I think one of the hardest parts of recovery, is the constant and pretty much unavoidable “before and after” comparison. When I got home, I would spend quite a lot of time remembering the ease with which I used to do pretty much anything. I didn’t realize just how much I took for granted, even everyday things like getting a bowl of cereal, drink of water, or even the simple act of standing, confident I would not fall over. Making those comparisons is a guarantees way to go crazy and work oneself into a pretty big depression. No matter how much I had improved after the stroke, I always fell short of the pre-stroke me.
I quickly realized I had to change my thinking a bit. Instead of comparing myself with my abilities prior to the stroke, I tried to start comparing myself from that date. That was the day when my brain forgot how to walk, when my balance deserted me, and my body became a stranger. I remember being in the hospital, taking those four or five steps toward the sofa, the ones that convinced the doctors I was ready to go home, and feeling so happy I had accomplished something so major.
I have always tried to remember where I started. I remember trying to stand and having no clue how to control my legs. I remember those first steps. I remember when I got home and walked around the compound and how exhausting it was to do it just one time. Then there was the time I walked without the walker. Then I walked out of the compound, each accomplishment making me feel more confident and giving me a measurable increase in my ability, each one taking me closer to how I was before that fateful night.
During the past two weeks, I have not done so well. My vision, balance and walking seem to be working against me. It is not the normal little bit forward, little bit back that I have become used to. This feels like I am either not making any improvement at all, or I am getting worse. I do have moments things seem kind of improved, but more and more I seem to be reverting back and experiencing the types of things I did shortly after coming home. It is taking a toll on my psyche. I find myself more and more depressed and wanting to stay in bed. I sleep a lot more now and am not really so interested in going outside.
I am not really sure what is going on or why this is happening. I don’t know what to do. I am worried that maybe this is it and I will spend the rest of my life with this vision and balance. I wonder what kind of job I will hold. I worry about how I will survive in the future. My vision doesn’t let me read and watching TV or working on the computer only seem to make them worse. I don’t know how to improve my balance, which is at a point where I have to psych myself up before getting out of bed or off the sofa. I am losing my confidence and losing and positive attitude along with it. I don’t know what to do.