I live in a town of a million people. Last Sunday, I felt an increased numbness on the right side of my skull. I mentioned it to stroke survivor at the gym, a geologist suffering with M.S. He diagnosed it as a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or basically a small stroke, typically a precursor to a big one. Fuck. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, were my immediate thoughts.
A sleepless night.
Waves of panic in the morning.
Did an REBT self help form.
REBT Self-Help Form
What is the situation that you are upset about?
Answer: possibly had a tia stroke on sunday
What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
Answer: withdrawal avoiding social contact
What demand are you making about the situation?
Answer: life must be comfortable and safe or I can’t stand it; I must perform well or I am worthless
Dispute: is there any evidence that I can’t handle this? is this a definition of my value or worth?
Rational Belief: It’s obvious that I can handle this because I am handling it there is no evidence that this is a definition of my value or worth. I have value and worth simply because I exist
What are your new healthy negative emotions?
Answer: concern disappointment
What are your new self-helping behaviors?
Answer: talked to a experienced stroke recovery person – answer very common; looked at the web-MD saw the likelihood of having a major stroke as smallish and getting smaller; exercising; taking meds; testing cognitive function (rebuilding my Apache and Mysql servers), going to the doctor…
Return to www.rebtnetwork.org
So. Using my vast medical experience and that of a quite possibly brain damaged stroke survivor with M.S., I got myself cleaned up and walked with my cane the 2 blocks to my doctor. Waited for 2 hours to get in, but they got me in, to find out after a 40 minute very thorough exam, that 1 symptom does not a TIA make. Neuroplasticity is way more complicated. He is very rational, going over the evidence and then corroborated it. What did your neurologist say? He said I don’t need a neurologist. What did your physiatrist say? He said I was cleared to drive. Would they say these things if they thought the risk of stroke was anything but minute? Ummmm no.
So my future was restored and with it hope in my life, of satisfactions of choice.
Driving, relationship, creating and showing my work: mobility, sex and empathy, art: the things I love, were all back on my radar, getting closer with each step.
While I was waiting at the doctor, a woman came in, who had been the daily visitor to my hospital roomy. What are the chances in a town of a million people. The hospital roomy, a charming car salesman narcissist had moved out of their home, overvalue undervalue dump smear, the narsissist m.o.
I mean this was inevitable, and I spoke to her for some time about how they hunt for our types with empathy, then dump us when we ask for what we want in relationship, a relationship building exercise. They have nothing to give but charm and manipulation love-bombing and raw need that they can’t fill themselves in a healthy way.
He had had recently 2 grand mal seizures, and another roomy had had a subsequent stroke and died.
These guys were destroying relationships and themselves, and I am making friends, talking to strangers, asking for what I want.
Experts are telling me I can drive and have a normal life on baby aspirin and exercise as my life rebuilding strategy from my brain injury.
Time to start trusting that.