After a serious medical crisis your body physically goes through phases of healing. It’s long, arduous and requires patience. Let’s face it, it’s hard. So, as your body is healing, your mind is trapped, unable to equip itself on how you feel from one day to the next. You go mad because you can’t differentiate if you are on the cusp of a mental breakdown or ready for the next adventure of your life. It’s a yo-yo effect. No one can genuinely understand this, despite how much they try to empathize with you. This doesn’t discount they care, because they do. However, your emotions belong to you along with the maze that your mind creates.
See, I’m still going through the yo-yo effect and I wonder if it ever ends. It must, right? I’m three and half months into my recovery and returned to work two weeks ago. My body felt right, and my mind was clear. I knew that I was ready. When I returned, I wasn’t prepared for the sense of loss because of what I missed during my time of absence. Since I was out of the game, I desperately had to think of ways to showcase my capabilities, so I didn’t appear inept. This is honesty. Now don’t get me wrong, my work has not made me feel this way. They have embraced me. This is my own self-doubt trying to console the facts of semblance.
So, I sit here and beat myself up every day wondering how to prove to myself that I’m wrong with my feelings. Then suddenly like a microburst, I found myself feeling sick and fatigue. This happened in the middle of writing this yesterday. I felt too weak to type and just needed to lay down. I figured I would give myself an hour and then get back to it, but the illness slugged me. When I got up, I felt like heavy weights were tied to my body. I began to have a cough and my eyes were watering. The sudden fear of having COVID19 entered my mind but I thought in the 100 days of isolation, I’ve had very limited exposure to people. As the night went on, my body gave up on me and I fell asleep on the sofa. Today, I woke up with a bit more energy. I didn’t do my usual shower and dress up that I allot myself for mental health. I rolled out of bed and immediately started to work. I felt gross and horrendous that I broke my routine working in my pajamas looking like shambles. Thank god, video conferences were not needed. As the day went on, I sneezed. Let me tell you sneezes after a stroke feel different. It feels like something shattering your head. My eyes welled up, and the congestion was building. I took my temp and it was 99.4. I was not wanting nor in the position to be sick.
With the advice of a friend, I contacted my healthcare provider and did a telehealth visit. I was told that my symptoms sounded more like a cold or allergies and my stroke fatigue is probably the cause making me feel worse. I was instructed to watch for other symptoms, but there was no cause for concern to get tested. I sighed relief, and in retrospect every year I usually get sick around this time because of pollen and the seasonal changes.
So here I go, yo-yo! I feel fine and then I feel lousy. I feel on top of the world and then I feel zip. Mentally, I’m still trying to figure this part out. I wonder how many other stroke survivors feel this way. How do you steer yourself?
Part of the roadblock as I have mentioned before, is that I’m isolated. We are all isolated. Coming out of a healthcare crisis requires nurturing, self-love, exploring, doing things you enjoy. I don’t have that opportunity. I’m confined to my home, with my thoughts, and letting the world know how I feel- that's one part of the yo. I suppose this is an opportunity to get in tune with my thoughts without distractions. Maybe this isn’t a bad situation. I can embrace who I am, what I can offer, plan my life, think about my health without those distractions- that's the other part of the yo.
So right now, I feel a mixed bag of emotions. One day up and the other day down. I want to say, this is normal. Here are some things to remember or do when you feel like a yo-yo:
1) You ARE emotional equipped to handle up and downs.
2) When you return to work, it’s NORMAL to feel that you missed out, and want to find your way back. Things WILL fall back into place.
3) You might have an illness that will scare the crap out of you. You CAN seek help to ease your concerns.
4) Blog, journal, speak to someone. LET the emotions roll out
5) DON’T be ashamed of how you feel and the trajectory of your recovery
6) Think of how you can be an ADVOCATE for others in your same position
7) Think of how you can REACH OUT to other people with different health problems because we equally have the same mindset.
8) Think of how you can be a VOICE for family members or friends of a loved one facing a health crisis
9) PREPARE yourself on how you will lovingly take care of yourself when the COVID crisis is over. Create a list of the things you enjoy, want to try and explore.
10) LEARN to forgive yourself for any harsh feelings you have
11) Accept that life is a yo-yo
Please let me know if there is any subject you want me to touch on. I’m an open book and insightful with a caring aspect. Until then, I will assemble a list for my next blog, what we can do to emotionally take care of ourselves and activities to get our brain back on track.
Always with love to you all.
When I feel emotionally vulnerable, I compare these two pictures to remind myself how far I’ve come.