I have been reading various comments from several different Strokes, Brain Injuries and Aphasia online Support Groups and realized the commonality is Depression. A person will outwardly seem to be in a state of self-isolation, and may have unusual sleeping or eating habits. After reading journals and speaking with experts I have finally realized depression can be a result of ANGER. Most people hold their anger in, and after reading and speaking to people in depression their anger can cause the depression. Stroke survivors, Aphasiacs, Brain injury survivors live in a world of the unknown –
- fear of another stroke or TIA
- the ups and downs of rehabilitation
- coping skills
- Why me?
- Disappointment in family or friends – not understanding “you should feel better by now”, “just get over it”, “the rolling eyes when you are using your coping skill” and my all time favorite “stop babying yourself”.
How to deal with anger; Allow yourself to feel the anger and think about the best approach to deal with these people – do not get emotional – the anxiety could make you ill. Write a letter expressing your anger – but do not send it. Counseling, meditation, and medications can be helpful. If you begin to feel like hurting yourself such as falling down stairs talk to someone. These are natural feelings for people with depression/anger.
Think of these people/comments as nuisances. You had the courage and perseverance to work through your trauma. You are the hero, they are just ignorant.
Aphasia is the result of a stroke or brain injury. The Brain Injury of Massachusetts offers some wonderful ideas and coping skills.
Aphasia is a complex condition. It affects each person differently and may be hardly noticeable or very severe. A person with Aphasia may find that their communication difficulties can change from day-to-day or even hour to hour. They are likely to be worse when tired, unwell or under pressure.
People with Aphasia have described the experience as being:
“locked inside my own head”
“everything been washed from my brain”
Having Aphasia is often isolating and extremely frustrating. It usually results in loss of work for people under retirement age, with loss of status, social contact and financial security. Roles within the family may change, and friendships and close relationships come under great strain.
Will it improve? Each individual will have a different set of problems and will achieve a different level of recovery. It is impossible to predict how much language the person will regain.
Having the confidence to use whatever language skills remain seems to be even more important than being able to find all the right words. With practice and support, even people with severe Aphasia can continue to express their needs, choices and unique personality.
When you are talking with a person with Aphasia:
- Choose a quiet place with few distractions if possible e.g. (background noise and more than one person speaking at once can make it very hard to follow a conversation).
- Gain and maintain eye contact before starting to speak. This will ensure that facial expressions and gestures will give a lot of clues about the message you are trying to get across, even if he/she finds the words hard to follow.
- Allow plenty of time for him/her to absorb what you have said and to make his/her response.
- Talk with a normal voice but at a slightly slower speed than usual.
- Give only one piece of information at a time.
- Use short sentences.
- Check you have both understood. Don’t pretend you have understood when you haven’t!
- Use familiar words and phrases.
- Make it clear if you are changing the subject.
- Have a pen and paper handy, as some people can read or write better than they can speak. Sometimes drawing the message or using other ‘props’ (pictures, photographs and real objects) can help.
- It is easier to answer questions with a “Yes” or “No” answer (closed questions) than questions that need a fuller answer (open questions). For example, “Do you want a cup of tea?” rather than, “What would you like to drink?”
- It is quite common for people with Aphasia to mix related words when they speak (such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ or ‘he’ and ‘she’). Sometimes it can help to use gestures (thumbs up or down) or point to a symbol (tick, cross, smiley face, unhappy face) to check the meaning.
- Avoid shouting, interrupting, patronising or ignoring the person with Aphasia. Many people with Aphasia have had the experience of being treated as “stupid”, “drunk” or “mad”, which makes living with a language impairment even harder to deal with.
Good new is that there are new websites that offer tools to cope with aphasia. Hope, Humor and Hard work will improve our disorder.
He stood 6 feet 6 inches tall but was a gentle man. He came from Ireland in the 1940’s yet he fought for the United States during the war. He married and had ten children. He worked hard, ten to fourteen hours a day to feed his family and to put his children through school and college. Yet, he never complained “No one would listen anyway” he would say. “You do what you have to do and that’s all you can do” was his favorite expression. He was married over sixty years to a woman with a heart of gold and the strength to bring up their ten children together. Through the years he worked long hours and he and his wife watched his children grow and marry. Their home was filled with happiness and love. Suddenly it all came to a stop – the gentle giant had a massive stroke on his left side. Therapy was extensive and gave him hope. When another stroke survivor called him, his response was ‘welcome to the club girl and don’t let it get you down just work hard and never give up.’ As the years passed he became weaker. We lost the gentle, hard working father and friend this week after a nine-year struggle with his stroke. He was 93 years old and fought everyday to salvage his body from his stroke.
‘ just work hard and never give up.’
Aphasia Awareness is my passion. “Sharing experiences Knowledge is Power” my radio show on TOGINET [Thursdays @ 11am EST] allows me to connect with millions of people and I am grateful for the opportunity. Aphasia is a very difficult and frustrating condition. Last week I spoke about the symptoms of a stroke, the differences between the right and left side of the brain and diminished abilities after a stroke. Also I spoke about Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.
Exciting News I am in talks to develop a device to help speaking easier.
Filed under Aphasia, Caregiving, Encouragement, inspirational, international writer, perseverance, publishing, Radio show, Reviews, Special Education, Stroke, TOGINET Radio Thursday @ 11 EST
Life has been interesting. I was entering my doctor’s office for a follow-up appointment in February, as I entered the building I had a CVA (stroke) along with fracturing my left shoulder, two fractures in my upper and lower arm and a broken wrist, The left side of my face was a mess. After 25 days in The Hebrew Senior Life Rehabilitation Center and at home rehabilitation I am doing well. The Hebrew Senior Life Rehabilitation is wonderful. Good news is that I am returning to doing presentation.
I am so excited and happy – As of Thursday, September 25, I will be hosting a radio show on Toginet, Thursdays at 11am EST. “Sharing Experiences – Knowledge is Power.” The show will discuss; stroke prevention, strokes, aphasia, special education, family reactions, what to expect and coping skills. Also caregiving and the nocuous effects of stress. Please call in with any questions or comments you any have 1-877-864-4869 I would love to hear from you – our discussion could help others.
My speaking engagements include: Lowell General Hospital Stroke Support Group Dinner, Lowell, MA on Thursday Oct.2 at 6pm. Other speaking engagements are in the works – just working out the dates and time.
“Finding My Voice With Aphasia” is doing well and the reviews have been pretty good. Thank you.
Have a great day, stay healthy and stay safe!
I will be giving a presentation at the York Public Library, York Maine on Thursday November 21 at noon and then at the York Stroke Support Group on November 25 @ 10:15 am. The group meets at the Living Well Center at 127 Long Sands Road in York, Maine. The topic will be stroke survivor issues and aphasia. I am excited that I may be able to connect and help others with their disabilities. My hope is to inspire them and do not give up.
I received exciting information today. I earned an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Southern California Book Festival for my book ‘Finding My Voice with Aphasia”. The festival is held every year with over a 100,00 entries from all over the country. I am so excited and feel validated as a writer. I was requested to go to the Roosevelt Hotel in LA to receive a plaque on October 18, 2013 and give a speech. This is unbelievable. I am on cloud 9.
Strokes and their results are terrifying; rehabilitation is hard work; and aphasia is mind-boggling. This is an example of what you can do when you work hard, receive encouragement and never give up. Just keep on following your goals and dreams.