plateau 2

I won’t try to candy-coat it: I have been through a rough spot recently.

I think I have plateaued in my stroke recovery, and I have failed to see any physical improvement for a length of time that I have found most discouraging. Progress is the best encouragement; lack of progress is like a lead weight.

For most people, recovery begins with formal rehabilitation, which is focused on restoring independence by improving physical, mental, and emotional functions. But I have been doing this pretty much on my own with minimal intervention or help from the outside.

According to the National Institutes of Health, post-stroke depression occurs in 20% to 40% of stroke patients sometime in the recovery process. It is a wonder that it has not happened before. Depression is often linked to maladaptive thinking processes (which the experts call cognitive distortions) that lead to an appraisal of problems as unsolvable. Patients may mourn the loss of their previous selves. They may see little purpose in living and express thoughts of death. Therefore, someone who expresses thoughts such as “I will never get better” or “This is out of my control, and there’s nothing I can do about this” is more likely to feel overwhelmed and become depressed or anxious. Recovery from stroke can be a lifelong process.

2 copyI think this is what has been happening to me the longer the plateau of physical improvement has stretched out. Indeed, the feeling of depression itself may have become an obstacle to physical improvement.

In the last few days, I have experienced a kind of breakthrough, a renewal of hope and energy.

I am happy to report that this change of heart has originated from someplace inside of me and has not come from the outside.

Yet this is not to say that I have not received outside encouragement. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my home health care nurse, who has provided weekly checkups and rides to town for supplies, and has enabled me to live on the property independently–the best medicine for me. And then today I had a long conversation with Lone Heron, the author of Inherited Rage, who is herself a gifted healer and has some very constructive ideas of how she can help me make progress long distance.

It seems somehow fitting that an outside offer of help is coming from a parricide. So we will try Lone Heron’s ideas and I will keep you informed of what they lead to.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Emmylou Harris and Ricky Skaggs performing “Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn”


1 Response to “plateau”

  1. May 8, 2014 at 4:31 am

    We all go through that process of losing ourselves and our previous abilities as we get older. As that change is gradual, we have more time to adapt, but it’s still difficult. When a change is so sudden and so severe, as with a stroke or any major injury, it’s much more difficult. Especially, as you say, when there’s no prospect of really getting back to “normal”. Ie, a broken bone is tough, but you know it will heal well soon enough. Still, it always comes down to adapting. You may still be quite able to do all the things you did before, just in a different way. And with a bit more time and effort. Surely one can’t help but feel sorry for the abilities gone and get depressed about it, but as long as you live, you can still do great things. If your body is not 100 % there, you may just need different.. tools to make your life what you want it to be. And acomplish what you wish. Besides, you’ve done so much for so many kids out there and it surely wasn’t thanks to your being fit as a 20 year old, right? And so many fit 20 year olds will never have acomplished half of it.

    As they say, life is a constant battle and yours got a lot harder, but it doesn’t mean you should surrender. And asking for help is not a defeat, but.. a strategy in winning. 🙂

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