The Path to Recovery
There is no one way to ensure recovery, but it is recognised that other survivors are a good source of sensible advice.
The best medicine to help you get going after your stroke is the hope of recovery. You will notice improvements in what you can do for months, even years, after your stroke.
Use this time to take stock of your life. How quickly you feel yourself improving will depend on many things – including how severe the stroke was and how old you are.
At first you may be aware of any physical problems, such as one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia), speech and communication difficulties, or reduced visual field (how much you can see).
You may notice other changes such as emotion, difficulties with concentration and memory, tiredness, talking, laughing or crying for no reason.
Therapists and health workers can work with you to improve recovery and reduce the risk of stroke. You can ask each person to write what they’ll be doing, and what you can expect. Be honest about how much you are following advice.
Remember – you are the person who must put in the effort. Therapists can support you, but the motivation must be yours.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Take stock of your life
Take a fresh look – do you need to do all the things that you used to think were important?
- Set yourself manageable targets
Set daily targets for how much you do, what you do, and how quickly you expect to improve. Be flexible – try new ways of doing things.
- Try to do less work (at home or paid work)
Pushing yourself will slow down recovery. Take it easy, and make time to do things you enjoy.
- Look after your health
Eat well, exercise carefully, drink moderately, – quit smoking! Remember blood pressure checks and medication.
- Keep up your social contacts
Keep in touch with friends – even if it seems like hard work it will be worth it. Accept all genuine offers of help.
- Find time to relax completely every day
Find something you enjoy. It could be listening to music, reading the paper, having a massage, or stroking the cat!
- Compare now with before
Comparing things now with how they used to be will not make you any better. Try to focus on how you are now, and what you can do.
- Bottle up your feelings
A good cry can help. Be open and tell your family or close friends about how you feel, and what help you need.
- Force yourself to go on
Tiredness is common as it can be your brain’s way of recovering. Talk to your therapist for advice on planning your time. Doing too much too early can set you back.
- Take things out on other people
You may be angry and frustrated. Try not to turn on other people but use anger to help you. It can be the driving force to help you keep on working to recover, and to try to do things differently. Anger will remind you that you still have plenty of fight and can use this to rebuild your life.