Finding the Funny: Navigating Stroke Recovery with Laughter!

Finding the Funny: Navigating Stroke Recovery with Laughter!
Photo by Jamie Haughton / Unsplash

Finding Calm Amid the Storm

Finding calm amid the storm: strategies for combating stroke-induced anxiety and overwhelm. Let's begin by acknowledging that anxiety and overwhelm are common challenges after a stroke. "In fact, if you don't experience anxiety, overwhelm, or even depression during your initial recovery, consider yourself one of the lucky few."

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The Unique Journey of Stroke Recovery

Indeed, every aspect of a stroke is different – the recovery process, the individual experiences, and the strokes themselves. As someone who has journeyed from being wheelchair-bound to walking again, I wish to share my personal insights and strategies for navigating these turbulent emotions.

empty street in between of tall trees during golden hour
Photo by Leo_Visions / Unsplash

Recognizing Hidden Anxiety

The first step is recognizing that you might be more anxious than you realize. Even without an official diagnosis of anxiety, it's common to feel on edge after a stroke. With so many things to manage and no clear instructions on how to do them, it's no wonder that anxiety levels can spike.

aerial view of green field
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Navigating Post-Stroke Overwhelm

"The impact of anxiety on recovery is significant. Initially, I believed I could recover quickly but soon discovered that was not the case."

Both physical and emotional healing are necessary elements of the recovery process. Anxiety may hinder progress, but understanding and accepting this reality can help manage those overwhelming feelings.

stack rock on seashore
Photo by Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash

The Path to Independence

Returning to normal life and eager to regain my footing, I've embarked on a long, slow journey toward independence. While some people recover more rapidly for various reasons, every brain is unique; each rewiring process follows its own path.

shoe track
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Building a Support System

  • My support system has been critical in every aspect, even as I've struggled with anxiety.
  • Adjusting to the slower pace of my wife and family has proven frustrating, yet engaging in various activities has contributed to reducing my anxiety.
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Photo by Hal Gatewood / Unsplash

Mindfulness and Meditation

Lastly, mindfulness and meditation have transformed my life and reduced my anxiety. "Personally, I appreciate the Calm app; though I have no affiliation with it, I believe it offers valuable support for those on their recovery journey."

silhouette photography of person
Photo by Greg Rakozy / Unsplash

Physical Activity as a Tool

Physical activity has been a valuable tool for overall fitness and managing anxiety. Pounding weights and hitting the pavement provide physical exertion that doesn't allow me to think about anxiety-inducing things.

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Photo by Meghan Holmes / Unsplash

Professional Help and Practical Tips

In terms of professional help, understanding when you need more assistance is crucial. Routine and structure in daily life are helpful for stroke survivors, reducing mental rigor.

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Photo by Matthew Henry / Unsplash

Embracing Change and Openness

Continually building and striving to eliminate unhelpful habits is crucial. Being patient and understanding with oneself is also vital, as some things require more time. By persisting in our efforts, we can eventually connect the dots in unexpected ways.

a close up of a caterpillar on a plant
Photo by Shashwat Verma / Unsplash

Concluding Thoughts: Throughout my journey, humor has been a beacon of light in the darkness. It’s important for us, especially as survivors, to remember that it's okay to laugh, to find joy, and to embrace the healing power of humor.

Question to think about: Have you ever felt guilty for finding humor in tough times? How can you allow yourself to embrace laughter as a healing tool?

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Photo by Crawford Jolly / Unsplash
About the author
Will Schmierer

Will Schmierer

👋 Hey I'm Will, Stroke Survivor since December 2019 at the age of 37! February 2020 I was diagnosed with MS🧡 If you have questions or need support, feel free to reach out

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