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I’m stubborn, but there comes a point where I will say, explain your side of the equation. Then I listen closely to perhaps form a new opinion, different from the first, on the subject at hand.

I wrote a blog post in Facebook recently that said a stroke gives you nothing positive. And I meant from the physical side in having one. But too late for post-written clarifications. That post received one on most vitriolic reactions since I started the blog 12 years ago. 

So, of course, positivity and stroke bothered me. When brain injury occurs, for many survivors, they consider it a hiccup to life’s plans. I’ll get better, they tell themselves, and as the months go on, the confidence wanes because they are not getting better at the speed they want. With only one hand on the non-affected side and one affected leg throbbing and tingling and constantly going into random spasms, they are subject to give up hope. 

Nahal Mavadatt et al wrote in a scholarly study or post-stroke and positivity. “Post-stroke psychological problems predict poor recovery, while positive affect enables patients to focus on rehabilitation and may improve functional outcomes. Positive Mental Training (PosMT), a guided self-help audio shows promise as a tool in promoting positivity, optimism, and resilience.” 

The researchers believe that PosMT works, but depression among stroke survivors often negates that option, having stroke dictate the course of things rather than looking forward to an optimistic future by the people themselves. Attitude comes all the way down the pole. Look up “Positive Mental Training for strokes.” You’ll see a long list of possibilities to buy. Do they work? 

Having heard over 350 stories in my Brain Exchange organization, co-founded by Sara Riggs, I am convinced, just like snowflakes, no two stories are the same and the old adage rings true: every stroke is different.

Robert Perna and Lindsey Harik, in another study, said, “Psychological disturbances may affect rehabilitation outcomes through a reduction in adherence to home exercise programs, reduced energy level, increased fatigue, reduced frustration tolerance, and potentially less motivation and hope about the future.”

Of course, that’s true. With up to 75% of stroke survivors having some physical impairment that affects each of those points, young to old, how can it not! 

So what, if any, are the positive effects of having a stroke? Yes, there are some. Stroke survivors say:

  • more tolerance for disabled people
  • increased empathy
  • additional patience
  • added compassion
  • interest in other kinds of disability

I notice it in myself, and I see it in those around me. So do you have to have a stroke in order to satisfy that list? I imagine you do, or be working in some kind of religious or healthcare occupation where those factors SHOULD BE a given. Please read my book, The Tales of a Stroke Patient. It’s over 10 years years old, but it’s the same story. Over and over and over…. In healthcare, trust me–they aren’t always listening.

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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