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Old 05-11-2011, 07:30 PM   #1
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Anxiety After Stroke

Hello Everyone-

My name is Jen and I just had a minor stroke a couple of weeks ago. I stumbled upon this website looking for some information or reassurance and this looks like a friendly helpful group. I had gone to the ER after I felt my entire left side go numb, and I blacked out for just a second. After tests and several trips to doctors and neuros they said it was a stoke. Luckily, the only thing I've noticed is loss of some of the peripheral vision in my left eye, and just tired and a bit weaker left side.

I apologize if this has been asked before as I couldn't quite get through all the threads. Since they diagnosed the stroke I have become nothing short of a hot mess! Every morning I get all these wierd, numb, cold feelings (very hard to explain) and I'm so scared its another stroke that I can hardly function. I've actually ran to the ER a couple of times for these because they scared me so bad and was told that they weren't. It seems as though every time I feel something new in my body I am petrified and can't seem to get myself together. I'm almost certain this is anxiety because I went two weeks from the episode to diagnosis and didn't get any of this. I'm looking for some help in getting myself through this. I'm sure this is probably common so I would love to hear from anyone on how you got yourselves through this or if anyone has these weird feelings after a stroke. I've never had an anxiety or panic attack so I don't know what they are like. Its so frustrating because the doctors tell you what it is, give you medicine and tell you how to take it, then hand you a pamphlet and you're somehow expected to get through this without all the answers you're looking for or any kind or supporting words.

What kinds of things go on in your body after a stroke? Everytime I feel something different I flip out. I am not normally like this..how long does it take to start feeling a litle bit more like yourself?

 
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hello Jen, and welcome to our wonderful group of stroke survivors. We all know what a confusing time this is, and will be happy to support you as you move through the early stages of recovery.

Anxiety is a very typical response to stroke. The idea of having another stroke is always on our minds, particularly early on. I think most of us felt the need to go back to the ER when faced with any kind of distressing symptoms, I know I did.

I was like you in many ways, I had never experienced anxiety other than the brief bits of it when faced with a test in school, or a first date...that kind of anxiety. I did not even recognize the anxiety that had moved in following my strokes, until my doctor brought it up to me after noticing my symptoms during my office visits. That was years after my strokes, and I had not been able to sort it out of all the other health issues that had occurred with my strokes. Between the many medications that I was taking, the losses of function in my brain, and all the rest of the massive changes to my life, I was not able to pick it all apart enough to know what was what.

The depression was quite obvious, and I was treated for that early on. Once I was diagnosed with anxiety, I also began to use medication when the symptoms of anxiety were overwhelming, again noticed first by my caregiver. While I have never used anti-anxiety medication on a daily basis, I still have times when a bit of medication is enough to take the edge off, and allow me to let the anxiety pass without causing me full blown anxiety attacks, which are not fun for anyone involved. Those symptoms can be enough to mimic another stroke in some people, and should be avoided if at all possible. Once I was able to recognize my anxiety kicking in, or my caregivers could, I take a tiny dose of xanax to ease my anxiety. With the passage of time, my anxiety has diminished greatly.

While some people have different feelings about the use of medication, I am a person who relies on a serious medication regime of 155 pills per week to manage a range of medical issues that I have been left with following my 4 strokes. So, for me, one more little pill to be taken as needed was an easy decision to make, and for my doctors to feel comfortable with prescribing to me. You and your doctors may have very different choices to make regarding using medication for your anxiety, while you are getting through this initial phase of recovery.

While you mention that your stroke was minor, any kind of brain injury is serious, and will take time to adjust to, both physically and mentally. Hopefully this forum will offer you the knowledge that you are not alone in your feelings, and that your current symptoms are a very normal part of recovery.

I cannot emphasize enough how much time is a huge part of your recovery...everything takes time to overcome.There is so much to overcome in the earliest weeks and months.

You are so right about being sent out the door with a pamphlet and a pat on the back to go home and deal with your stroke alone, on the most part. That is the beauty of this forum, where you can get the answers you seek from the people who are living with the same issues, and have made it through to the other side of some of them. Please feel free to ask any other questions that come up for you, or speak on any subject that is of interest to you. We are here to help, and happy to do so. We welcome you!

It looks like I have taken a short question and turned out a long answer...that happens!

friends,

janet

Janet

 
Old 05-11-2011, 08:26 PM   #3
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hi Jen. Glad you found us!

What you're feeling is pretty par for the course, IMO. I had my stroke over a year ago, and yes I felt great fear and anxiety as well. I was sure every twinge or pain was another stroke and I was even afraid to go to sleep at night resulting in pretty bad insomnia. THEN I worried that not sleeping would give me another stroke. It was horrible. I had a lot of dizziness and light-headedness and that scared me too. I was afraid to drive outside my town (after I was allowed to drive) in case I had a stroke on the highway.

Since you've been checked out several times, I would hazard a guess that the "cold, numb feeling" could be anxiety.

Finding this forum and chatting with others here helped me see that everything I was feeling was normal and that it takes time and effort to put away the fear and get on with your life. I still get frightened once in awhile, but it doesn't last long and I've learned to push the fear away and go on to something else. Worrying never prevented a stroke and deprives you of enjoyment of the NOW!

Did you find out what caused your stroke?

Last edited by Chloe1252; 05-11-2011 at 08:27 PM.

 
Old 05-12-2011, 03:41 AM   #4
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Thanks for the warm replies. I have a feeling I'll be here alot .

Janet, I used to be the kind of person that tried to handle medical issues without meds, but now I'm with you. If I can take something to make me feel better..I'm all for it. I spent a couple days in the hospital and cried the entire time so I'm now taking Wellbutrin for that. But I'm thinking I need something for the anxiety because these attacks are scary! Thanks for all the advice it is very reassuring to know that I'm not going insane.

Chloe-they haven't really nailed it down yet. My cholesterol was a little elevated, but they checked that after my stroke and I've heard that it can be really high right after a stroke..has anyone else heard/experienced that? I wasn't a health nut by any means, but I wasn't completely unhealthy either. So we're still waiting for all the blood tests to come back but they've done two CT scans, carotid dopler, and an echo and those all came back good. I think that is part of my anxiety..not knowing what caused it so I don't know how to "fix" it.

I keep reading that rest and time are the best healers and I would agree. Since I didn't think I felt that bad, I just kept working (I'm fortunate enough that my work is home office based) but now I'm trying to decide if I need to take a few weeks off. There is just so much going on at work that I feel so quilty about not being there , but I know my head isn't in the right place either. You're right, this is a very confusing time. I feel very fortunate that suffered very little disabilities, but the emotional parts are really hard to get over.

Jen

 
Old 05-12-2011, 06:37 AM   #5
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

I keep reading that rest and time are the best healers and I would agree. Since I didn't think I felt that bad, I just kept working (I'm fortunate enough that my work is home office based) but now I'm trying to decide if I need to take a few weeks off. There is just so much going on at work that I feel so quilty about not being there , but I know my head isn't in the right place either. You're right, this is a very confusing time. I feel very fortunate that suffered very little disabilities, but the emotional parts are really hard to get over.

Jen[/QUOTE]

Hi Jen,
I hope you get some comfort here from your stroke. Please don't feel guilty about your situation. I know how you feel, because I felt guilty too after my stroke, but it is not your fault. There is no fault for anything to any person. It just happens. You feel confused and afraid. It is really normal after a stroke. So just try and take a little time for yourself right now. If you are tired, then sleep. That is very important right now. I see you work at home and have a computer, so just leave it alone for now. Your work will be there later. You have to get better for youself now. I understand.

For you to work right now will only make you more confused and anxiety. so take a day or two for yourself. You are fine and these things will pass. Don't do too much on yourself. It took me awhile to understand that for myself, but I am telling you, don't make it hard on yourself. You are a good person and it is not your fault, nothing!! is your fault. I promise you that.

It is a really hard time and confusing time for you, but you have friends here that understand how you feel. So you write anytime you need to and we are here to help and support you.
God Bless,
Tim

 
Old 07-16-2012, 07:21 AM   #6
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hi Jen,

I found your thread when I google about morning cold after stroke. How are you doing now? Are you getting better now?

My dad actually had a black out a few months ago. It may be because of stroke too. He is having anxiety and always feel cold in the morning but don't know why.We all so worried about his condition. I guess my father has similar symptom as you were.

Thanks.

Moonlight.

 
Old 07-16-2012, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hi Moonlight-

Its been just over a year since my stroke and I actually feel much better about things now. In my situation, I didn't have the anxiety until after I found out it was a stroke. Before I knew what it was, I just knew something was wrong with me. As soon as I found out I had a stroke the anxiety started because I was always worried I was going to have another one.

I still get a little bit of it from time to time, mainly when I'm about to do something I haven't done since my stroke. For instance I had to fly a couple weeks ago (by myself) and had a really hard time at first. But then I realize that I'm doing everything I can do to prevent having another stroke. I quit smoking (smoke free for just over a year), stopped eating fast food, I exercise every single day, and now I'm on Weight Watchers trying to lose the weight I gained when I quit smoking and down 15 lbs so far. So I'm well on my way to a healthy weight and being the healthiest me that I can be. That's all I can do. Its not worth worrying about it all the time. At this point there is nothing else I can do to prevent it so if it happens again, I guess it does but I know I'm doing everything I can do and the rest is in God's hands.

 
Old 07-17-2012, 07:55 AM   #8
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Smile Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hi Jen,

Thank you so much for your sharing and useful insights! Highly appreciate it. I didn't expect you replied so quickly.

I am glad that you have recovered and feel much better now So healthy living is important. At the moment, my dad still smokes despite his condition.

Anyway, thanks once again.

God Bless and take care.

Moonlight.

 
Old 07-25-2012, 10:11 PM   #9
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Barber,

It was great to see you back after a year, and have you report doing so much better. Of course, a year is a long time, but in the world of stroke recovery, it is just a drop in the bucket. It really does help having a year behind you, without having another stroke to ease your mind. As you stated so well, to worry about every thing is exhausting and does not help anything.

Good for you to go about your life, free of stress and anxiety. Making those positive lifestyle changes are very helpful too, and are enough to empower you to enjoy the new found confidence in yourself. You are a real success story !

janet

 
Old 07-29-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Hi Jen,

My Mom had a stroke a few months ago, and I'm the one under anxiety, I'm constantly anxious and afraid she might have another one, while Mom seems as calm as could be!

Anyway, I have read that even simple things you would never think of could cause a stroke including; bending your neck back while having your hair washed at a beauty salon (especially if pressure is applied), swimming, running, yoga, snoring, massage (can move a clot up to your brain), and chiropractic adjustment of the neck.

I'm even more nervous now thinking I can have a stroke because I do some of the things listed above, even though I have no risk factors!

 
Old 08-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #11
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Re: Anxiety After Stroke

Thanks for sharing. I'm 3 months from my small stroke and still having panic attacks along with dizzyness/vertigo. Drs still testing to determine cause of dizzyness but based on what I see here it may just be from the stroke. My stroke was small and I have no appearent physical lasting problems. I have a hard time really considering that I probably still have issues that just can't be seen. Good to know that time helps.

 
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