Stroke ended my marriage and changed everything

I had a stroke seven years ago and have changed my life completely. Before the event itself I had developed arthritis in both knees and found the pain became unbearable before I had the first one replaced and for a time I was so much better mentally and physically. In this time my family were going through changes themselves and my daughter had moved permanently to Australia. My son now lives in London. They are both living adult lives and have very little understanding of what happened to me.
My marriage became very difficult indeed and my husband understandably found my depression and pain hard to empathise with. He wanted illnesses to last a couple of weeks at the most and coping with long term conditions was something he couldn’t understand. The family kept going onto me about more exercise and weight control….both of which I struggled with. It made them really cross and impatient.
Then I had a stroke. A spinal column stroke. I knew I had high blood pressure and had taken really unpleasant tablets that made me feel slow and heavy and I stopped taking them.
In this time I’d developed an interest in buying and selling antiques so that became something that kept me going.
Long story short. My husband became rude and abusive after my stroke and kept saying that he didn’t believe me and I wasn’t trying hard enough.
When I’d recovered more I left the marriage and moved into our holiday home in Cornwall. I had to or else I felt I wouldn’t have survived. I’m into my third year. It’s been hard in all respects, I struggle every day and am grateful to the friends that I have although I’m afraid of what may happen if I can’t cope. It doesn’t sound it but I am a cheerful friendly person and manage my anxiety and depression. I’m on amicable terms with my husband because I don’t live with him.
It’s been hard at times but the main thing now is loneliness. I moved here knowing no one and have struggled with the aftereffects of the stroke and mobility issues but I can drive a car and have made a small amount of headway. This is a story in the making

6 Likes

@Rosamund welcome to the forum although sorry you’ve had a stroke.

Sounds like you’ve had it tough for a while but good on you for making the break that you needed. It is very difficult for people to understand what we go through & how we feel when they haven’t been through it themselves. My husband stepped up after my stroke but I know not everyone is the same.

The stroke association have some online activities that you could join if you’re feeling lonely. You can find out more

They also have a here for you service. You can find out more here

There are also local support groups. Details can be found here.

Wishing you all the best.

Ann

1 Like

Hi and welcome to our forum. So sorry to hear of your stroke and that you are having such a tough time. I think you are amazing and very brave for moving away to Cornwall. Unfortunately not many people understand what we go through following a stroke, as many after effects are unseen and people struggle to see improvement physically. I think a high percentage of marriages don’t survive after a stroke. I have read on a number of occasions that couples have gone there separate ways, which is so sad but it’s so tough for families and stroke survivors. I have always found a stroke survivors support group to be very helpful and informative and have met some lovely people who truly understand what you are going through. Maybe there is a group in your area.

As time goes on and once you have settled into your new life, I’m sure you will be glad that you made the move and will enjoy life in your new community.

I wish you well and hope you are feeling brighter soon. Keep posting and I look forward to hearing all about your new adventure.
Regards Sue

1 Like

Thanks so much. I’ve never felt so alone and people don’t realise how devastating a stroke can be psychological y as well as the hidden physical effects. I am determined not to talk about it to the exclusion of everything else. It’s boring for people if they haven’t experienced it.
I’ve even had a new man friend but that is hampered by my difficulties which have led him to decide he wants somebody who can do more.
As you can imagine that was awful but I gave up trying to explain.
Having friendships affected makes this a very cruel illness.

1 Like

Thank you for your kind thoughts. Sometimes it feels like losing everything and I’ve been numb. I do count my blessings as much as possible. I’m always hoping that I’ll come out of the tunnel and not get beaten down. It seems t just can’t get worse! This forum is allowing me to be honest about the pain and grief of my broken marriage and the challenges of the stroke. I can say it’s better to deal with it alone with my big furry cat.

3 Likes

Hi @Rosamund and welcome to the forum, this is a great place for support and understanding as we are all in the same boat.

Considering what you have gone through with the stroke, family upheaval, leaving husband and moving to Cornwall and start live and relationships anew. You are truly an amazing woman. You have a strength and courage inside you that you don’t realise.

@Mrs5K has given you some useful support to contact and you should definitely try the Support in your area, hopefully you will find a social stroke groups near you.
Another one to try is Age UK, a sample of their social groups include can be


image
As you can see there are lots of different ways for you to meet and make new friends. I go to a Strength & Balance class run by my local AgeUK. They actually do 2 classes now, one for the more able bodied and one for for those less able who may have knee issues like yourself or arthritic or whatever and they tend to be more chair based exercise or a combination for those who can stand.

In fact, I’ve just looked it up for Cornwall and here’s the link for your area.

As you say, you are a cheerful friendly person and that’s a valuable asset to have. People need people like you, just as much as you need them! So don’t waste that asset being alone and lonely, get out there and share it :smile::people_hugging:

1 Like

Hello @Rosamund
I’ll add my welcome to that given from other folk although I think we ‘met’ on an earlier contribution of yours .

As others have said this is a good place for support. You can rant, celebrate, ask questions, record progress, compare notes, and help others.

There’s a huge range of organisations and groups that offer for help.
if you’re here then you have the means and savvy to search the internet for more. At least in the stroke related field there’s a fairly consolidated list in this post although it’s not exhaustive.

Indeed the posts on here have pretty much covered most topics from most angles. The magnifying glass at the top is a useful entry point for finding topics that touch you.
The ‘categories’ give some broad brush help too but search maybe more pinpoint than broad brush.

One other thing to say Is that all aspects of life after stroke are helped by a positive attitude but you said you had :slight_smile: towards self and those around you - so just smile in the mirror to start the day and get those endorphins or whatever chemical moving around your brain. It might not help everyday but it’s good preparation for yourself and for meeting people.

On which note I’ll also add there’s a weekly zoom cafe on Thursdays run by Louise and I. Louise hosted yesterday at 10:30 BST & I host next Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The link is https://bit.ly/StrokeThuCafes
It’s just a forum to chat in the same way that this is a place to post text. Everyone is welcome to join the meeting and say as much or as little as they want (well maybe not as much always! :slight_smile:
Bobbi also runs one thats weekly on Friday Saturday and Monday but you have to join the ZOG group to get the details

1 Like

Lonliness, and big life changes…You and I definitely have that in common. I am at two years now in a few weeks. Long enough to know most of the life changes were actually for the better even though they were unexpected and scary when they happened and for awhile after. A little dose of Duloxitine has been helpful for anxiety and depression, but does not stop the loneliness from creeping in. If I could drive or had transportation, I would be out with friends or joining a MeetUp, taking classes at the local library, or paying for a YMCA membership and hanging out in the pool. You will find plenty of people who move at your speed, either because it is theirs as well, or they have the patience to be a good friend. Best wishes.

2 Likes

Hey!
You’re not alone. My husband has just left me too, I’m having to stay with friends. I have no idea what to do at the moment.

2 Likes

@Louise_W what i would say is take time to process what has happened, deal with the emotions etc. You don’t need to rush into making any decisions. Take stock and then think about how you move forward. One day at a time…things will become clearer in time.

3 Likes

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is frightening trying to figure how to work things out on your own as well as disheartening to say the least for someone who should be your partner in all things, jumping away when we need them most. I also lost my boyfriend of 8 years while in hospital. He neglected to tell me, just ghosted. It ended up being a blessing in disguise. I hope that is what you will find as well. I am trying to continue to pay the bills on half the income I had while working. I am blessed to be able to have done it this long (2 years) but I am now at the point I will have to consider using retirement money (which is not substantial) or begging for gifts from family and friends. I have faith that it will work out, just not sure how right at the moment. I am just a couple thousand dollars a year short, but can’t think of anything to cut back further. It does work out, just not always the way we planned it, or forsaw it. Hang in there.

2 Likes

Thank you. I’m so sorry to hear about your boyfriend, oh my goodness. Maybe it’s like what you said, a blessing in disguise. I’m glad you’re able to work but the bills must be tough. Funnily enough, I’m looking for somewhere to live, are you renting a room?

1 Like

I am unable to work or I would be okay with money. I have a home I am still paying for. At least for now. I live in the US or I would offer you a room. So many of us these days live in multi generational homes or with roommates due to economic issues. My daughter and grandson live with me. The other daughter has just moved out but stays here often. It is nice to have the company when they aren’t hiding in their own spaces, doing their own thing. Grandie keeps me company most. I hope you have special people in your life to share time with. So many of us don’t thanks to spending our lives in the workplace, away from friends and family.

2 Likes

I’m not working at the moment either. The last 3 years have been lonely. I moved in December 2019. After my stroke in July 2020 , then went through all my cancer up until July 2021, I don’t have any friends. I’m back in the UK now and I’m staying with a friend but it’s hard to go back to being normal now after 3 years of staying home and only seeing my husband. I’m so self-conscious now due to my aphasia. I have no idea how to make friends now

1 Like

Well the very best place to start that journey would be to join a Stroke or Aphasia group local to you. These groups are great for building your confidence back up help show you your way forward. I’m an introvert, I’m naturally quiet and I too have Aphasia. We were in lockdown when I had my stroke but I knew online and phone therapy wasn’t going to be enough for my speech, I needed real people. So the first thing I did when we came out of lockdown was check out what support was available in my area, using the link below and I’ve never looked back. I was fortunate to find an Aphasia group local to me and they are a good bunch of friends to me, both younger and older; maybe you could find one too if you check it below. You don’t need to feel alone and lonely, I’m sure all the support you need can be found if you take that first step :wink:

Go on, I dare you :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Good luck :smile:

3 Likes

I second this opinion. Even if you are shy, anxious, introverted, quiet, embarrassed. I believe you will find the only one judging is you. Just practice saying, “Hello, I am Louise” because likely, those are two things you will be saying a lot of.

I haven’t looked but assume there are also MeetUps in the UK or similar groups of people who get together for certain hobbies, or because they are in a certain age group, or singles, or couples…endless choices. I found those fun (BS) before stroke and have gone to a few since, just transportation issues in the way for now. Quite a few people I have met there over the years have had strokes, including aphasia or chair bound, etc, but still are welcomed and included. Even when the activity involves speaking or dancing. Friends, family, a good support system, activities you enjoy are so helpful.

1 Like

The beauty for you regarding stroke and aphasia groups is you just can’t feel self conscious about your aphasia because we are all more and less the same. One young lady in my aphasia group is about 28yrs old, she can talk stiltedly and like me struggles with her words; one older gentleman who can only say baa baa ba but he can even get his point across without the use of his tablet :smile: and another gentleman with a very bad stammer. Some come with their spouse/carer, others, like me, come alone. Same goes for the stroke groups, and even with mixed physical abilities. With some it’s hard to know they have anything wrong with them, then you discover they still come because they enjoy the company and the banter. So if a introvert like myself can do it, so can you :wink:

There also Age UK you can checkout online for anything in your locality. They are a mixed age group of over 50’s and some are younger than that depending on types of social/activities you go for. And they too are also of mixed abilities and won’t judge and can be very encouraging too.

So again, I dare you :wink: :people_hugging:

1 Like

It’s so reassuring to know that you understand, that everyone in the group understands. I really don’t know how I’ve only just found this group! Is there anything section for meet-ups and things? I’m not quite how to navigate the website. And I’ll have to double dare you now :wink::joy:!

3 Likes

I understand what you mean with transport. I’m a bit stuck at the moment, I don’t have a car. I haven’t driven since my stroke and I don’t know if I’d be too anxious.

2 Likes

Hi @Louise_W

There are very many in person stroke groups throughout the country. Those that are stroke association affiliated are listed here

also many independent groups and groups run by other organisations like Different Strokes, Chest heart and stroke Scotland, Age UK etc etc

The nearest to a My Stroke Guide group are a couple of online groups
Details of one are
See Thursday online 'cafe' (also Carers)
It’s a volunteer run & stroke association enabled group run by several of us

We have several regulars with varying degrees of aphasia and/or introversion and one of my local face-to-face groups has a lady with severe aphasia, I have very mild word finding difficulties. Everybody is very patient because they know that it takes a little time to say what you want to say but it’s very valuable to have the chance.
There are other services like Eva park run by city of London university Which is an online community designed for people with aphasia to meet in an environment where they can practise their needs to overcome speech and language challenges of varying sorts. I’m unsure of the joining details of the moment it used to be with a therapist as it was in research stage I think it’s moved on

The other zoom is the ZOG group Which you’ll find under groups in the menu at the top. It’s an independent zoom called run by @Bobbi

Different strokes run a community like this one on Facebook and they have fortnightly zoom meetings on varying days in it varying times. They divide up into little groups of four or five people with a host for about 45 minutes. They start an end with everybody in a room so the tends to be 20 plus people at the beginning and end .

There are also stroke forums on the number of different platforms if you want to know more I can explain but I don’t think they would give you anything extra over MSG and possibly different strokes.

I’m more than happy to help if you’re not sure about how to get online. For the Thursday zooms you only have to click the links in the post above and your phone laptop tablet etc will do the rest. Eva park is probably more complex but I’m happy to help there too .
If you want help message me or just reply here

Ciao Simon

1 Like