This Feels Familiar: Part 1 – Isolation

I’ve talked to multiple fellow stroke survivors recently who are expressing the same thoughts – pandemic isolation feels a lot like post-stroke isolation.

If there was a Stroke Club, every member would know the isolation that ensued. The isolation that went on for weeks, months, maybe years, and is possibly continuing. The isolation that’s part of living and has had a ripple effect through so many activities, tasks, and opportunities. Grocery shopping has changed from the outing it once was, getting together with friends and family isn’t as seamless, and employment may look very different for the foreseeable future.

This isolation we’re all currently going through, just went through, or going to go through, is familiar territory.  This doesn’t mean it’s easy. This doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. This means it feels familiar.

As an introvert, much my alone time post-stroke was just peachy, but it was the times that I wanted to go out and wasn’t able to, that were difficult. Something that once was simple, was now a challenge. Something that I was once able to do on my own, now needed assistance. Something that I once looked forward to, now often came with stress.

What I learned from the post-stroke isolation experience (and these lessons are what is valuable when familiar situations come up!) is to stay connected.  Staying connected through isolation is something worth putting time and energy into. Start a video chat, make phone calls, and send those messages. Connect with friends, family, and pets. Even plants enjoy conversation. If needed, ask for help to stay connected, that moment of reaching out could actually be the connection that someone else finds helpful in these times.

Stroke survivors, in this familiar time of isolation – I see you. Find a person, a pet, or a thing to connect with today ☀

– Ashley Voth

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