Brain Aneurysm Support Community

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It’s only been about 14 months, and in that time I’ve made a tremendous amount of progress with my recovery. I no longer walk with a cane, my double vision while not completely healed has corrected itself, and foods are beginning to taste as they had before. However, I’m finding the emotional recovery much more difficult to navigate. It’s hard to find the motivation to do things. Does the ability to make emotional connections return? How have you been able to adjust to your emotional recovery? I’m finding the things which used to give me motivation don’t have the same impact. Thank you for listening.

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Hey Stephen,
The emotional side of things can be REALLY difficult and it can depend on the size of the annie and where the annie is located. Also a person’s emotional reactions are very personalised for example my wife is very attached to her dogs, me not so much. Her emotional reaction to dogs is (to me anyways) extreme. Me, not so much, although I will admit since being with her I have become more aware, but I’m still nowhere near her emotional level when it comes to the mutts.
Post surgery I found all of my emotions were messed up, things that previously did not trigger any emotional reaction, now did and it took me quite some time to get some sort of emotional equilibrium back. I seemed to either over react or worse still, have a complete emotional disconnection. I found this very difficult as my previous employment was in a caring role where emotional context was important, but even today, 6yrs post surgery, I still have such issues.

And, for me it’s the same with motivation. I used to be highly motivated, now, I’m like ‘Blahh’ and often find myself in a hole. I try to keep myself occupied doing something, anything or my mind takes me to some damn awful places. An issue I have now is that when I do get motivated, I have to pace myself (Which I’m not good at) and then find I burn myself out. Finding that balance is not easy.
Hope it helps

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

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Stephen, congratulations of making so much progress in such a short period of time! I can totally relate to the lack of motivation and for me, paralysis, about some things I know I should be doing. I have come to understand that my belief that I had control over what happened to me were shattered by the sudden whack for the aneurysm. It’s hard to feel motivated when there’s the feeling that out of nowhere, I’ll be stopped by some other lightening strike. Sometimes, I have to just put one foot in front of the other and force myself to go through the task. “Fake it until you make it” applies to my motivation. I don’t think it is unusual for survivors to feel detached or disconnected from friends and family. It is isolating to have survived this trauma. No one can know what it’s like to have your brain briefly taken away and given back to you in different shape unless they’ve experienced it too. You have touched on a truth most survivors understand. It can be harder sometimes to find enjoyment in the usual little pleasures of life, or even experience the big positive emotions like joy and happiness. You might find it valuable to read about postraumatic stress disorder, which can happen after a sudden health trauma, as well as other traumas. Seeking depression counseling can be very helpful, especially since for me, understanding what I lost and learning how to move on from these feelings of isolation and powerlessness came together.

Stephen, For me it’s a whole new world of the way I process information. And it’s not easy. I recall watching a YouTube video in which a Navy Seal was doing the speech to some graduating class. I can try to find it if you’d like. Anyways, he talked about just doing one thing every day before your day starts - make your bed.

If you break things down to simple steps and do the first step, you’ve got most of the battle won. It’s the getting started, the overwhelming feelings or lack of any. Even when I had no affect, I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish, then I broke things down to baby steps.

Whatever you do, do not give up on yourself!

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I feel like i don’t react to things like I used to. Almost cold…
It really has me confused.

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Hi Stephen- what helps me with my lack of motivation (4 years post coiling) is crocheting blankets for my children . It makes me feel I am leaving them a “heirloom” and they are made special for each of them. Do you think doing something special for someone will help with motivation?
Unfortunately, this does not help with housekeeping, as no one seems to notice that. Good wishes to you.

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Thank you so much for getting back to me. It’s reassuring to know this is going to be part of the process and it will take time for me to adjust. I hope you are all doing well.

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I think you hit the nail on the head here with what a lot of us are feeling.

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