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Personality Changes



We were told that there would be small changes in my personality, after and I healed from the stroke, and further on down the road, as I continue to have "Ischemic Events," and very probably develop vascular dementia. OK, I've learned to accept that. So have Sam, the kids and rest of the family. None of us are looking for the changes, but we have all decided that when we notice differences, we will roll with them. What else can we do?


Well, we have noticed a few in the last couple of months.


My mother is loving referred to as "The Dragon Lady." My sister is a "pit bull," and my mother-in-law is known as a "baracuda." In short, none of the women in my family, by blood or by marriage, are anything less than "self-empowered, strong women." I've been known to breathe fire a time or two myself, or to clamp down on an idea and shake it until I got the outcome I wanted. In our family, the term "cougar" does not refer to romantic preferences, but the fierce pounce of me onto an idea, issue, or person, seemingly from out of nowhere. At least, it has in the past.


In hospital, I became very compliant. I didn't have the energy to fight the doctors and nurses (one of these days, I may tell you how I terrorized the maternity ward when my children were born and got "released" 3 days early after a c-section, just to get me out of there). Thinking was difficult, so I just sort of let the world carry me along for the ride. My family knew I was doing better when I reclaimed the word "no." But I still had not gotten back to "NO, or else," like the women in my family have used for generations.


I still haven't gotten there. I don't seem to want to. Even "no" is no longer concrete, like it used to be. Now it's a matter of "no, unless you can have a better idea." The ideas don't even seem to have to be very good ones. As soon as I am faced with one, it is just easier and less draining to say, "ok, we'll try it your way." I figure, I can always change my decission later. Usually I can.


The kids will attest that I was always the one who had to be in control of every situation. Vacations were not taken without my planning every little activity down to hte minute. The 1 year that the kids and Sam decided they were going to boycott the agenda, I simply told them, on day 3, that if I couldn't plan, orchestrate or organize at least 1 activity during this vacation, I would go homicidally insane and they would be my first targets. Their reply was "so, Mom, what would you like to do tomorrow?"


Those days seem to be gone. Now, I beg for a weekend where we don't go anywhere, see anyone, or do anything in particular, just a weekend to relax. A vacation doing nothing sounds like a really good thing to me, and I don't mind playing most days "by ear."


I had to win every arguement. I simply didn't argue if I didn't feel absolutely certain that I was arguing for the "right" side of things. I became an expert at trapping people in their own logic circles, and never failed to use their words against them, the minute I judged it to be most advantageous. I took a lot of pride in the fact that I had honed my memory to the point where it was near idedic. I could give date, time and place for every supporting arguement, and throw in details like what people were wearing, or what the places looked like, and I split hairs so finly it would have taken an electron microscope to see them. My mother always told me I missed a good chance at being a lawyer.


Now, I openly admit that I have forgotten many things. I laugh it off to having "stroked" that memory away. The minute an arguement looks like it might break out, all I want to do is get out of the room to avoid it. God forbid someone raise their voice. It almost physically hurts me to be around anger or negativity. I just want everything calm, relaxed, and pleasant.


Where I once would be the first to tell some one exactly how I felt about something, now I'd rather keep my opinion to myself, in the interest of peace. And, oddly enough, if I can't get away from the stress, I end up crying huge sobbing tears to the point I start to sputter and choke. It isn't on purpose. Stress just really bothers me that much now, where in the past, I'd have eaten it as a snack, and spat out the seeds on my way to tackling something else.


If the sun was up, so was I. There were things that needed to get done, and only so many hours in the day. Product of growing up in the country. Though, my mother says I have always been a morning person. Well, not any more. I've been know, recently, to get out of bed to deal with the animals, then go back to sleep for several hours. If something doesn't get done today, it can wait until tomorrow.


Even my creative endeavors had to be "perfect." I can't tell you how many sketch books I have with nothing but sketches of 1 body part, or 1 object, over and over, on page after page, until I felt I had finally gotten it "right." And I have never been a "realist" artist. I am a Surrealist artist - a subset of the broader "Impressionist" genra. But, I had to have "perfection" even in portraying the emotions and ideas behind the work, instead of trying to make it as "real" as real life. Now, the "mistakes" seem to only enhance the work, not take away from it, like I once believed.


A year ago, if anyone had told me I'd even be contemplating medical retirement, I'd have said they were crazy. Now, it looks better and better, the closer it gets to the time when I will be able to do it. Days spent in relaxation - more than a weekend at a time...oh that sounds like a beautiful idea!


Basically, since the stroke, I seem to have let go of a lot of my "Type A" tendanceies. I don't even miss them. Life seems so much better when it is relaxed. Uptight and hectic just feels like it takes too much out of me.



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reading your blog made me realize I was so not type A personality pre stroke so flowing with life has become much easier for me post stroke, but then I feel sometimes people take advantage of my niceness don't want to argue with kido about things. though luckily hubby got good debating skillls so kido don't have any chance.



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