Going through a crisis or traumatic event, I think it’s good to reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience. On February 2, 2010, when I was 25 I had a massive stroke. I still have some lingering disability from this but am lucky to have recovered as well as I have. It was a truly horrible experience but there were a lot of life lessons that I learned from going through it. I know now years later that it is possible to get through a horrible experience and come out of it stronger in the end. It will take a lot of time and work to get there but it is possible.
1. That life will sometimes force you to deal with things you’ve been hiding. I had been avoiding dealing with our finances and the stroke made me come clean with Blake, my family and myself that I needed help.
2. That there will be people in your life that cannot handle crisis or tragedy and will step back from you or even avoid it all together. It’s painful to realize that there are people who just don’t have it in them to be there for you. It takes time to realize that this is not about you but about them.
3. There will also be people who will surprise you though by stepping up and being there for you in ways you didn’t expect. When you go through a horrible experience, whatever it is. You will find that there are people who will be there for you through the worst of it. Maybe not who you expect but you will find them.
4. Pain is more important than you realize. When I had my stroke I fell on the ground when I got out of bed but nothing hurt. I just felt tired. My husband could tell something was wrong because my voice was slurring a bit but I couldn’t notice. I didn’t want to go to the hospital and had I been home alone I probably wouldn’t have. Pain drives fear and since I had no pain I had no fear. I was actually really angry about being forced to go to the hospital.
5. That mental health is fragile and mental illness can affect anyone. I never had issues with depression or anxiety till after my stroke. Now I do and it’s because of areas of my brain being damaged and altered. So when people say that depression is a choice I realize how much that isn’t true.
6. I learned why in sickness and in health are part of traditional wedding vows. Going through my stroke was an incredible challenge for my marriage and was very stressful but in the end, I think that it strengthened our relationship and made it better.
7. That you can end up being stronger than you ever could have ever believed you wereI was. I went through a major health crisis when I was young and had to deal with a lot of testing and therapies to recover. It was very difficult and I was able to handle it.
8. I learned to let go and ask for help, which I was never good at. When the ability to drive and walk are taken away from you there is no other option but asking for help. I still don’t like it very much but I am able to do it better than I had before.
9. I appreciate things more than I use to. I know that so many people who have strokes die or lose the ability to speak, or their memories and I am grateful that I am still able to do the majority of things I use to do.
10. That maybe my life was supposed to fall apart so that I could create something new. I discovered my strength, discovered true relationships and my love of blogging. None of this might have happened