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lissa22

URGENT Pray for us please & EMOTIONAL CHG

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Dear fellow caregivers, 

 

First i have a question.  Have any of you dealt with apathy in your spouse after the stroke or lack of feeling of "love" towards you? If that makes sense.  I feel like my spouse is a changed person emotionally and our marriage is now in trouble. Plus little things bother him more-more irritable; moody etc.  Most bothersome is that he seems to lack feelings for me anymore

I still have hope and am praying for a miracle and reconciliation/forgiveness> Not sure how much effort he wants to put forth. I'm an emotional mess myself, shattered and heartbroken. Ive started attending church again with him again pleading with God.  Looking for desperate Prayer from this wonderful community and support. I'm praying everyday for God to save our marriage. Please offer input and advice.   Thanks in advance- 

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Lissa, Ray had this too, it is emotional lability in the opposite mode, lack of emotions.  With Ray it varied from day to day but often I would tell him something that would have devastated him before the stroke and he showed no emotion.  I just had the attitude that if he loved me before he still did now, he just was unable to express it anymore.  I guess I took my vows seriously about the "in sickness and in health".  Of course I hoped it would get better and got frustrated with is lack of emotion and at time appreciation.  But in a way I simply got used to the fact that he no longer showed emotion, it was just another one of the things the strokes had taken away. I had said "till death" and meant it, however hard going it was sometimes.  When he had the strokes in 1999 we had been married 31 years, we had been married 44 years when he died. We had three kids and a wider circle of friends and acquaintances in common and I looked to all of them for reassurance from time to time. It was tough going sometimes but now I do not regret the time I looked after him but am just  grateful for the time we had together. 

 

I will pray for you and for him, for courage for the journey you are on together, for an easing of the pain the changes have brought and for a way ahead where you can simply live together and find a way of supporting each other if this is possible.  ((hugs))

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Hi I can say that I do know what you are going through. My husband had a stroke 10 years ago. It is amazing that it has been that long ago because we have settled into our new normal. His personality did change a lot and he had a lot of problems in handling all the emotions that he was feeling. I finally talked with his doctor and had them put him on an antidepressant which we call his "allergy" pill. There is no way he would take it if he knew that it was really antidepressants. There have been lots of ups and downs in our marriage since his stroke. What I have noticed is that sometimes he just doesn't think about my feelings at all. I asked him one time about it and he just looked at me and said he just never thought about how I would feel. It was so hard to hear that from him. He doesn't ask about my day or want to talk about anything personal anymore.

 

You are still very early in your journey. There are a lot of marriages that don't survive strokes. Your husband has to take the time to recover. He will need extra rest. It is also possible that he is trying to figure out why he feels so different. The hardest thing is watching your spouse struggle. My advice to you is take it slow and remember that inside he is still the same loving person in his heart but his mood/attitudes have changed. Try not to take everything that he says or doesn't say so personal. The first year is the hardest and I promise you it will get better. No one can tell you how long it will take to get to a new normal. Hang in there!

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I had a stroke, and between the stroke and all the meds, my  emotional state is changing.  I felt numb on the anti depressants I took for pain. I cried at nothing. I seemed different. I was adjusting. I also had major nerve damage starting in my brain. The world seemed very different.

 

I just wanted to say this to you because things may feel very strange to husband and he may not realize what goes on. I do not know about how things were before, but I know he is lucky to have your love during all of this. I think it is great you reach out for help. I hope to reassure you that after stroke you can experience strange things. I think you are great to feel you are in this together. I hope you can feel his love for you again in other ways. He may be grouchy, angry, acting childish, and insensitive to those who love him. Forgive him now as he muddles through this alien fog. Hopefully soon he will emerge. He still needs you and hopefully you can see why he acts the way he does. 

I hope a therapist may help guide you through  this time helping you communicate with your love again.)

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I know many caregivers, and survivors, feel this way after a stroke. For a caregiver, such as yourself, survivors don’t often look at the challenges that you have to go through to accommodate us. One of the major challenges with a man that has had a stroke is that he may not feel adequate anymore. This going to sound very salty, though I don’t mean it, but sometimes men feel like it’s a sympathy emotion from you. I know for myself, I don’t feel feminine enough for other people, which is why I have not been with anybody else my stroke, and I cannot imagine what a man feels like. His masculinity has been taken from him I can appreciate that.

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Since my stroke, I have had enormous difficulty showing what I am feeling.  I know that my wife gets enormously frustrated with this, and I am trying to learn how to "spontaneously" show my emotions.  It is not easy for either of us -- she sees a flat affect, and thinks that I am not listening or do not care, I feel like I have to learn how to be an actor and act out the emotions that I feel, as otherwise they are invisible.

 

I don't know what the answer is.  Even talking doesn't always help -- at one point I started pushing my family away from me, thinking that they would be better off without me.  Those feeling have changed, but it has taken time.  Showing how I feel is a work in progress, but at least we talk about it now.

 

Hang in there, talk and try coaching him in appropriate responses.  It sounds stupid, but it really helped me to be asked "what do you feel about this?  what does an appropriate response look/sound like?".  It takes some time to re-learn social cues, and (in my case) a lot of repetition to remember them.

 

It must be really hard to be on that side of the wall that stroke can erect.  I hope that you two can work things out and that it improves.

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39 minutes ago, PaulNash said:

It must be really hard to be on that side of the wall that stroke can erect.  I hope that you two can work things out and that it improves.

My first thought when I read those 2 sentences is a stroke support group directed toward survivor and caretaker. Also, talking to your therapies therapists (I'm not sure which one maybe speech or OT) who can help in a few ways. It is very hard to tell those we love how it feels to have our stroke or how it affects how we show how we feel...a therapist who works with stroke patients can help explain defecits I think a lot better to a caretaker. They can also give helpful excercises that help both patient and caregiver. Also, a stroke support group where caretakers can have together time to connect with each other...I can't imagine being in a caretakers role in the stroke dynamic but it must be so foreign and so hard. Same way that it is for us as survivors. Both need support. Flat affect and apathy are so common in stroke survivors...I do know that it is a deficit of stroke. I bet it feels so confusing...no wonder I see caregivers that see this from their spouse can feel really worried and I bet scared. Hugs.

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yes, I go to a stroke support group and we talk about our emotions all the time.

5

So when I got my hair done, she showed me finished hair style. Inside I felt euphoric happy, excitement to look new, verrrry pleased. But in the mirror I saw I had happy eyes but not a big grin, so I had to tell myself to smile big and I told her  I luuuuuvvvvvvvv this new hair...and it came out sincere because I meant it. She was a nice young woman, very very helpful to me, so I was thrilled to hear her spontaneous giggle so I know she was pleased I admired her work of art.

So I must be aware of my facial expressions, and how I talk to people.

But when I do, it is wonderful.

 

Speech therapy in group helped me be more aware. Talking about awareness helped me.

 

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