Anxiety after stroke

Had NHS Talking Therpies accessment last week.
They have offered me 6 sessions of Cognitive Bahavioural Therapy
Also seen Health & Wellbeing Coach who wants me to say Good Morning
to everyone I see and sing to myself while listening to music( tried the singing
to myself bit ( not convinced).Seeing her again monday so will have to the
saying good morning to every before then.
Found a woodwork and craft club in bognor which was set up for people like me who have become socially excluded stuck at home due to covid , anxiety,
etc. Biggest problem is getting there as I do not gon public transport alone
(Well out of my comfort Zone). If I can get over that , this club could be just the thing for me

5 Likes

@MARKY131

Maybe you can find someone to buddy up with to make the journey more bearable.

I’m sure that activity and movement are the best cures for anxiety, so I hope you get going soon

. . . and good morning to you too Mark. (tho’ it’s almost afternoon)

keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :smiley: :+1:

2 Likes

Bore da, I used singing, constantly, throughout the first few years of stroke as way to rest the left side of my brain (I had damage to left and right but less on the right). I believe it is used to decrease anxiety by encouraging controlled breathing, breathing exercises would achieve a similar result. It’s just about finding the right technique for you and your brain. I find that many suggested techniques to becalm anxiety have been gathered from general statistical evidence and become stock recommendations rather than having the core scientific or medical process explained and then suggested techniques, relating to those processes proposed. This means that some people miss out on a valuable resource. If someone says to me, singing helps with anxiety, I want to know why it does, and how it does. Then if singing isn’t for me, there would be a similar technique that evokes the same response that I could use instead.

3 Likes

Do you have a system like dial a ride that you could use to get to the woodwork club rather than public transport? Ours is run by our local council. I also saw a sign at my physio session the other day of a local charity running a taxi service (for fuel cost only) to take people to things like your woodwork club.

2 Likes

It may feel unfamiliar at first, but I’d recommend you try again… some tune from your childhood perhaps? There are many reasons for singing, including thoracic exercise, stimulate vagus nerve, therapeutic vibrations and more. Hope you pursue this, as it helped / helps me a whole lot.

good luck, Roland

2 Likes

Like Bobbi suggested, maybe you could find a fellow neighbour who might also be interested in woodwork to tag along with.

And like the singing, story telling in your head is an alternative to singing. I’ve used it virtually all my life I think, particularly at night while I wait to get off to sleep. I does help fight off those intrusive thoughts, during the day is much easier with distractions.
Your biggest hurdle for there is the travel, once you get over that it’ll get much easier.

I think the best way to overcome the travel issue, is to maybe make a few dry runs. Take a bus, just go one or two stops and walk back home maybe, with no pressure to be anywhere. That takes the pressure off, reducing the anxiety of it because you are not going far, your aren’t running to a set time restriction thus freeing up the brain to relax into the short journey. You can maybe go a bit further each day 'til it becomes second nature. Then you’ll be well able to make the full journey in a couple weeks/months without half the anxiety. I know it sounds easy written down here, but it is just a matter of taking that first bus, that first hurdle is the biggest but it can and does get easier.

And don’t be afraid or self conscious around strangers, use them to your advantage. Strangers love to help people, especially when you say things like “I had a stroke so my brain is on a bit of a go slow today, can you help…” that kind of thing always gets me what I need so I’m not afraid to take advantage of my condition. My motto to life now is “why have a dog and bark yourself”, when there’s always someone out there willing to help, and you may make their day too having helped you.

3 Likes

This works brilliantly for me. I do it every night, particularly, through stressful times. On the odd occasion that I don’t use this technique, are times when I can see visuals on the inside of my closed eyelids, these are dreamy to watch.

2 Likes

Actually those visuals always annoy me and keep me awake. One of many reasons for a spot of story telling to distract myself from them :smile:

2 Likes

I’m glad someone else experiences them, everyone I have mentioned them to gives me a blank look. My visuals are usually grotesque creatures that morph with shadows and colours, so quite fascinating to watch. On very rare occasions, I have visuals that are so clear and three dimensional, I feel as if I have my eyes open. I find it quite pleasant. But the stories are good too, as they also have their own visuals but embedded deeper in the mind, for me that is.

3 Likes

Hi there, Rups. Interesting, I only get them on occasion. I think they are called phosphenes, caused by pressure on your eyeball. Today I had the pressure of my eyes measured; 16 in the left, and 25 (a bit high) in the right). Do the images worsen if you rub your eyes? Do you get flashes of light ever? (photopsia, which involves the retina itself discharging electrical impulses). I get what are called floaters in one eye, sometimes… also classed as photopsia I think…

enjoy your visions, ciao, Roland

2 Likes

Diolch for this Roland, I didn’t know it had a name, phosphenes. I had a nosey around Wikipedia and have concluded it must be electrical stimulation in my brain because when it occurs it isn’t from any physical stimulation of my eyes. I don’t get flashes of light. Mine, usually depict grotesque creatures or sometimes morphing faces, sometimes creatures swimming or swirling about in colourful or shadowy environments. The most surreal are the few times it has looked bright and sharp, as if I am awake and looking at a three dimensional space. These are the ones I really get excited about seeing and treasure, because I am not seeing it through my mind’s eye but as if looking at it in an immersive way.

These phosphenes I have don’t happen all the time, so when it does I appreciate it, and I use it to lull me to sleep because I can watch these moving phantoms until I drift off.

It’s great to have a name for it now after all these years. :grin:

3 Likes

Well now you know you are not the only one because my daughter also experiences this. Mine are usually shadows, colourful psychedelic patterns and similar to lava lamps, black and white maze patterns and of course the flashing lights as pando mentioned.

With the stories, if I’m getting to a particularly good bit of the plot, I have been to keep myself awake at night with the telling of it :confounded: :crazy_face:

@pando My floaters are like little curled up hairs, and if I’m staring at my computer screen thinking what to write, I find my eyes chasing them around the screen :laughing:

3 Likes

I just looked up Roland’s words for these visual artefacts because I get lots of them but none of the descriptions really fitted what I get

Like others I just get looked at blankly when I try and describe to the GP or the optician.

Now I’ve got some words to start the search from I think I will explore further

Pre-stroke I used to get the amazingly vivid watching a film type hallucinations that were always amazingly stylistically different on different days definitely not displaying the sorts of similarity you see in one artist’s paintings or a potters portfolio or a gardeners designs etc but marked striking differences in subject and presentation

And I still get a spider’s web type visualisation in the centre of my field of view that’s pure white and the only visible in the dark. I also get some pure white flashes right in the extremities when I cough at the extremes of my lung capacity - Roland’s words threw up a search item related to eyeball pressure which is the first time I’ve seen some plausible explanation for one aspect of my visual disturbances.

Thanks for the heads up the confirmation that I’m not the only one and the sharing of the variety of manifestations that we all get.

Armed with this extra knowledge I can maybe talk to a ‘professional’ about my needs but I continued to be amazed they are unable to map what I would expect was the content of their degrees into the reality of their practise :frowning:

Caio
Simon

3 Likes

I’m, personally, pleased that we can all now openly talk about our phosphenes. :grin:

2 Likes

Iam afraid no one to buddy up with . first choice would be to buy a car but rest of family are against it. although I think that is what I will end up doing… I am going arrange a visit when my mother will come with me… Also considering a taxi although this could be too expensive. plus I miss having a car.

1 Like

Will stick to the singing to myself as it dos not any harm . I willing to give ita go (still not convinced)

2 Likes

I too get the visuals. Sometimes they are just weird but other times its like I can see people in front of me etc they seem very real to me. Other times I just get shapes & flashing images.

3 Likes

Afraid no one else I Know is interested in woodwork . but maybe worth looking further afield… taxi is another option. Am going to do a few try runs with my mother. Once I become used to the route. it will become a lot easier… I am determined to join this club as I feel it is what I need… But still miss having a car.
I know I have to talk to people more and starting with saying good morning to every one I see is something I think I can do. So plan to this in next few days . Have to do it before monday when I am seeing Health & Wellbeing Coach and she will check up on me.Which is not a bad thing as it makes me follow thru with things.

2 Likes

@Mrs5K

I’m no brain surgeon, technician, qualified expert, but I have opinions. Not everyone agrees with my opinions, but that’s okay.

Anyway using my brain to analyse itself I think and what I think is that the brain has an interpreter in there.

First job it does is turn everything the right way up. Our visual apparatus receives an upside down image to begin. with. Once it has performed this precarious task it begins to scan the image. There are areas of brightness and darkness that only an artist really sees. In addition there are splodges of colour here and there. In fact the whole thing is a mass of areas of very variable data.

Up pops the interpreter and he says this light and dark with a big splodge of red is a post box, that splodge of red with some light and dark is a traffic light. Oh now its green and if we don’t move the guy behind will start honking the horn.

No worries we can deal with that.

I reckon sometimes the interpreter has an off day or gets distracted by something and the message being sent begins to vary. After all its just a huge heap of ever changing data really.

Maybe that is how things can look different some days.

Keep taking the LSD, the wacky baccy or whatever and you might turn everything right up and over. Oh your poor interpreter.

Could be I’m wrong of course.

keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :smiley: :heart:

1 Like

You have my sympathy. I too should get a car.

I bought a metal detector thinking exercise would do me good. But have no way to get to somewhere to do it. No fellow detectorist to lean on.

Sitting here tapping the keys on a laptop will have to do for now.

keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :smiley: :+1:

1 Like