I Get It Now

Someone complained the other day about difficulties interacting with relatives. People being afraid of a stroke survivor, not knowing what to do or say, and ultimately avoiding the issue.

I now understand the point of view of those relatives. They fear the unknown, plain and simple. Before my stroke, I knew nothing of the results it would have on the body and mind. Now that I do understand, I want to explain to everyone that I am still here, still the same person, although I may look and behave differently.

Different is the operative word here. The stroke changed me and my ability to communicate effectively.

Thus, I am unable to get across my thoughts and feelings, which frustrates me, causing me to act irrationally sometimes – as a child might. Even healthy adults throw childish tantrums occasionally. It’s different for stroke survivors, however. We do it without realizing it, unintentionally hurting feelings or angering those we care about. We, too, are frustrated and saddened by our inability to control these emotional outbursts.

Many times lately I behave like a child – without knowing, unfortunately. I’m pretty sure this applies to other stroke survivors. Something called emotional lability, one of many unfortunate effects of stroke, changes or inhibits our ability to process emotions and social cues. We may react to things that “normal” persons would not, often in unusual and disturbing ways, which would cause distress to those with whom we interact. And by the time we realize it, the damage has been done, and the relationship sours.

All we ask is your patience and understanding. We will improve, just give us time. We are still the same inside, only having difficulty understanding and communicating our feelings.

I get it now.

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