Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Journey to Self-Acceptance

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

a division of United Stroke Alliance
The following is an article from the American Heart Association Support Network blog: 
by Angela Hager

Angela currently resides in Hoover, Alabama with her husband and two daughters. Her passions include stroke advocacy, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, writing and the art of Calligraphy. Sneak peeks into her personal and family life can be found on Instagram at angeladcalligraphy (Angela Dawn).

Stroke rehabilitation. Whether your stroke was diagnosed as major, mild, or somewhere in-between, rehabilitation is often a frustrating journey filled with every emotion imaginable. While each post-stroke journey is unique, I believe true healing begins the moment a Survivor not only acknowledges, but accepts, the one realization that we all must face no matter which area of our brain was affected: We are not the same person we once were nor will we ever be that person again.

For me personally, facing this truth was undeniably soul-crushing. I adamantly rejected the notion at the beginning of my rehab journey, as do many fellow Survivors. The mere thought of being permanently altered was enough to blanket me in a cloak of anger and bitterness. Denial became a daily crutch that I desperately needed; without it, I found it almost impossible to function.

However, as the days turned into months, I slowly began to realize that despite my best efforts, I was a different person. I began to accept my new challenges and limitations instead of continuing to fight what I knew in my heart to be true. As I learned to redefine a new sense of normalcy for myself, my focus also changed. Rather than fulfilling the role of a stroke victim, I became the hero of my own story; after all, I was a Survivor. I survived an experience that sadly, many do not. I had graciously been given a second chance and my eyes were finally opened; each day truly is a gift and tomorrow is never, ever guaranteed…

This past June marked my fifth-year post-stroke. My rehabilitation journey has been filled with ups and downs, tears of frustration and tears of joy. I have learned to take each day as it comes and to celebrate even the smallest of victories. When self-pity or depression tries to rear its ugly head, I simply close my eyes, put my hand over my heart and soak in the precious feeling of a beating heart…

No matter where you are on your own journey, I just want to encourage you to live your life to the absolute fullest. The first step in doing so is learning to love the new you, no matter how broken or damaged you may feel. Once you shift your perspective, you’ll find that life is in fact still beautiful, just as you are and always will be.

Wishing you all the very best,

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