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Emotional Recovery from Stroke

My dad has recently (within the last week) had a mild stroke. He is only 48 and reasonably healthy so it came has a huge shock. The stroke was a clot to the left side of his brain. His memory has not been affected and his doctors are very impressed with the progress of his recovery in the short time since the stroke. They believe after all of his rehabilitation he should be back to 100% independance. The outlook is good in that respect even though at the moment its all still very saddening. My question however is about the emotional aspect the stroke has caused to him. The doctors have told us it is normal for him to be upset when he doesn't want to be and he becomes very upset when people visit, send flowers and even send their love and wishes. As my dad has never been one to show much emotion like this (I have never seen him cry) it is extremely hard as his youngest daughter to see him like that and not be able to do anything. I have heard that the swelling of the brain caused by the stroke is still there and doctors have said that once that swelling goes down things like uncontrollable emotion may begin to decrease. To me it is just hard to believe this is true at the moment and I hoped that somebody, maybe someone who has experienced this, could give me some ideas as to the long and short term of what to expect. I am so positive about his physical recovery I just need some perspective on the emotional side of this experience. I honestly have never been through anything as traumatic as this and you can never really understand how people go through this until it happens to you. My heart goes out to all the other families who experience this and maybe with prognosis not as good as it is for my dad. I thank anyone for their help.

Shari, 21, Aus
1 Responses
1581130 tn?1399636483
Hi Shari,
I had a stroke about a year ago and I hope I can ease your worries a little. I can tell you 100% that your emotions change right after a stroke. Crying is very common. I can tell you that I had about a 6 month time right after my stroke that I cried at least one time everyday, mosts days several times. You have to understand that some of this crying is not all of time emotional. Sometimes crying is like a reflex is the best way I can describe it. There is a trauma that happened to his brain. When you have a stroke the area affected is dead, but the brain is an amazing organ. It starts immediately re-wiring itself around the dead part to heal itself. While this is happening all kinds of emotions come out because his brain is literally re-inventing itself and some wires might get crossed while all of this is happening.

As far as crying goes, just let him cry. It is part of the healing process from a stroke. I finally got my wife to understand that, because she was so worried, and I told her, "I just feel like crying, it is not a bad thing, I can't help it." He is only one week from his stroke. I am sure he is confused and afraid and doesn't want to admit it. This is normal. I too did not want to see anybody at all for a long time. Right now he needs patience and understanding. He may seem different to you and the truth is he is different. His brain has been altered but do not worry. He will recover, but it is a very long time and is different for every person. Give him some space if he needs it, he has to figure some of these things on his own. And please let time for yourself and get away if you need to. It is as hard to the loved ones as it is for the stroke survivor. Your father will be fine. I can honestly say that I feel blessed that I had a stroke. I would have never thought that right after my stroke, but now I can say that. The stroke made me think different about things and it is all good.

I can say that one thing that really helped me in my recovery was talking to other stroke survivors that have been there. I would be glad to talk to your dad if he has any questions and let him know that he is not alone.
God Bless,
Tim
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