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Hi - I'm Damian


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and I'm a stroke survivor - had a clot last August while on my way on holiday to Greece. Collapsed at the airport - felt minor at first but soon rushed to A&E; woke up half-paralysed, incontinent wondering what the hell happened.Lucky to get to hospital within an hour, had tpa treatment, survived the stroke, a pulmonary embolism and then double pneumonia.

Now walking, continenty,no balance problems - weak left side, useless hand (my arm and hand have been moving since the stroke, so plenty to use as a base for getting better but feeling totally plateaued at 8 months. I'm still getting physio, at home (and privately).

I'm finding things hard now - so much of my life has gone and I'm not coming to terms with being disabled at all well. I've awful emotional liability and depression, both worse than the physical aspects.

Look forward to getting to know you all,


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Hi Damian

Yes things are hard and will continue to be as you recover but you are here with us and thats the wonderful thing. You have found a fantastic site which can offer you lots of support and help. I had an SAH in Sept and this site helps me through the bad times and the good times. Just come on here regularly and it will help and all the people on here will be desperate to give you support


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Hi Damian and welcome! :-D

I think that the emotional side is often just as or even more difficult to deal with, than the physical side. You may want to give me a swift kick up the backside!....:wink:....but I can only say that eight months into recovery is still early days and with determination, you will get better.... both in the physical sense and mental.

I also have remaining left hand sided weakness, especially with walking ... visual and balance problems ... have also had depression and still have spells of anxiety ... which crop up when I'm least expecting them, like an unwanted guest! ... I'm not sure whether this is due to brain damage or some sort of chemical in-balance.

I'm going to be 6 years on in July .... life has certainly improved and I've seen improvements, both with the physical and mental aspect and they're still ongoing .... from my own point of view, it's taken at least 2 years to come to terms with what happened to me and to be honest, for quite a while, I could only live my life on a day-to-day basis and not look too far forward ... it was far easier to deal with, in bite size pieces...:wink: In the first year, I had one good day out of 3 months (which I marked on the calendar) ... and realised at that point, that I would have to start handling things, much differently!...

It's been a long, hard ride, but life does improve .... :-D

Have you had any help with your depression? xx

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Welcome to BTG. I am a brain haemorrhage survivor, but there are others here who have had a stroke. I am sorry to learn that you have been through the mill.

I can relate to how the eighth month mark is emotionally difficult. For my part, I began to realise the enormity of what had happened to me. At the very early stage of my recovery, I genuinely thought I was going to be back to normal in around 6 months; and when that didn't happen, I suffered an enormous depression.

With brain injuries, the patient can lack a lot of insight at the beginning. I know that I did. I realise now, how unwell I was at the beginning, but it is only looking back that I can see this.

With insight can come depression. It's a realisation of how things are. But importantly, it is only those of us with insight who can begin to work through our problems. If you don't know what your problems are, you can't work them through. The medical profession can consider the depression we experience 'progress,' because it's an indication that the recovery has moved on a level.

From what you say, you seem to be going through a very typical stage of recovery. Depression hits a lot of us. I will share with you some things that I did to help with my depression. Maybe some of the tips will work for you too.

I joined my local Headway group, which is a national charity for people with brain injuries. Have a look at their website to see where your nearest Headway is; or give them a ring.

I go fortnightly and engage with the counselling sessions once a month. It has helped me enormously. I have made a very good friend there. He had a stroke around eight months ago and Headway has improved his wellbeing noticeably.

Counselling was an integral tool to lifting my depression and this forum helped massively too.

Remember that you are allowed to feel down in the dumps, so don't be hard on yourself for feeling out of sorts. A big thing has happened to you and you are reacting normally to it.

I hope you are able to feel as rested as possible over the weekend.


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Hello Damian,

Welcome to THE best site ever for help and support with brain injuries. I too had problems with depression a few months post op. I know That this truly is a real condition which cannot be controlled by just "pulling yourself together" which I think I believed it to be before my SAH.:oops: I went to my doctor (against advice of family) I was given "fluoxetine" which helped me massively. (I'm no longer on this medication)

As Karen has said, the emotional trauma seems to be harder to deal with than the physical stuff. Rest, rest, rest, it will help you with recovery. Prancing around and frisbee throwing might not be beneficial to you! :lol:

"So much of my life is gone" you say, I know exactly what you mean by that. I thought about all the good characteristics I had and realised that I never appreciated how lucky I was to have them. I have, over time been pleased to discover I do still have lots of "good characteristics" some very very similar to those I had , and one or two maybe even better than 'then'. The biggest difference is, I do appreciate what I now have. I am sure this will come around in time for all of us. ( still like a wee whine now and then though).:lol: Time is what you need, you're still very early in your recovery process.

Come on and talk to us anytime day or night. There is always someone with a shoulder handy.:wink:

Hope to chat and catch up with you soon. Sorry no one was there for you in the chatbox earlier.

Sally x

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Hi Damien

Wecome to BTG:-D

I'mcoming up to 4 years this Sept after a SAH and I must say things are much better but there are still times of fatigue and upset etc etc.

My one piece of big advice is not to worry about worrying about things (if you see what i mean) cos that makes things 10 times worse. It is a slow process and one of ups and downs but things do get steadily better.

Keep smiling

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Welcome to the site Damian,

I to suffer with depression and anxiety, i had my SAH 10months ago.Mine is like Karen said , it turns up like an unwelcome guest, you never know when its coming and it is always lurking in the back ground. I found going to couselling really helpful, my GP sent me about 4weeks after having the SAH, i dont know how i would have gotten on without it. Speck to your GP and tell he/her you need help with it.

Like the thers have said just come on here and ask questions or just put down how you feel, somone always understands or they have the answers.

Take care speck soon Rhiann x

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Hi everyone,

Now that's a welcome! I do need to talk to more people about recovery - so many aspects feel permanent ( e.g clumsy hand, stiff ankle, heavy leg, tight shoulder), which is at the heart of my anxiety.

I am on antidepressants - sertraline now after citilapram. I had counselling but they discharged me without reason. I was referred for CBT after a suicide attempt - never happened. We really are just "let out of rehab" once we tick enough Bartel Index boxes and left to get on with it. I'm in a whole new world I never knew existed :confused:

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Damian i would go back to the GP telling him\she how you are feeling, and ask for help and dont leave until they sort somthing out for you, somtimes people and DR's think you must be ok now because time has passed, but we are not ok so go and demand some help, you deserve it .

Take care Rhiann

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Aw Damien hun,

I've just read your new post.

You are correct in saying that you need to talk to more people. I do not believe that depression is something which a person can deal with alone.

It is very frightening the way we are left to our own devices after leaving hospital. I must concede that the medical care I received in a physical sense was outstanding and I am indebted to the NHS. But you are so right about living in a brand new world and basically told to get on with it.

When I joined Headway, I was introduced to other people in my 'brand new world.' It turns out that the things I was experiencing were very normal to my new friends and they were either experiencing the same, or had experienced the same.

A psychologist at Headway explained his intervention in a very clever way. He said that if my house had a burst pipe, I would call a plummer. If I needed help in the garden, I may ask my Dad. So why not ask a professional for help with my emotions?

The only experience of counselling that I have had is at Headway with a neuro psychologist. Personally, I would prefer speaking to a professional with a neuro background instead of a generalist. Brain injury is quite specific and I sense that I am benefiting more from my sessions because the psychologist is a neuro expert.

Hope to chat again soon!


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Hi Damien & welcome to BTG. We all certainly have good days but they usually are followed by the dips which are most unwelcome. I struggle with the emotional side of what has happened to me & although I've done a mood management course with my neuro pyshch it hasn't actually addressed that side of things. I still very or talking much struggle with thinking about or talking about what happened to me, I have a review on Wed & I hope to talk about that then before they discharge me!

I am almost a year on post anni bubling up (28th april it happened) but about 10 months post op & I do get low days though they are fewer & less low. I remember plateuaing at about 6-8 months & still don't feel I am improving lots but it is so small you barely notice the difference. On Thurs I made it to moors valley & managed to stay out for 5 hours before that wading through treacel feeling hit me, previously my max was 4 hours!!

Small steps but I agree the biggest help to me is sharing things with others who have gone through what we have & knowing they and without a full explanation!

take care & speak soon


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Hello and Good Morning :-P

I had a SAH nearly 9 weeks ago and found BTG pretty quickly after I got home. It has been a real life line of support, information and other people who just know.

I had excellent medical care but was discharged with little information of what to expect and I don't see my consultant until next month. It is so reassuring to be able to ask questions and read threads where others discuss their experiences. Knowing I am not alone has made this very early bit if recovery a lot easier for me and I hope you find it as helpful too :-D


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Hi Damian

And warm welcome to the site...

Aw! you've been through it havent you, you've found a good place here tho....

Ditto everything the others are saying....

I know it seems hellish at the moment but honestly it will improve ok it takes a lot of hard work, determination, I thought whats the point once too but now Im SO, so glad I pushed my way back through the feelings......

Go back to the GP and asked about councelling or maybe Headway, sadly if you dont ask you dont get, think we've all had this left to our own devices.......

take care..

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Hi Damien and welcome to BTG. So glad you've found the site!

As many of the others have mentioned, the emotional side of our "new world" can be very difficult to deal with and if you can get professional help, definitely take advantage of it - and any other help offered.

I saw a counselor for a brief time (brief because I was laid off of work and no longer had insurance to pay for it - I'm in the US). Even though it was a short stint, it was so very helpful. And truly, this site has been therapy for me because I can come on here and know I will be understood and supported in many ways!

Hope to here more from you!!!


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Hi Damian and welcome to the site. I hope we can be of some help! Make sure you ask for help, like someone else said - tell the Dr how you are feeling, you mustn't be left to worry alone.

I was helped by the Stroke Association locally and am attending a six-week course at the moment, although most members are my parents' age.... there are a few younger 'uns and it's interesting to talk to them. I am in the process of setting up a Different Strokes group for younger survivors because our needs are different.

Take care

(PS I used to know a Scottish guy named Damian when I lived in Paris.....!)

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Hi Damien,

Welcome to the site - it is fantastic. My 39 year old husband Richard is just over a year into his recovery. His SAH has left him with the following:

paralysed left arm

paralysed left leg which he can now move and walk a short distance but is very weak

bad short term memory issues

severe lack of concentration

severe depression

The above doesn't seem like much when written down but the change to our lives is unbelievable. Richard spent 10 months in hospital so his relationship with the children has broken down and due to the effects he has been left with is struggling to rebuild it. When i go to work carers come in to look after him as he cannot be left unsupervised as he has lost his sense of safety. It is likely that Richard will never work or drive again (he was a builder before). He doesn't think about his actions so says and does things that people could misinterpret (he can be very insulting) so I worry that he is going to get himself into trouble.

Richard has input from many professionals, e.g. occupational therapist, physio, psychologist, social worker, carers. He is now registered disabled and we have had to have the house adapted for him - stairlift, wetroom, wide doorways, etc.

Richard has already had two aneurisms coiled along with part of his skull removed due to blood clot (this was put back after 4 months) but he still has 2 more aneurisms which cannot be coiled so will have to be treated with clipping and stents which hold more risks.

I remember in the early days praying for Rich to survive but now look back and realise that he hates the life he now has and maybe surviving wasn't the best result for him. He constantly says he wishes he was dead which I think is part of the depression.

Feel free to message me if you want.


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My thoughts are with you and your family. Such courage and bravery you have shown to your husband and family. Easy to say much harder to do!!!

Stay strong and.......................you now more than me but you will be in my heart all day


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  • 3 weeks later...

At work today, I asked a colleague who is a practising psychotherapist, what form of counselling was most suitable for people who were recovering from strokes. She recommended EMDR. Here is a link for you to read; http://dynamicsomatics.com/articles/

I don't know what's in your area, but think you'll need to pay for this privately anyway.

I think Nessie mentioned she was having this, but don't know what progress she's made.

My friend Pollyanna arrived yesterday on btg, and she is making sudden ongoing progress.

My ex-husband - a swede - suffered a major stroke 14 months ago (he is young like you) and he's been very down, like you, but has the reserves to fight back. He's still on a intensive regime of physio and speech therapy, but he's getting there slowly.

It's devastating to other family members and irrevocably alters relationships. My daughter feels she has lost her father and often cries long and hard about this. I think it takes time to come to terms and you haven't yet reached this, but you will. Meanwhile be kind and patient with yourself and try and find the resources to get some private physio...then perhaps you can jump the queue and be referred back to the nhs.

Best wishes


Edited by Anya
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