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The New Normal: Part 1

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."

Epictetus

At some point early in our recovery, we all ask, “What is my new normal?”


Well it’s different for each of us. Not only are we different people, but our strokes are different in every way - intensity, type, location in the brain, etc.. In addition to these differences, some of us have serious pre-existing diseases prior to our strokes which complicate every aspect of our recovery. Our attitudes and motivation levels are extremely different as well.


In essence, we’re trying to compare apples with oranges! So comparing ourselves to others is counterproductive and certainly not in our best interests.


Within minutes, we’ve been presented with a new body and mind that are damaged. Additionally, the trauma occurred without our permission! This wasn’t cosmetic surgery that turned out beautifully, enhancing your appearance beyond your wildest dreams, thus improving your self esteem! No, this would be the opposite - beyond your wildest nightmare!


When I reflect upon that truth, I immediately think of people experiencing a car accident, skiing accident, etc. where they also experience neurological and physical effects. Don’t you think they ask the same question? Their injuries may be less severe and their recovery may be quicker, but I’m sure at some point, they ask the same questions.


Let’s break this down…


Your ‘new normal’ is a choice; it’s an opportunity to reach the heights of achievement you never thought possible!


A stroke thrusts you into the depths of your soul. Depression, fatigue, anger and panic follow and sometimes linger for a long time. It’s a toss-up as to how you’ll weather this massive storm. In my case, I quickly learned that this event was the biggest test of my character, and I needed to get serious and choose my path forward - to meet this challenge or wither under its weight.


None of this is easy, but what’s the alternative? We’re the survivors - we are the ones who made it. Many others did not.


In my next post, I’ll discuss the steps I took to manage this trauma and how my new way of living brought me more riches than I could’ve ever have gained if it hadn’t happened!


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