I came across this article published by Flint Rehab and I just thought it was great. I wanted to highlight some of the main things they speak about in the article, but don't stop there! An awesome video from a stroke survivor on this topic is also linked below - one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time! So here we go!
What every stroke survivor wished you knew...
1. I am not stupid, I am wounded. Please respect me.
Stroke does not affect someone’s intelligence.
2. Be as patient with me the twentieth time you teach me something as you were the first.
Stroke recovery means relearning everything for the first time again. Many stroke survivors feel like they’re a child again, learning everything as if for the first time.
3. Protect my energy. No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors.
During stroke recovery, the brain needs stimulation in order to heal itself. But it needs specific stimulation – and not too much!
4. Make eye contact with me. I am in here – come find me. Encourage me.
If someone avoided eye contact with you, it would be upsetting, annoying, and hurtful, right? Everyone feels that way, including stroke survivors.
5. Do not assess my cognitive ability by how fast I can think.
After stroke, the brain is busy rewiring itself through neuroplasticity. During this process, the healthy areas of the brain begin to pick up the slack for the damaged areas – and this take time.
6. Repeat yourself – assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.
As the brain heals from injury, it sucks up a lot of mental juice.
7. Stimulate my brain when I have energy, but know that small amounts may wear me out quickly.
It’s perfectly normal to crave lots of sleep after stroke.
8. Please don’t raise your voice. I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
When a stroke survivor asks you to repeat yourself, they just want you to repeat yourself.
9. My desire to sleep has everything to do with my healing brain; and it has nothing to do with laziness.
Stroke causes damage to the brain that must be healed. Just like a broken leg requires time and energy to heal, so does the brain.
10. Please have patience with my memory.
Stroke can affect a survivor’s short-term and/or long-term memory. It can also affect cognition.
11. When I’m “stuck” try not to take over.
During stroke recovery, a little coaching or suggesting can be helpful for a survivor. Taking over and doing something is NOT helpful.
12. I’m not being ’emotional.’ I’m recovering.
Try to be compassionate if your loved one exudes emotional changes.
13. I need you to love me, both for who I have been, and for who I might become.
During stroke recovery, the goal is usually to get back to “normal.” However, for many stroke survivors, there is a “new normal” created.
A fantastic woman named Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, is a stroke survivor and neuroanatomist (an expert or a researcher in the field of neuroanatomy) also chimes in to this article via TED talk. This video is one of the most watched TED talks of all time might I add, with great perspective from someone that knows the struggles. Watch the video below!
I hope you found this article useful, and others do too! Thanks for reading, and have a good day! Don't forget to reach out if you need to talk - we are here for ya!