Coping strategies?


I'm new here, I had an ischeamic stroke four weeks ago. I am physically fine other than visual disturbances in my left eye which at first were very vivid and upsetting but have now subsided leaving 'fuzzy' vision. The thing I am really struggling with is my emotions, I am in a constant state of either fear or anxiety that I will suffer another stroke, as a consequence I am struggling to sleep. I have good days and 'off' days, on the off days I have an uncontrollable urge to cry (sometimes for no reason at all) and I will cry on and off for the entire day! 

I am hoping that being able to share this with others who have had the same experiences will help me to get through and start feeling positive because even though I know I am very lucky, I am finding it very difficult. I would very much appreciate any advice and coping strategies.

Thank you 



Hi Jo and welcome.  Everything you describe is exactly what we have all been through or going through ourselves so we know just how you feel!

The tears, the fears, the anxiety, the anger, bitterness (why me?) scared to sleep etc., are all fall out symptoms from the trauma your brain has experienced during the stroke.  Someone told me that if you imagine a filing cabinet full of files all in order and someone takes all the drawers out and throws all the files and all the papers all over the room - this is what happens to your brain.  Slowly you can pick up the files and put everything back in order as best you can but some of the papers may not be in perfect alphabetical order but they are back and you could find them but not just as quickly. This is the same sort of thing that happens to us.

The fears do subside but it takes time. For me about 6 months before I could stop doing all the stroke testing things on myself like sticking your tongue out, touching your nose tip with your eyes closed etc. I just kept repeating that I was on medication to stop me having another and the more I worried, the worse my BP would be.  The tears take a while to stop though!  I am 3 yrs post stroke and in Oct I had a mini stroke which knocked me back slightly but I can burst into tears for no reason. Just watching the TV at something sad or seeing a cute puppy looking at me with big eyes - I can't watch dog rescuers without being in floods of tears! 

I find having a nice relaxing bath and using lavender oil on my pillow helps. If you are still struggling to sleep, I also use something you can buy on line called 'This Works Sleep Spray'. It is a blend of aromatic oils and it does work but a bit more expensive than lavender oil!   I also listen to 'spa' music when I have a bath which is also very calming.

Hope that helps.  Lots of people on here have various ways of coping and will be happy to share their experiences with you.

Hi Jo, the fears and muddled emotions are all part of the stroke and take a while to settle. Having fears at night and being unable to sleep are very common and you will find your own way of coping. For me I used to listen to  Calm sleep stories on you tube ( they are free on you tube) and still use them 2 years later if I have an off night. I think it's important to try to get a good nights sleep if you can it will help with your emotions.
The muddled emotions take some getting used to but will settle, it  takes time though. I found it very hard to meet people I knew, I'd burst into tears for no reason but that seems mostly to have settled. Like onwards and upwards watching sad things on tv or certain songs on the radio can start me off but it's not as often as it was.
Try not to worry about having another stroke- you will be on medication to prevent that happening. Keep in touch with the forum there will be others who have different coping mechanisms which may help you. It's only been a few weeks since the stroke and unfortunately recovery can take a long time. 
Best wishes


Hi Jo, As others have said already, these fears and emotions are common after a stroke and they do ease with time. Saying that is easy, but coping with it is much more difficult. My stroke was five years ago and I was quite fearful for some time. It helped me to write about how stroke had affected me. I chose to write poems, but you might find keeping a diary useful.

Try to record your progress as well. We do improve, albeit slowly, and it is easy to forget where we started from. Low moods find us all at some time or another, but try to draw on those reserves that have seen you through life so far. Try to laugh as much as you can. I still laugh at my clumsiness (and swear a bit too).

I wish you all the best.


Dear Jo

well done, you have identified most of the symptoms that are afflicting you. Thats the most important battle and you have already won it.

Emotionality is common. Us males really struggle with this one because we dont cry. Well we do now. A half hour burst of tears is perhaps a target. Crying all day is not so common. I let the tears flow for a few minutes then deflect all thoughts to things i can cope with. Looking upwards, without tipping your head, may help.

Fear of another stroke is your brain telling you it wont tolerate another one. Keep telling your brain that you are now taking medication, that you are resting plenty and are far less likely to have a stroke than any other person. Also tell your brain that you were in danger of a second stroke, but  after four weeks thats over.

I use relaxation sessions which work for me. Ideally group sessions lead by a trained person, which at the moment will be remote.

try sleeping with the light on.

Smile many times a day. False,fake or forced smiles work, natural smiles work better. This is not a trick or fad. It really does get your brain in to a better state.

getting the right sleep is very important. I spent months on this and it eventually paid dividends. I swapped rooms, swapped matress, used five pillows then reduced them. I got good results from a tinnitus relaxer. Cost about £35 and sometimes your GPs might fund it. This little device plays white noise plus a calming noise of your own choice. I like the crashing waves. After 30 minutes it turns off. So you can go to sleep whilst its playing. 
try to fathom how much sleep you need, then fix a bed time and stick to it. John has already mentioned keeping a diary, you can write in the sleep times. 

the diary is invaluable as you go through recovery. Also, keep the copy letter that the hospital sent to your GP. That will be useful later.

be positive

keep smiling

lots of us are here for you




Hi I had an ischemic stroke 5 weeks ago. It made me very emotional especially telling someone as it was such a shock, but even as a man you just have to cry as it eases the pain. I to have no physical symptoms which I find makes it harder to accept what has happened to me. Luckily I've never had a problem sleeping even prior to my stroke and that continues. I am able to do more each day with care then just give up and rest or sleep when I feel like I've done enough.

I've kept a diary too which helps see how I'm doing.

This site and forum has helped tremendously as has speaking to the helpline. 

Chin up we are all here to help.

Thank you so much for your message. I rang the stroke association helpline in desperation yesterday and the lady I spoke to put me on to the site, I didn't realise how much better I would feel knowing that someone else understands what is going on. I think the people around me must be growing tired of my constant emotional outbursts!

Thanks again, I hope you are feeling ok smiley

Thank you Colin, your message has made me smile! I do suffer from tinnitus, which has increased in volume so I will definitely try the relaxer and take on your sleep advice.

Thanks again,


Hi Jo

Has any one said it's early days? I joined the group 'cos I didn't want another stroke. I am three years in. I had a TIA after my stroke and have had epileptic seizures a year apart since and am on medication for them, though the Neurologist thinks I won't have any others. I can only say that the crying will stop. Give it time. Hilary

Hi John,

Thank you for your message, I'm so pleased I joined, the advice is brilliant but just being able to chat to people and know that I'm not alone is invaluable smiley

Hi John,

Thank you for your message, I'm so pleased I joined, the advice is brilliant but just being able to chat to people and know that I'm not alone is invaluable smiley

Thank you Ann,

I really appreciate the contact, I didn't realise how much chatting to everyone would make me feel so much better.


Hi Hilary,

Thank you for your message, it's been so good to receive the replies giving me advice and helping me to feel more optimistic. smiley


I'm not sure I was very encouraging telling you that you could have problems ahead but I'm glad you can feel more optimistic about your diagnosis. Best wishes Hilary

It does help, thank you. I am so grateful for all the responses, I have got so many ideas to help me work through this.


Your welcome.

come back and ask anything. Quite a few of us are only too pleased to pass on what we have experienced. After a stroke got me late 2015 people passed on their experiences to me and it helped so much. It also gives me a sense of worth.


Hi your reply really hit home with me about doing stoke testing things I find every morning I have to lift my arm in the air say some speech in my head, Or out loud to see if I have had Another stroke it exhausts you before I even get up. I was doing great but was out my dog when I noticed my speech went a bit now I'm terrified it's going to happen again so haven't been back there. Emotionally I'm a mess physically I'm not too bad although my left leg has gone a bit worse but that could be a mental issue. Just feel sad because I was doing so good.wish I could sleep better too, my head feels it's going to explode with negative thoughts.

Take care


Dear Rich

chances of having a stroke are small. Chances of having a stroke when you are on a good diet, exercising and taking medications are miniscule.

Emotionality is a common issue after a stroke. It does ease, give it time.

good night time sleep is essential, so work towards that.


smile smile and smile again and be positive.

you will get there. 

Thanks colin, just worried because they find anything from the monitor was sort of hoping they would so we could deal with it do you know if they are likely to try the monitoring it again as I read with is very hard to detect


Hi Colin rich again after some advice 4months post stroke was doing great or so I thougt was walking good mobility was ok no real problems but then I had a bit of a funny turn shall we say was walking my dog and couldn't talk for about 20 seconds or so went  home because I was frightened and all week was experiencing some pins and needles sensations anyway phoned 111 doctor who said go to a  and e which I did they did blood presureo and pulse and strength test which were ok doctor sAid he didn't think it was another stroke and saidI I was on right medals sent me home still very worried and so every twinge scared me was back in hospital with what I thought was heart palpitations had check up and all was fine so home home since then I've been a have been an emotional wreck waiting to see consultant again but on constant edge. Any  advice how to deal with this as it's getting me down think it is actually making me feel ill

Cheers rich