung.
Worse than the physical pain, however, was the loss of 25 years worth of memories.
The Brazil-born man didn't recognize his brother or sister.
He didn't even remember his pursuit of an artistic career in Los Angeles.
The spark that finally began bringing back memories, however, wasn't a family photo album or a favorite painting.
It was Instagram.
Miller explained, "Before my stroke, I had an avid Instagram addiction..."
"...when I first logged in after the accident, I was shocked."
"I kept going farther and farther back."
"It's insane how those little snippets of memories -- videos, captions, photos -- triggered certain memories."
The pictures, sounds and colors brought back pieces of Miller's life.
Although he estimates 95 percent of his memories are gone, he's started to make connections and spend time with other stroke victims.
Miller's ultimate goal, he told People, is to change the way young stroke victims are treated.
He concluded, "I really want to be an advocate -- there should be more money in research, and more opportunities for kids who suffer from strokes."
With or without his memories, Miller is moving forward.
Citations: Artist Who Lost All Memories Puts His Life Back Together with the Help of Art and Instagram (People)