5) Richard

Q. How have others reacted to your stroke?

Well, are you talking about how people have reacted or how I thought they reacted? To begin with I just about avoided everyone as I was convinced that everyone thought that I was stupid and would lose patience… as I took so long to get out what I wanted to say. It got so bad that I could go weeks without even talking to anyone. Eventually my partner twisted my arm and with my stroke nurses’ support I agreed to go to the local communication group. I’m glad I did, I found out that I wasn’t alone and I became more confident.

Q. How has your stroke affected your relationships?

Initially, I was avoiding contact with my friends and family. Some friends tried to stay in touch, but because I didn’t respond they drifted away. I’ve made some new friends through the communication group and that has given me confidence to make contact with some of my old friends. My relationship with my partner has changed, he has had to take more control, but I hope that will change now that I’m taking more control of things.

Q. Can people see the effect of your stroke?

I thought they could see the effect of my stroke, but really it was about how I was feeling as I’d lost my confidence. I do have some language problems but other than that I’m OK.

Q. What is your take home advice?

Don’t make assumptions about things, try and keep an open mind about trying things. It may take some time to build your confidence, but like they say in the adverts “You’re worth it”. I still have some word finding difficulties, but as long as I keep calm and don’t panic I can get by.

Key points

It’s important to:

  • try and keep an open mind about trying things
  • take time to build your confidence
  • try to keep calm and not panic if you experience difficulties