Recently I have been speaking at stroke support groups. It has been an awesome experience. Suffering a stroke is a unique experience and survivors need a forum to discuss their feelings; such as depression; inability to focus; feelings of regression; coping skills; and inspiration. I talked about my experiences and my aphasia and then had an open discussion. The feelings of validation, people shaking their heads in agreement – “You feel like that to?” One person who was doing very well told the group he suddenly felt overwhelmed and confused. The discussion group and I asked several questions resulting in the realization he had too many things going on at the same time and needed to realize he could not multitask. The stress caused the confusion and overwhelming. Stress can initiate a form of regression. Other group members shared a similar experience and how they dealt with it.
Stress can disturb the delicate brain function of a stroke survivor as well as a person with aphasia. We re-enforced this point and all learned a lesson to avoid regression and the possibility of another stroke. Life is divided into “before the stroke” and “after a stroke”. After the stroke you need to let the stresses of the past go and live life as well as you can. “No” is an acceptable and healthy word – use it.
Recently I received a letter from a member of the group, a missionary order sister, she stated “Your talk, your very presence to the stroke support group was a real joy. Your devotion to your work is admirable. God Bless you for the work you are doing” She also sent me a prayer for people who helped other people.