What advice would you give?

Young stroke survivors talk about what they have learnt from their stroke journey and share advice they would give others. 

Some of the topics discussed will get you thinking about your own experiences. If you feel any distress, talk with someone you trust—perhaps a family member, friend, or your doctor. If you need support, information or advice StrokeLine’s health professionals are available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, AEST. Call StrokeLine on 1800 787 653 or email strokeline@strokefoundation.org.au. Lifeline is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 44.

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Video transcript

Carly: In the early days of stroke recovery within that first year, pacing yourself is essentially how you need to live your your life every day. And that is the one thing that is very hard for stroke survivors to understand. You just want to wake up one day and be well. But the reality is that it is a very long and slow journey.

Jodie: If everyone just understands that it’s a huge journey. It’s life changing. And, you know, your life is never going to be the same again. But it doesn’t have to be different. You just learn to carry on with what you’ve got.

Justin: You know, I’ve just got to focus on myself and I can be the best person that I can be and not worry about limitations or anything like that.

Toni: When you do have your stroke and with whatever deficits you have, those are your deficits. Don’t compare them to anybody else’s and think “Oh, you know, mine’s not that major compared to so-and-so”. Because whatever your deficits are, they are impacting on you and your life.

Paul: The sooner for me that I understood that it’s different now, the happier your life is going to be. Paddling against a tidal wave will just make you drown quicker. If you’ve got any hope of surviving, you kinda go with whatever it serves up. And then just try and nudge yourself into the right directions that you want to go and then do the best you can with what you’ve got. But the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is try to look after yourself as best you can so you can get back out there and do what you can do as quickly as possible.

Sophie: Really cement your support network around you like friends, family, your partner. But also, like, professional mental health support. I think get that as fast as you can. And it’s so important. Always have those people there, when you need them. And don’t be afraid to reach out.

Amy: Disability, no disability, you’re lucky to be alive. Just embrace it and live your life as much as you possibly can. If you’ve got kids, be with your bloody kids.

Brett: You know, definitely do the research and get as educated and knowledgeable as you can. But have the patience, I suppose, and have the ability to probably be that calming influence whenever you can.

Carly: Celebrating the little wins.

Brett: Yeah, yeah. Just, you know, those milestones and it’s great. Where you’re going really well here. You’re doing really well here. And I guess, you know, making note of that.

Toni: Make sure that you keep time to do something you enjoy. You know, not everything has to be solely rehab focused. Try and find something in there where you find time for you. Because you don’t want to lose you.

Laine: You have to accept the new version of yourself. And be able to grieve the person that you once were. For me, I just kind of, I actually like this version better. In the sense of I’ve got the new perspective, I’m a little bit wiser, a little bit more wiser than I was. I’m more protective over the things that mean more to me. And to find the right people to be able to be vulnerable with. And that’s OK. It’s just, and then, you can have that day or that week or that hour. Whatever it takes you to process it through for you to gain the sort of strength that you need to then carry on with your day.

Kirstie: Seek out the answers like don’t just settle for “I don’t know”. You know, so, yeah, I feel like because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Carly: Acknowledging those limitations, whether or not they be cognitive, physical or a combination of the two and working within those limitations, not trying to fight those limitations so that you can, as a family, be part of that recovery journey.

Shannon: Don’t give up. Be patient with yourself and with your family. They’re only trying to help. If I can get through this anyone can get through this, so, and don’t give up.