I Can Do This; I Can Get There. The First Lesson I Learned from My Stroke

When I had my stroke, I barely knew it! In fact I had been digging in the garden and felt a bit unwell. I then felt really scared for a few minutes and then decided I’d had enough of digging and came into the house to have a drink. I then noticed I was walking oddly (in zigzags!) and it was at that point I was convinced I had pulled a muscle in my back! I then asked my wife to take me up to the hospital to get me checked out. When I got to the hospital I went to undo the safety belt of the car and my right arm was just hanging with no power in the arm or hand. I remember it was a very strange feeling and said to myself in a very calm way, ‘Ok that’s not working I shall have to use the other one!’ So I swung over and used my left hand to undo the safety belt. I got out of the car and it was at this moment that I felt the power in my right leg going so I hung on to my wife’s arm for dear life and as I looked forward I could see the entrance of the accident and emergency department. I focused really hard on the door of the entrance and said over and over again to myself,

“I can do this; I can get there”, “I can do this; I can get there”. With each affirmation, I could feel the power rapidly draining from my right leg and I was getting lower and lower towards the ground. I kept repeating the affirmation until I finally reached the entrance of the A & E department. I felt I had accomplished an amazing feat, just walking that very short distance with the wonderful support of my wife.

Lesson One: The Power of Affirmations in Recovery

This was a real learning for me in my ability to deal with this huge setback which came as a bolt out of the blue. What you run in your head, call it whatever you will, “the voice between your ears”, or your internal dialogue can have a huge impact in supporting you with the challenges that life can throw at you!

In stark contrast, we know exactly what happens when people keep running voices of self doubt or anxious voices and how this can really damage them and even lead to various levels of depression. So find the voice of encouragement inside you and get it to support you on a daily basis as you navigate through your daily challenges. If you struggle to find a really good one, ask around your friends who are really positive and upbeat in their lives and see if you can “try on” their internal dialogues and see if they work for you. Adjust them and fine tune them so they are congruent with your own personality and lifestyle. You may even want to keep a journal and notice what works particularly well for you and what does not. Then of course you can do more of what works and make a real difference in your life!