Words of encouragement?

My son is aged 51 and has suffered a major stroke and has completely lost the use of his left side and is very angry and depressed with the world.

I haven't got the vocabulary to encourage him not to give up but has anybody else ever had the right words said to them?

Welly, so sorry to hear of his stroke. You do not say when this occurred so it is difficult to know what to say. Stroke has a huge impact on the emotions and all of us go through the angry stage and anger never goes away entirely. Anger is a natural reaction because the change in our lives is physical as well as emotional. So I would not try to console him, but let him get this anger out of his system.

Quite early on, I ‘accepted’ my stroke and was told this was an important factor in recovery. Then the hard work began and physio enabled me to get rid of a lot of anger. Like him, I lost the use of my left side. Then I was taught to stand, then walk with a frame and later, a stick. I now walk fairly well and can use my left arm quite well. Because stroke left me clumsy, anger remained, especially when I broke things or failed to do a task. Boy, oh, boy I can now swear like a trooper at times, but I can also calm myself down.

Everything in the early stages of recovery is very hard and my walking was so slow. Three years on I am much better and still have a decent quality of life. I can cook, bake and go on short breaks. I am not the person I was, but I am alive, functioning and more appreciative of what I have. 

I feel I have rambled on a bit. I am 75 now and your son is much younger. Wish him all the best from me and tell him my story. I also learnt to laugh at myself too and that helps me carry on. My only bugbear is post stroke fatigue, which hits most of us at some stage. I don’t fight, but rest. I wish you all the best as well. No one wants to see a loved one lose any form of ability and his anger is clearly hard to cope with. So good luck to you as well.

Hi Welly, I hope that a stroke survivor may be able to give you an answer, as they will all have their own personal insights about the comments of their friends and family.  

As the wife of a stroke survivor, I think the biggest thing was the shock of being told my husband had suffered a stroke.  All I could do was try to reassure him that he would be ok and that I was there for him.  You will need to acknowledge his anger and sadness at the situation, it is a normal reaction for most following a stroke.  He will need time to process all of this, and he will probably benefit from counselling offered by a stroke specialist, to support him and to help him find his way forward.  The good news is, that he will make progress, his brain will need plenty of rest whilst it heals and re-wires itself.

I found this website to be a wonderful support - it has plenty of first hand accounts from stroke survivors and family members, they will share their stories, offer advice and support as often as you need it.  

Take each day as it comes, give yourselves time to rest this is the best thing you can do in the early days.  Don't give up on the weak left side, given time and exercise there is a good chance that he will notice his body getting stronger, and small improvements will happen to give you encouragement.

Let us know how you get on, best wishes, xx  

Hi Welly48. So sorry to hear of your son's stroke.  My stroke also affected my left side - arm, core and leg.  If this was a recent stroke, your son will inevitably go through all the emotions involved as his brain tries to heal itself.  I was very bitter and angry for months especially as I was a very healthy person prior to stroke. My anger was usually directed at people who were smokers, drinkers, and larger than I was . In hospital when I saw very large nurses walking around my ward lecturing patients about healthy eating it really angered me as they were doing this whilst eating sweets on the go and smelling badly of nicotine.  Sorry to sound bitchy but this is how you feel when it first happens.

If you imagine a desk full of paper files, when your brain has a stroke, all those paper files are thrown in the air and fall on the floor - it takes some sorting out!  This is how your brain feels.  Eventually though, these feelings subside and acceptance settles in.  There is life after stroke so let him slowly go through the process and he will come through the other end.  Hope that helps.  

The paper files analogy is spot on - I'll definitely remember that one, thanks Onwards & Upwards ?

Hope you're ok today and things are going in the right direction for you xx

Not sure this is what you want to hear, but an acquaintance spoke to me and he said, have you got goals to achieve, I said yes. He then pointed out that a third party (polite way of avoiding direct words to me) was asked "so how are you going to achieve those goals ?"

That sunk in with me. No one else can get your sons recovery. He has to do it himself.

Depression can be eased by simply smiling several times a day. Might sound trite, but try it and see.

I am lucky in that I dont get anger as a major issue. Whether this is because its just the variation of the stroke or is it because I know its down to me to effect recovery ? 

Best wishes Welly. Look after yourself so that you are there to help your son whenhe wants to get recovery.



Thanks - don't want to hijack this thread but have to go for MRI scan in March so I'll let you know how I go on. x

Will keep my eyes open for your post, best of luck xx

Me, too. Good luck. V&J 

Sometimes it’s hard to take words of encouragement when anger takes over but an very honest and blunt speaking OT said to me you don’t know how you feel today you will feel tomorrow just because you can’t walk today doesn’t mean you won’t in a week I’m now 6 months post stroke I lost left hand side which I have re gained slight pins and needles and I’ve lost the sight in the left hand side of both eyes I’m 32 and the first week after my stroke I honestly thought my life was over I’ve now returned to work and slowly building up my walking regularly and hoping to get back behind the wheel on the near future 

Dear KatieMac,


May I ask, please, was your arm completely paralised and are you starting to regain movement or feeling? I am asking, because my husband had a stroke 1 month ago, and the doctors said he would not regain arm movement. I do realise each person's recovery is different though, nevertheless, your situation could give me some hope. 

I am exactly one year on from my stroke there is still no feeling  in my left arm hand or leg but I am mostly up beat about it its something I cant change or do anything about so I ve learned (gradually )to accept and just get on with my life now. I have an amazing team of carers who look after me and keep me sane so what more can I ask for?

Your Life is not over,and you are in charge of it, so choose how you live it irrespective of your limitations remember no one's life is 100%. 

I dont have any feeling at all in my arm hand or leg on the left side and I am one year on from my stroke but I am optomistic for some level of recovery in the future. I do wish you and your husband all the best for the future with his recovery. Stay positive both of you it really helps 

Hi My name is Richard. I had a stroke in April 2017 and lost the use on my left arm and leg, no pain but with the help of my OT I have most of this back, also I am now driving again, after an assesment (which took 2 hours one hour for my condenuity, and about an hour driving). I also had the anger thing,but this is all part of the stroke, emotions do get affected, My local stroke assocaition group has been a great help, I now understand what has happend to me and others like me, I allso had hydrotheropy to help me with balance and better movment in my arm. Good luck ,and there is help out there.                            

I have never been one to accept someone saying I have done something well or i looked ok but when the yoga instructor said I looked very well as he hadn't seen me for a few months I felt really good and felt that was a boost to my self esteem and recovery. Being back at work helps as life is getting back to normality which is important and its important to move on rather than looking back. I can't change what happened. I can only go forward. I'm not saying it is always easy but I have a great supportine network of family, friends and other people such as you guys out there.


You cant do anything much about old age :I'm heading for ninety and there's not much your body can do then.

But your mind might be capable. Think of all that experience and knowledge of life that is in your data banks. I think those a little younger need to be reminded of what happened since, say, 1940.  What a time you have lived through. 

best wishes