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Stroke Anniversary Flashbacks..and regression. Is it normal?

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Hi..

Recently, while putting some clean clothes away,  I piled the clean clothes on top of what was already there, in the over crowded drawer. So I smushed stuff around...and out of the corner of my eye.. this bright color popped up.  My ugly shorts, the ones I use to pull weeds, when no one can see me. Lime green and old. Bam! I quickly smushed them further down in that drawer, out of sight.

 

But, my heart started pounding I felt disoriented and sad. It hit me like lightning! The taste and smell of that morning.. the confusion... why did I put those ugly shorts on “that” morning, almost three years ago?   I remembered that I had them on when I went out side.. my leg..or foot, or something didn’t support me. My foot was asleep, I fell..scraped my knees and elbows. Why was I even in the yard? Goodness knows how long that lasted?

 

I headed back up those stairs... stupid foot still “asleep” and my arm. I did a weird version of the “hokey-pokey” shaking them both.. then slipped and stumbled  again.  Then, I went back inside to all of the other misadventures that happened before I was found.  Does anyone else have flash backs? It was triggered by those shorts, that COLOR, it always bothered me that i remembered wandering around in the yard, I was so confused... it was not a work in the yard morning.. of course that’s what I had on when my husband found me..and the color..

 

There were other shorts in that drawer.. but, those jumped out at me, few days ago. What’s going on? Then, I started to recall that the anniversary of my mom's death is approaching. I was her full time caregiver...at home. She passed away..at home..  My sweet Golden  Retriever, Pearl, passed just a week or two before mom.  All of memories of fear and exhaustion.. holding all of my emotions in check, worried, terrified. Was I doing everything I was supposed to? Then within days..the stroke... This past week I have made more  cognitive “mistakes” than I have all year!

 

Yes, this Covid-19 Pandemic is stressful My house is full, my over seas kids evacuated to our house, in Washington state.. near the epicenter of all of this;-) My CT scan was canceled along with all the related doctors appointments. We are self-quarentined because the kids were in Indonesia.  Yes, I think it’s stress too.

 

But, I  left stuff on the stove, burned the bread, touched the hot pan, emptied a full can of salsa into my stainer, in the sink. I meant to use it, and strain the green beans. Just a couple of my greatest hits. The confusion is back.. and grappling for words...depression?

 

Yes! My doctor had recommended i see a counselor.. and I agreed to, just a couple of days before our lockdown.  Everything is on hold. I’ve been having ischemic events in my colon..and small vessel disease is interfering with plans for a possible surgical solution. I’m scheduled with an acupuncturist as well..on hold. 

 

Anyway, just feel like I’m falling apart. Going backwards is so disappointing. I know it’s just a little thing compared to what others are going thru..in this community and out there in the world. I just feel my world getting smaller again. I was a shut in for a year..afraid to go out... I’m trying hard to buck up...but, I just want to curl up in my bed. Thank you for listening... love from Pam

please forgive me if this is in the wrong place or I didn’t format it correctly..my brain isn’t processing the rules..I spent a whole bunch of time trying to locate this and login..thank you Very, very much. Finding you all 2 years ago..saved me from the very dark place I was in...bless you all.

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HI Pam, sometimes your brain gets into a spiral that is disturbing. It can be hard to break that spiral and stress and anniversaries are certainly triggers.  You have recognised what is happening and that's the first step to fighting it.  If you can't get to the counsellor (and right now you can't) work on your self talk. try writing down what you are feeling or say it out loud to yourself. or ring a friend, or write it here we are happy to listen and help you work through it. We may not be official trained counsellors, but we do understand how this thing can be.

 

I think you should try mindfulness meditation.

 

Hugs, you will get through this

-Heather

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Pam, I wonder if what is happening to me is not happening to you. One of the "gifts" that the stroke left for me was a heightened sense of anxiety. I don't handle stress well as a result. I think everyone is feeling stressed and anxious right now. And then there's the media, fanning the flames. I feel like I'm on high-alert all of the time. And I think that all of this fear and anxiety all around me is having an impact on me and making me feel more anxious than usual. I am not suggesting that you not see a counselor. I'm just wondering if what you are feeling right now is caused by the fear and anxiety that's in the world right now. I think that Heather is right- we will survive this,   Becky

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These are all great answers. To answer the question sort of... I definitely have these moments or pieces of time. First.. Taco Bell... I ate Taco Bell the night I stroked. I absolutely can't eat that ever again. I can't even stand to smell it. That night I threw up (massive projectile v that truly didn't stop for weeks/months) and just thinking or seeing Taco Bell is like complete PTSD for me. I don't think that will ever change. I suffer many psychiatric issues from my stroke. I tend to have cyclical bouts of depression, Sad (this winter has been my worst and I experienced a huge amount of Cognitive decline. Still not 100% but feeling it lifting). I, like Becky, now have a pretty severe anxiety disorder with panic attacks... This makes me regress when I'm not controlling this well. I also have overstimulation of all my senses. So any time I go through things like that I regress. I do get back to myself but at times it takes a bit. This seasonal Affective disorder depression has set me back since November. I have a very difficult time talking, communicating, controlling emotional lability (I have continued PBA), severe fatigue... It is disturbing every day. I do have Cognitive Behavior therapy every week and also see my Psychiatrist every other month. There are many types of therapy and I find myself looking forward to it. It can be scary to feel so out of sorts and to feel regression. Be kind to yourself and you may really receive help from talking to a therapist. Always keep your neurologist/PCP up to date of your concerns and times like you are speaking of. They can help decide if there is something that may help and it adds a measure of reassurance for yourself. Take care and I hope you are feeling better soon. 

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Thank you Heather, Tracy and Becky. I apologize..I’m having trouble problem solving and can’t figure out how to respond to you each individually.  You each helped me remember this is a process..and that I’m not alone. At first, I was afraid another stroke was coming on...confusion.. I have to remember to breathe.. I realize the news stress is huge.  I will play more music and try to get outside with my granddaughters... So, I think those ugly shorts are a trigger...I’m going to throw them away... thank you for sharing your story about Taco Bell, Tracy.  Yes, depression is a huge factor for me too.  Bless you all..thank you, thank you, thank you...

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Blessings to you and don't you worry a moment about communicating with each of us. Your response is very clear and very much is all inclusive. 🙂 Problem solving is also an issue for me and especially when I'm "extra strokey" that's what I call a bad day haha. I think I gave an example of year round anxiety trigger instead of Anniversary trigger. I had my stroke 7-5-2015 - one day passed 4th of July and this day has brought me anxiety every year since. It doesn't help that it is legal to set off fireworks in our neighborhoods... That starts a few days before and continues for a good week after. Nothing like dropping a glass of drink or doing the crazy dance at random times during this. I'm a bit of a nut the whole time... My anxiety is very high then. 

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Osher my happy stroke day anniversary day was the day that I could have ceased to exist but I survived it and I survive everyday and one of the things I'm most proud of is that I am able to bulldoze through on days that I'm overcome with the deficits that become enhanced always when I suffer through sinusitis and bronchitis like I just have been going through and then if I find out that we're having a pandemic sure there's extra stress sure there's extra fear but I also just survived a heart attack and I had stents put in but because of this virus they have cancelled the procedure that I was going to have to remove a blood clot in my leg and I'm thinking well I wouldn't want to be exposed to the deadly virus going around or spread anything to the doctors that are so badly needed now because how do I know I'm not a carrier. Yes I didn't think I could bear anything more than the stroke but now I'm a heart attack Survivor. I feel I live on borrowed time and I have days where I'm one big cognitive glitch. But I also know that everyday is a gift and I just am quiet inside now. Now things upset me in a way that never used to and I can just feel like I can't breathe even over just the smallest thing. But these are triggers some things and but I know I'm tougher than I've ever been and yet I can look like I am falling apart in the next breath and so I feel like I can't really trust what's real inside me but I think that over the years I just handle putting out fires and what I've learned is I am stronger then I think I am and I know I'm definitely braver than I appear to be and I know is when I came on this sight and I was given so much comfort good advice and encouragement education and I've tried to get back but sometimes I just need to have my own space and I just sort of disappear within my world but after I time out I know I need to be connected to survivors because we are a unique group that has learned so many lessons and we have so much to offer the world I think if someone was to compile all of our stories into a book and people who didn't have a stroke could read this book maybe the world would stay as it has become recently more connected friendlier more caring. I think we know how to quiet the panic now because are anxiety comes from a source the world can't know it's not just fear of dying dying would be easy it's the fear of living with all of the things stroke gave us we can applaud ourselves for how resilient we have True Grit. I think you for sharing your story because honestly I think that you are very strong.

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Pam, Thanks for some wonderful reading...both yours and the replies....I have recently had a 'reminiscence attack'. It was not in the same calibre as your green shorts but since these attacks are rare with me I'd like to share this one....I was walking through a local market last Saturday. The open marketeers sell fruit. vegetables, bright flashy clothing, wooden toys, plants,  snake oil that will cure everything, new religions and just about everything else. I love these markets and am a regular visitor. Then  I paused at a second hand bookstall and saw 'THE' book. It was by Keith Draper and his picture was on the front casting a fishing line. 

 

I stood transfixed for some minutes as a flood of memories flowed through me. Many years ago needing a break from business pressures I went to a fly fishing school run by him at Taupo. There were six others and we stayed at local motels. It was a magic week for me. The weather was perfect and he taught us all how to cast a fly rod, handle the equipment, read a river, choose the right fly for the conditions and we were lined up along a fishing river within two hours. He wandered from one to another caster showing him the finer points of the casting skills. He was incredibly knowledgeable, a good teacher and became a lifelong friend. We practiced and fished all the time, moving from one incredibly beautiful fishing possie to another. Standing in fast flowing water surrounded by bush, singing birds and biting sandflies. On the third day the incredible happened, I caught a trout and over the next few heart racing minutes had to learn how to handle it. The trout got away leaving me stunned, incredibly excited ....and MAD.

 

After a break for meat pie lunch on the bank, I returned to the river again, this time armed with a net. An hour later a tug on my line told me it was happening again and for an exhilarating five minutes I worked the fish closer and closer and eventually into the net. I returned to the bank to the applause of the rest of the party to find how to mercifully kill the catch. I was on a high like I'd never experienced in my life before.  Keith greeted me with congratulations and then said "That's the biggest mistake of you've ever made". Staggered and deflated, thinking I had done something wrong, I asked why.."Now," he said "You are hooked for life".

 

He was right. Over the next twenty years I spent a fortune on equipment, spent hours learning how to tie flies, reading every book and magazine on the subject and every spare moment working out how to get back to the river again. Here I was standing transfixed by the bookstall for five minutes as a multitude of reminiscences flowed through me. I didn't buy the book, it would have been too painful to read, the stroke means I 'll never wear waders again or stand in a fast flowing river. I 'm not sure I could stand by a lake on firm ground and cast for a trout. If I caught one it would probably be stronger than me.

 

The reminiscence was wonderful.

 

Deigh

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Oh Pam...big hugs for you. 

You have sooo much going on, you are a champ.

Yes, anniversaries make my brain turn to mush.

I guess my only words are

 

One day at a time, one hour at a time. You got this. We just don't have a deadline to aim  for. 

 

All the best, lovely lady. 

❤️

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Pam, you have my sympathy.  I hate to think what you must be going through.   To quote Annie Lennox:  "If I could find a way to soothe your troubled mind ... I'd fine the cure and take your pain away"

 

I'm "lucky" enough that I have major memory issues, so can remember a bit of what happened, but it feels like looking at a comic-book version; not real and not related to me.

 

      paul

 

 

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The other day was my stroke anniversary. 

Because Connor has just finished school and started online school and everything else going on with covid19, I didn't actually have time to think about it.

Everything is a blessing in a distorted kind of way.

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