Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ The Stages of Grief

Wait a minute Jo! I'm not dead, but survived a stroke. I hear you, but a devastating, life altering event such as a stroke has a grief or loss process similar to a death of a loved one. Once again this is an Amy inspired blog. She just blogs so prolifically that's hard not to reference back to her.

I've actually mentioned the stages of grief in various blogs but I don't think I've ever broken it down like this before. I do know that I charged $100 for grief counseling sessions that lasted twelve weeks in my ministry profession. This is a gimme course that is free so take advantage of it.

So over the next five weeks I'm going to explain to you the stages as it pertains to your stroke recovery. I will give real world examples of what I've gone through, coping skills, and exercises for you to do to gain a level of acceptance in conquering each step. After all, knowledge is power and control. It is something we as stroke survivors rarely feel until we work through the process. Understanding is the key. Think you've mastered it all? You've been a survivor for multiple years and this doesn't pertain to you, think again. I've met dozen of survivors still grappling with these after ten or twenty years post stroke. Am I through it all? Yes and no. I'm still bouncing around the steps taking victories where I can.

If it seems like I'm donning my ministerial hat, I am in a way. I'll be paraphrasing this to my pastor's blog as well because it is a whole spirit concept. I've spent years in grief counseling both as a grief stricken person and as a counselor. So needless to say, I recognized it in my own stroke recovery as well.

The Stages

And if you want to carry it farther into seven steps, you can.

Both apply in a case like a stroke. I usually combine Shock and Denial, and Bargaining and Guilt, the Upturn, Reconstruction with Acceptance. So my version is five steps while taking the seven into consideration. Now with death this process takes roughly a year to complete or maybe a little longer. With stroke recovery it may takes years! You may bounce between levels or be on multiple levels at the same time and you may gain acceptance in certain areas faster than others.

Why should stroke survivors care about this? The ultimate of ultimates of recovery is to be...
  •  the best you can be given the circumstances
  • a more proactive survivor
  • aware that this is going on and it's normal. Isn't it nice to be considered normal. <g>
  • forewarned is forearmed
Knowledge is power. Foresight is awesome. Being prepared is everything. Tune in next week for the first installment...Shock and Denial.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. If my medical staff had done anything at all useful I might have exited the anger stage a long time ago.

  2. Yes, Zan Marie it is.

    Dean the awful truth is medical staff are not trained in grief counseling on;y drug therapy. It takes a psychiatrist or minister to enter for curing the human spirit.

  3. Wonderful,wonderful! I have never heard of the "reconstruction" phase, but I've been there a long time. Thank you for your insight.

    BTW, I looked for a counselor for nearly a year. When I finally ran into a psychotherapist who had lost her husband the year before, I thought, "Bingo!" She's been perfect for me.

  4. Hi Jo .. I came on here yesterday and get bombed out by Chrome .. but eventually return ... the tricks of blogging!

    I was interested from another point of view .. well actually two -

    My mother, who was severely stroked - bedridden and fed via tube - but mentally fine .. however she could not cry, nor could she express sadness --- so I needed to watch when I was talking to her .. really why I never chatted about life - because she could not be emotional - even though I could see in her eyes she wanted to be ...

    From my point of view - it was adjusting to what my mother could and could not do ..

    That was never explained to me ... I worked it out and how to cope ...

    The thing that frustrated me, and showed in my mother's eyes, was that my brothers did not think about her ... they were visiting, but not adjusting to her situation .. and that was and is very difficult to deal with ... they would talk very quickly, not look her in the eye ... and let her join in the conversation ...

    Anyway - at least you know what's going on .. and learning the process of grief ...

    Thanks for highlighting it .. Hilary

  5. Thanks for the mention. :). You know I don't think I ever bargained. I've had a whole heck of a lot of the other stuff though, and still do. Especially anger.


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