The road to recovery after a major stroke – Having the determination to keep going

In today’s blog I want to focus on the road to recovery being a marathon and not a sprint. Very often and I speak of myself here as much as anyone else, we hit things head on with great enthusiasm and in our mind we are determined we will make a difference. Perhaps three or four weeks later or maybe even longer in some cases, our plans are not working and everything we try fails.

One of my favourite books and very much a reference point in times of trouble is called ‘The Obstacle is the Way’, by Ryan Holiday. In his world renowned book, Ryan talks of the great men and women of this world who didn’t have exceptional luck, talent or experience. All they had was a single maxim: ’What stands in the way becomes the way.’

This book revolutionised my life during the period of caring for my mum and has ever since.  I could see no light at the end of the tunnel and it was extremely frustrating. Often our perception is skewed and how can we really tell who are authentic self is when we are bombarded with different messages throughout the day from our brain.

The way I coped was to stay in the moment and plod. This is sometimes all we can do in a situation and as time goes on we adapt. Before we know it we are knocking down walls and moving forward. I would imagine you have become accustomed to your new life in lockdown and have adapted with new routines on a daily basis. Humans are exceptional at evolving.

I am not saying it is easy and we have to be prepared we may fail and out of failure can come some of the greatest successes. I believe in our academic focused world we are scared to fail and many a time we miss an opportunity purely because we are scared of not succeeding.

I would encourage you to take that job you are not sure about, run the marathon you never thought you could, learn a new skill and broaden your mind. What do you have to lose? I never thought I would be writing this blog.

What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better

(Wendell Phillips, ‘The Obstacle is the way’)

I could have let my mum go into a nursing home. I have no doubt they would have cared for her physical needs.  However, they would have not had the man power or capacity to care for my mum’s brain stimulation in order to recover to the lengths she did.

I have always said the worst thing you can do with someone who suffers a stroke or brain damage is to sit them in front of a chair and turn on the television. Soon you will watch the person you love fall into decline faster than you care to imagine. I speak from experience here as my dad eventually went into a home and his brain declined rapidly as did his motor skills. It was very sad to watch.

As Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle is the Way) writes:

Therefore, we can always (and only) greet our obstacles

  • With energy
  • With persistence
  • With a coherent and deliberate process
  • With iteration and resilience
  • With pragmatism
  • With strategic vision
  • With craftiness and savvy
  • And an eye for opportunity and pivotal moments

Are you ready to get to work?

References The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday

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