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I've been attending a group recently which is intended to help me learn ways to continue to improve my cognitive deficits so I thought I would share what I have learnt and add more each week as I get tips.

Perhaps others could add what helped them to improve as well.

 

Background: I found that when I came out of hospital that physically I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I understood that, it made sense to me. It was only later as my physical wounds healed and the pain abated a little that the curtain pulled back fully to reveal that I had been left with some cognitive changes.

 

A different version of me. Not to be unexpected I suppose but still shocking and quite hard to come to an acceptance of. Hard to deal with as I couldn't just slip back into my normal life, my way of working, my way of being, so I started learning about what I could do and slowly things are changing but the dreaded tiredness always takes its toll so it's a long business.

 

So what are my cognitive changes?

A reduced level of Attention and concentration

Slower mental processing

Decreased ability to take decisions

Poor short term memory

Loss of words when tired

Visual Challenges especially crazy patterns:shock:

Not good when you did what I did for a job, I'm sure many others have the same challenges.

 

According to the professionals running the group i am attending , 46% of people are left with a cognitive impairment after surviving their SAH but because it's different to other strokes it doesn't affect specific brain areas which is why it's a bit tricky to pinpoint.

 

Attention problems

Splitting my attention acoss two or more things is probably the most difficult for me and I have now find myself becoming an expert ' uni- tasker' .

No longer do I try and do two things at once. I have now learnt that this is considered a good recovery method especially for the early days post SAH.

 

So here's some tips If you need to pay attention to something for a sustained period of time.

Set a limited time to spend on task initially and then increase it slowly over the weeks

Plan frequent breaks and do something different during the breaks

Get lots of sleep, lack of it reduces any concentration ability.

Try and reduce distractions like noise and background chatter, ear plugs are good

Complete the demanding stuff first thing or at the time you are most alert

Put visual reminders listing the key ' focus' points up with postit notes

Reward yourself when you achieve something, no matter how small it may seem.

Check what you have done or get someone else to.

Allow yourself more time than you would have previously

 

Heres some tips if you find your memory isn't what it used to be.

Repeat what you heard

Create associations to help you remember and recall what you heard, so you would associate me with a yellow flower!

Break information into small dim sung size bites.

Use a portable diary

Make lists lists lists

Keep things routine and ask others to put things back in their place, explain why!

Remember to Slow things down, it's often not that you don't remember or dont know how to do something but that you haven't allowed yourself enough time to recall the old or learn the new information.

Our brains don't process as quickly as they did but with time and practice it can improve.:-D

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I thought my cognitive skills were okay.

You know me the one who can listen to others conversing while talking to hubby. It's called listening in (ie nosey).

 

I think I am getting on good but then wham, a little thing will set me off.

Social and cognitive skills go out of the window and I am a mess.

This is where this site helps as you can say " I need help" without seeming a fool or "I am blue today" people here know what I mean. This is good for me.

 

Daff you will get skills back so never say never and my favourite saying Smile xx

Love to All BTG'ers

WinB143 xx xx

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Thanks Daff, found that really interesting and true. Was having abit of a 'blue' afternoon, so good to read and see that its not just me but all part of the condition - have to remind myself of that sometimes, as I'm sure we all do.

Keep the info coming, I found it very uplifting.

Sarahk x

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Excellent post, we share a few things in common.

To be honest I wanted to reply to this post and have an input in it but it just seems like hard work as does other threads and that's why I have not posted on the forum much these days.

 

I have a post in my head then try and put it into text and be all over the place trying to remember what I want to say and how to say it.

Also I seem to be having problems with words and numbers whether wrote or typed which is annoying me and again making it harder than should be, and that problem is when I go to type a word or number for instance 'when' it sometimes comes out 'wehn' or '27' comes out '72' or 'the' comes out 'teh' and '458' maybe as '485'.

 

Very strange and annoying as I seem to spend to much time reading over things and correcting things.

Hey, there you go replyed to a post I wasn't meant to because it would have been to taxing on the brain to reply, but to explain myself I did, small victory :)

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So I am supposed to be working this morning but I seem to have slipped under the radar and I have nothing to do :shock: despite chasing for work so I thought why not use my time productively and update 'wot i have learnt this week ' about surviving a SAH. ( ssh dont tell them!)

 

***warning*** if you dont like to know too much about the facts of what happened in your head then look away now. probably check out the green room for something lighter:-D

 

Our weeks discussion was mainly about the clinical definition and impact of a SAH.

 

It was emphasised how rare it actually is to have a bleed as it is thought 1-2% of the population probably have aneurysms but only a tiny % have ruptures. Our aneurysms are caused by a weakness in the wall of one of the tiny blood vessels which then tears and blood bursts into the surrounding space. They are not related to any other type of aneurysm. Good to know.

 

Our brains bob around gently beneath a layer of membranes called the arachnoid and are bathed in lovely cerebral spinal fluid. When our bleed happens it enters this fluid filled space increasing pressure onto the surface of the entire brain which is why it is such a medical emergency ( and why it hurts so much!).

 

Many people don't survive this. May they rest in peace.

We, the lucky few, did and some of us required the pressure releasing and they have to put in a brain drain (EVD) , for others the blood is allowed to disperse naturally. If it is found the drainage of the ventricles has been damaged by the severity of the bleed then a shunt is placed to permanently manage the drainage and mimic what the body used to do.

 

It IS a stroke. The other two types of stroke are an Ischemic stroke (blood clot blocks blood flow) and a Intercerebral Haemorrhage ( bleed inside the brain space).

 

It was acknowledged how every recovery from a SAH is different and personal. Each bleed is going to be unique, in many cases the treatment is tailored to that one person but it is not unusual for a physical recovery to take many, many months.

 

It is thought there are things that will slow your recovery. Some of you will laugh out loud at this one but they are pretty obvious but sure I have done some if not all of them...they are:

  • Trying to do too much too soon
  • Giving yourself unrealistic goals
  • Trying to push though it like a cold
  • Pretending it hasnt happened to you
  • Making it the focus of everything in your life
  •  

There are however mindsets that are thought to help a little as our bodies heal and the scars fade.

  • Remember we may not get back to where and what were able to do but we make progress little by little
  • Make goals smaller and appropriate for how you feel today and now not the 'old you'
  • Start the comparison on how well you are doing now at immediately post SAH and not where you were just before
  •  
  • Lastly, (and wise Mary has said this many times), live the here and now, look a little forward, a little back but not too much of either. Enjoy today.
  •  
  • Oh , and because Win is always right. Sing loud :lol:
  •  

So this week I came away with the reconfirmation that the emotion of what happened to us needs to be acknowledged as much as the physical event itself and boy that hurts like anything when we start that process. But it must be shown the light and air if you like so that it can heal, we all know that if you leave a plaster on too long it will fester. Same applies here in my opinion.

BTG is a good place for that:-D

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I agree with Mary, Daffs well done and thanks for info.

I really believe singing helps and happiness (smiling).

I had EVD and it turned bad. Then along came Sepsis.

See that is why I am happy, as I am lucky to be here.

Well done Daffs.

Love

WinB143

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  • 2 weeks later...

Laughing quietly to myself here as I realised I posted my planned session update from this week to a different thread! Oh dear. That'll be the executive dysfunction then :lol:

 

Hope it's ok admin to add a copy( with some extra thoughts) of the summary I wrote here to this thread too, I will try and put the last ones I do in the right place.

 

This session was all about moods and emotions post an SAH. We talked a little more about fatigue and the frustration that comes from having to constantly slow things down, even when you think you're going slow. Fact is the brain will not be rushed, it's the boss in all things but helping it relax is an important part of recovery so meditation and CBT are definitely worth looking at if you haven't explored that yet as a helpful aid to you.

 

The session explored that often the physical pain and symptoms that we experience is actually our body reacting to the stress of a thought or worry that we may have had, and it can be tiny.

 

Basically they explained that the worry enters our consciousness and immediately the body reacts to it releasing adrenalin which has a physical reaction, this reaction in turn reminds us of more horrible times and memories and then we have a little circle of reaction, worry, anxiety that's difficult to escape.

 

The answer apparently is to acknowledge the symptoms, the worry , the physical pain and to try and face it practically and with an open mind knowing that you have reacted to a worry rather than it being a recurrence of a medical problem. Breaking the cycle and understanding what triggers it so you can worry less about the physical reaction. This is where meditation or CBT therapy can be a powerful tool. I have found that to be true for me.

 

I thought this interesting as it had puzzled me why something or a situation that didn't bother me previously now can trigger off such physical reactions of stress. I like the idea they put forward that once the physical sensations lift you try and figure out what the worry was as even the smallest one can cause a reaction, and then try to allay the worry thus reassuring the brain that there is no reason to take flight and thus cause a reaction.

 

I have reconfirmed it's important to keep being kind to myself' . No point beating yourself up because you feel a certain way, or u can't do what u did, or u feel awful, or behave badly in a moment as it just perpetuates the cycle. Try to Observe your feelings, understand the trigger of them and then let them go gradually, it takes practice but just let it go. Sounds a bit fluffy I know but it's helped me.

 

. It's about retraining the body and mind a little I think. That's what I took away....next week depression

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