Submissions from Readers

Sadness After Stroke

by Cindy
(Niagara Falls, New York, USA)

I Get Sad



Question:I get so sad at times like I lost the old me, I was very active and now I’m not, I’ve had a complete meltdown and just sobbed.

Answer: Having a stroke that changes your entire lifestyle comes with a time of mourning. You literally have lost something from your life - the ability to do things as you could before. It is normal to feel sad and to feel loss, but you cannot let this take over your life. These feelings are intense at first and will come and go throughout your life, but if you are unable to return to your prior level of function, you have to figure out how to adapt to the new and become active again in a different way. Some things you can do to help include:

1) Support groups (these can be online, but you may find in-person groups to be better as you can make new friends and interactions) - even if you are only using online stroke forums, it will still help to vent and discuss problems with others.

2) Create a support network of friends and family - if you are unable to drive or take care of yourself, then it's important to have others that can help you. If you do not have someone to drive you, there are often transport services that can. Churches can also be helpful in some instances. In addition, you will want to have friends and family around for social interaction.

3) Take advantage of community resources - transportation, support groups, rec centers, classes for those who have experienced stroke or disability. There are usually many of these programs available and underutilized. If you cannot find resources in your area, contact a social worker at a local hospital for suggestions.

4) If you think you may be clinically depressed and cannot motivate yourself to do anything, then seek out the help of a physician who can help treat the depression (remember, feeling sad is normal, but if it is overwhelming and you cannot function then it's important to seek help).

5) Start a new hobby. Try something new that you have never done before. Maybe it's singing, motivational speaking, helping others, painting, etc. If you can divert your mind to other things or feel like you are contributing to others, it will help you feel better. You have life experiences that can be valuable in helping others!

6) See what others have done - if you can't find motivation in my advice, look for actual stroke survivor stories and see what they have achieved. You will be amazed. There are people who cannot walk, cannot talk, are in horrible pain, etc. that have achieved monumental goals and are so inspiring.

Hopefully, you can get comfort by trying some of these suggestions, but remember that it's okay to be sad sometimes, and these feelings can vary in intensity. However, you cannot afford to let the sadness take over your entire life. I don't know if you are a spiritual person, but seeking God's help can also be life-changing. I am saying a prayer for you now!

Here's a resource you may find helpful for dealing with grief and rebuilding your life after stroke:
https://strokeonward.org/guide/#

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