"Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you."
If not addressed, the emotional impact created by a neurological event is severe and can be long-lasting. In addition to the survivor, others are also affected to one degree or another.
This emotional impact can be displayed in a variety of ways that may be extreme at times:
Denial of Deficit
The last one listed may not be familiar to you. Denial of Deficit simply means: the effects of neurological events that one has experienced will cause some survivors to deny those effects, no matter how obvious. “I’m fine,” “No problems here!, “I can drive, I can go to work, I can do anything I want,” are the erroneous beliefs, or are they wishes?
Due to the devastating effects of such an event,most of these reactions are normal. Denial of Deficit, however, is not as normal as the others.
If your reactions are/were anything like mine, you can relate to such questions and behaviors as:
--> WHY ME?! I thought I was doing everything right! Poor me, I was exercising and meditating regularly, eating organic foods, attempting to maintain a lean and healthy weight, getting regular check-ups, etc.
So, “why me?!” was my daily question to my doctors? “You’re telling me all my tests are ‘negative’ and I’m “so healthy-no plaque, healthy heart, etc.,” then how could I have a stroke?!”
No one had the answer!
And I wanted to prevent another stroke, but no advice on that question as well.
Once I got off the “pity pot,” and my brain began functioning a bit better, I realized something – it didn’t really matter!
What mattered was – it was time to RECOVER & LIVE AGAIN!
So, I changed my attitude and went to work!
In the beginning, I had daily fears - I would have another stroke; I’d never be able to recover: I’d never wake up one day, etc.
Then, a terrible incident occurred which did not help my fears one bit! I was prescribed an antidepressant in the Flagstaff hospital, which carried over to my 3-week acute care facility, where I was housed when the following incident occurred.
The minute I exhausted my supply, I flew into a raging panic attack!
If you’ve ever experienced one, you know how frightening and uncontrollable it is!!!
One night, at 2AM, I encountered such an incident.
Long story short, the night nurse refused to provide me with my medication at the prescribed hour, stating “it wasn’t authorized.”
When I disagreed with her, she continued to resist.
To make matters worse, she kept telling me to “take a deep breath & calm down!"
(As you know, there’s no way you can do either during a panic attack!)
I asked her to call the doctor to confirm. She refused, saying sarcastically, “I’m not about to call the doctor at 2 a.m. for something this minor!”
I then told her to go check my file. She sauntered off slowly and returned much later, giggling nervously, saying, “I guess you’re right” and finally gave me my meds!
Her giggling didn’t please me a bit. I didn’t find it a bit funny!
I hope you never have/had to experience such treatment by someone who is theoretically a “healthcare” professional!
Can you imagine how that experience might exacerbate my fears, depression, and anger?!
This is how I helped solve my fears...
To balance my emotional reactions to this traumatic event, I created and followed my own personal protocol for managing the emotional and physical effects of my stroke.
If you’re curious how I resolved my constant fears and the other issues I described, please read my next post... Managing the Emotional Impact, coming next Tuesday!