I had my stroke in January 2011 and spent a fortnight in Ipswich Hospital whose priorities were:
- Keeping me alive
- getting me potty trained
- Improving my mobility
I was then transferred to Bluebird Lodge in Ipwich which enabled me to slowly build up my strength and ability to walk, I went home on 14th March, unsteady on my feet and needing a wheelchair if I was going out.
In the short period when I was treated at home followed by sessions at Hartismere Physiotherapy I became more depressed as I started to realise what had happened to me and the extent of my physical and mental disability.
In this sorry state I arrived at Icanho in June 2011. I completed my need for counselling in October.
It was soon established that my memory was the problem, my physical disability and the need for guidance to solve the problem was the cause of my depression. Hilary assigned Emily as my counsellor and at the start we went through the Mind Over Mood exercise where I recorded my strongest thoughts in various situations. This was quite a challenge and in time I learnt to be more tolerant and thankful of things I can do. At the same time I was asked to improve my memory by reading a newspaper article and then writing a précis of it from memory. This was very hard to do but I persevered and graduated from the EADT to the Times and then onto the Journal of Statistical Society. Use of my time was an issue. It is easy to sit around and brood and even easier to sit alone in a room to escape your inabilities. An activity diary saw to that and made me organise myself better and to bring some purpose to my life. It encouraged me to start doing things and not – and here I will quote Emily – ” Sitting in the lounge and ruminating.”
In the latter stages of all this Emily told me to build a timeline with the help of my wife using the resources we had, family tree, family photos, holidays, digital pictures, a CV, birth and marriage certificates. It may be second best but it is better than nothing.
Am I OK? Well I still make mistakes, but now I know how to snap out of it and get back on track. As for my ‘Things I can do’ list, I now read it and see those which I can do ‘better’.