How do you move on with your life after surviving a stroke at a young age?

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Answered by: Melanie, An Expert in the Stroke - General Category
What do you do when everything you know and take for granted is turned upside down? I was 24 (just a month before my 25th birthday) when a massive stroke took away the use of my left side. I wasn't sure how I was going to get through life being a young stroke survivor. I had been married for only ten months when life threw me that major curveball.

My newly wedded husband was not handling it well and really couldn't understand how I could look at the situation in such a positive light. He was an alcoholic and became abusive after my stroke. Imagine dealing with that all at the same time you have to learn to exist in your own skin again too. It was not easy. But I promise you that it can be done. How did I get through it all and still smile at my past? The answer for me was to not dwell on the negative. Sure, I could have thrown in the towel and given up, but I am not a quitter.

I forced myself to focus only on the good things that came out of being a young stroke survivor. I spent two months in the hospital where I had to learn to do everything again. Learning to walk again at 25 was tiring and frustrating. It's amazing how many things we all take for granted. We learn at a young age to be self sufficient. Now imagine that you wake up one day and can no longer dress yourself, tie your shoes and walk. I had to learn to do all of the simple things we all learn at a young age all over again when I was 25 years old.

It wasn't easy, I won't fool you there. I learned it all through trial and error and even though I still don't have full use of my left side at the age of 35 I can absolutely assure you that I see my stroke as a blessing in disguise. I've met many other stroke survivors since I became one myself. Some of them are older than me, some younger, but all hold a dear place in my heart. Some that I've talked to still hold a lot of anger inside for what they've gone through, so I take it upon myself to help give them hope. Don't look at your losses, look at what you've gained; is what I always tell them.

Find the good in everything that happens to you. It's not easy to do, but the end result is that you'll be seeing the glass half full again. You could be dead, but instead you're still here. Live life to the fullest and find happiness in all that you do. If you find that life has taken every thing you know to be true and flipped it on top of your head, just know that if you take it one step at a time you will get through it.

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