Rationalising my emotions

We are individuals with differing strengths and weaknesses within our personality, as such the emotional aftermath of stroke can be different for each person; yes, of course, there are some similar symptoms that we all share following stroke, fatigue for example, however what may trouble me most may not be your most distressing issue. The symptoms are exhaustively long, speech, memory, mobility, cognitive, balance, dizziness to name but a few.

Emotions are a little more subjective to the individual and whilst we may feel them all we may not want to show them or talk about them to others, some may think of them as private, just for them to know about. What we feel affects how we act and interact; they should be discussed openly.

Fear – It’s a biggie, well it was for me, when I was sitting in my hospital bed wondering ‘what just happened’, am I going to live, will I be disabled for the rest of my life, how do I care for myself, will it happen again? It’s a daunting prospect.

These were all questions that floated through my mind in the beginning and to some extent still do, but I have this emotion more under control now, though it took time, lots of time and counselling to get to where I am today (15 months later). I previously ate a good diet, didn’t have high BP, no heart issues (other than Bradycardia which was discovered with the ECG), cholesterol levels good, exercised regularly, what to do now? So I took the meds I was prescribed and improved my diet, trying to exert some control, I felt I had to do something as I thought what I had been doing before was not enough (caveat here, sometimes you just can’t prevent a stroke from happening that’s why so many people have them, stroke doesn’t discriminate).

Anger – Yes, I was angry, why did this happen to me? Then I rationalised ‘who was I angry at’, who did I blame? My body? My brain? My blood? There was no one to be angry at, it was an event that happened. Anger (to me) is a negative emotion that keeps me stuck in the moment, it’s not healthy to stay angry.

Cheated - I did feel cheated. I didn’t feel the same as I did previously, I lost my self-esteem, some independence, I was scared and frightened, not traits that I thought were part of my emotional makeup.

Frustration - Arghh the frustration… not being able to express myself, I couldn’t speak or write, I couldn’t communicate, everything inside my head was clear and concise, I knew what I wanted to say and do but my body failed me at every turn! I dropped things, couldn’t fasten buttons/zips to get dressed all the little things I’d taken for granted we’re taken away.

Lonely - I felt lonely even though I was surrounded by people, family who loved me. I felt no one understood what I was going through. So pleased I joined this forum. Everyone here knows the daily struggle and doesn’t judge or criticise.

Disappointed - Strange as it may seem, the anger faded into disappointment. I somehow felt I’d let myself down, should have taken better care of myself. I’m more comfortable now with thinking, it happened, move on, don’t dwell. I have to enjoy each day, I have to find enjoyment in each and every day and live my life.

Anxious - I still suffer from anxiety, not as badly as I’d did in the first few months following the stroke but I can easily become anxious and panicked in certain situations if I don’t feel at ease, out of my depth. Maybe it’s a control issue? I like to feel I’m in control of a situation but new environments, things out of the norm phase me and the anxiety flares. I’m working on it.

Acceptance - Every experience throughout our lives changes us, good and bad events/experiences happen to all of us all. How we rise to the challenge is our own personal struggle, life goes on, don’t be afraid to live it. Do the best you can. Whilst I may not like it, I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ve had a stroke, this is the hand I’ve been dealt.

I’m moving forward in the best way I know how to. Thank you for being with me and sharing my journey. I’m wishing you all happiness, joy in your lives, take care, big hugs :hugs:

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Wonderful summing up Heather, of your journey so far was nodding agreement from start to finish. Maybe repeating myself here but what helped me early on was taking local eccentric vicars advice who’s own Father was a SS.
Don’t waste too much much time trying to work it all out you never will just say “ Somethings missing and leave it at that”
Paul

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I think we can all empathise with what you say. I would also add…disappointment with others. There are people I thought friends who made no contact with myself or my partner during the hospital period. Seven years later there are still those who never mention my stroke and choose, for whatever reason, to ignore it. I now have less contact with them. Best wishes to you as well.

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Beautifully written piece. I can resonate with every paragraph in some way or another and I’m sure lots of people will feel the same.

I’m nearly 6 years post stroke which left me paralysed on my left side and I still struggle with many of the issues you have written about.

Reading this post has made me sit back and think and has somehow helped me put everything into prospective.

Thank you so much for making me take stock and be eternally grateful for my amazing husband and my children and grandchildren who are all a constant reminder of everything I do have rather than the things I have lost.

A Clinical Psychologist I saw whilst in hospital said to my husband and me “Yes life will be different, very different but it can still be good and worthwhile” and I just have to remind myself that this is very true. Your post has just brought that back.

Many thanks and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :blush:

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Shwmae @Mahoney, diolch for sharing the emotional steps you’ve made throughout your rebuilding journey, they will resonant for many of us. Aye, stroke does not discriminate, indeed, when we look at the risk factors for stroke, they are risk factors but not causes. Often, the causes are out of our hands. The risk factors can potentially trigger or contribute to the cause, but not always. So, the best we can do is reduce the risk and, at least, keep an eye on everything else to make sure we have a smoother health journey forward.

I think it was @Pds who mentioned a few posts ago, adjust and adapt, something that goes hand in hand with acceptance. I tend to call on my inner pirate; aye I have an eye patch where the albatross plucked out one of me eyes, aye I have a wooden leg where a crocodile took me good 'un, aye I have a hook for a hand where a Kraken chewed off me fingers … but I am still sailing the seven seas with bottle of rum and a ho-ho-ho.

Anxiety is the pits. It’s possibly the worst defence mechanism we have evolved into. It’s great being careful walking down a slippery path, it’s fantastic moving through brambles, it’s brilliant when crossing a rickety rope bridge … but it is a hindrance with our contemporary, visceral lifestyles. Sometimes I feel double the fatigue, managing the symptoms, and managing the anxiety surrounding the symptoms. After some days, I am just knackered with it all.

We all appreciate your engagement @Mahoney, and it has benefited all of us, it has been very welcomed on this forum. Nadolig Llawen to you and a jolly blwyddyn Newydd. :grin:

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@Mahoney very well said. A lot of that resonates with me. I have never really done the why me bit as I guess I always thought well why not me.

I have no idea why my carotid artery decided to dissect on that day but I figure dwelling on it doesn’t change it. I’m not able to change what happened but I am able to influence how I deal with it. Like you I’ve made some lifestyle changes to reduce my risk of a second stroke.

I have a level of acceptance that life will be different now. That doesn’t mean bad as some of the changes I quite like.

I have been very grateful for your contributions on this forum. They have helped me loads.

Wishing you all the best.

Ann xxx

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Thanks Paul, sounds good advice that Vicar gave you :+1:

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@John_Jeff_Maynard some events that happen in one’s life certainly shows who your true friends are, those that stand by you. The others pah, not worth thinking about :smile:

Take care

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@Susan_Jane Good advice the psychologist gave, life can indeed always be worthwhile, I agree, concentrate on the good things and those you love.

Best wishes

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@Rups thanks Rups, you always have a fascinating take on things and I enjoy reading your posts. Best wishes to you too

@Mrs5K Strange isn’t Ann how something can change in a blink of an eye, we can’t change the past, moving forward is simply our only option, you’re doing the right thing in not dwelling, it’s not emotionally healthy to focus those things.

Pleased to hear you’re enjoying some of the changes to your lifestyle.

Thanks for your wonderful insight, big hugs :hugs:

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Thank you @Mahoney. This all makes so much sense. :heart: Julia x

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Thanku for sharing this, it’s helped me alot this as I feel like I still haven’t processed my stroke 3 years ago, but the way u have described how u feel has really helped :hugs:

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@JuliaH thank you for taking the time to read my post, much appreciated, take care

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@Shaza1975 thank you, we all process in slightly different ways, take it one day at a time, wishing you all the very best

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Great post @Mahoney, and one that most, if not all, of us can totally relate to. In a strange way I hope that makes you feel better as it shows that those feelings/experiences are so common to many/most of us even if they aren’t always as elequently expressed.

You are not alone having these feelings and experiences. We are all here to support each other as you so brilliantly support us :grinning:.

I had (& still have sometimes) bad anxiety since my stroke, but when dissected with my wife it was there before stroke as well. It can, at times, be debilitating and (for me at least) can make you very scared about seemingly trivial things. I think these are the kind of things that I wouldn’t normally talk about with other people, but find myself opening up to “strangers” on here. Point being, you guys & gals aren’t strangers, you are my special “stroke friends”. That’s not mean’t to be flippant, I mean it in the nicest way.

Keep doing what you’re doing and thank you for your great support over the last year and a half.

Mark

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Thanks Mark @Ingo66 we do indeed all have a bond of friendship on the forum, it’s strange to think that stroke brought everyone together, our silver lining if you like :smile: we probably never would have met otherwise. I was so pleasantly surprised how welcoming and comforting the community is, it’s been a lifeline for me in troubled times.

It’s good to be able to share our feelings, thoughts and worries in this caring environment.

Take care

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Likewise, some of the changes I have made, make a lot of sense to me and have been easier to implement since stroke. The world did stop, and I got off. I was able to see it from a different angle, that has had its rewards, although Sod’s Law, it was a stroke that gave me that perspective :woozy_face:

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@Rups …. You really should write a book you know :+1::sparkles:Anne​:sparkles::sparkles:

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Diolch yn fawr, I would consider penning something about stroke, but I would need to be a bit further away from the experience. I tend to write to escape reality :grinning:. If I did, it would be fictional but fact based. Although we learn a lot from personal accounts, I think that fiction tends to stay with us in a kind of floating, forever way.

I did try a couple of poems about stroke but they were awful. I must admit, I am no poet :woozy_face:

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