Posts Tagged ‘stroke survivor’

Victimless?

March 11, 2014

As a stroke survivor, I have come to realize that there are many other survivors who had no control over the factors that caused their strokes. Yet, they feel guilty and carry shame and have troubled relationships with family and friends. That does not apply to me.

I knew of my family medical history – our tendency toward high blood pressure and susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and stroke. Yet I ignored this and avoided going to the doctor for help with my elevated BP, which most likely caused my stroke. Which makes my family victims.

I really have no way to make it up to them, other than to apologize for my behavior and do my best to prevent a repeat of my poor choices. They have gone through so much because of this, altered their lives because of me.

I fully accept the blame. My fault entirely. Fortunately for me, I have been forgiven. Many lessons were learned, though, not to be forgotten.

There are those survivors who have suffered needless guilt over their strokes and resulting lifestyle changes, who have not been forgiven for events not within their power to control. They have been neglected or abandoned by their families, gone through untimely divorces, and have to seek counseling for depression and related psychological problems. They may harbor anger and resentment, and consider themselves failures. They have my deepest sympathy.

My take on this – there really are no victimless strokes. Some may perceive themselves as “victims” while others truly are. All I can say is to accept responsibility for poor choices, apologize to those impacted by those choices, and practice Christian forgiveness, whether or not you are a follower of Christ.

But don’t forget the journey, or the ultimate goal.

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I Get It Now

January 2, 2014

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.