As the new year rolls around, people have resolutions. As a stroke survivor, the past four years have destroyed my confidence as the result of losing my job, social circle, and dealing with toxic people (doctors, employers, therapists, etc). Therefore, my resolution is rebuilding my confidence.
I stopped attending speech therapy 4 years post-stroke recently. It was a huge shift in my weekly routine. Change is hard. Let’s face it, most of us can’t attend therapy forever due to financial constraints.
Although I’m not attending therapy, I still find ways to challenge my brain. I don’t want to lose the work I’ve put into my recovery. I do BrainBuilder most days. BrainBuilder is a software program that my last speech therapist recommended. It’s expensive; however, I found this software very helpful for audiological processing issues. It adjusts your brain speed every few sessions to build up corresponding challenges. Your brain speed varies due to many factors (i.e. sleep, stress, etc).
When stroke survivors get released into the community with aphasia, the rehab will tell you to get out in the community to meet new people. That’s not easy. I’m shy and introverted. I don’t make friends easy. As a result, I experienced depression. I was released out into the community over three years ago but I still attended outpatient therapy for an hour a week until recently.
“Go volunteer” rehabs say…However, in my experience, finding volunteer work is not easy…
I found one volunteer position a year ago at a horse rescue near my house. I go there on Monday afternoons to feed 30ish horses. I’m giving back to the community and I get to play with horses.
I found the horse rescue volunteer position through google. So, if you are a stroke survivor, google “volunteer” and you should get some results. I tried to volunteer at a hospital, library, and hospice organizations with no success. These organizations already had enough volunteers. The horse rescue is the only volunteer position that has accepted me so far.
As mentioned in my last post, I started attending a brain injury clubhouse called BIND (Brain Injury Network of Dallas) two days a week. It has helped my confidence so far. I feel like I’m doing something productive. Today, I was made the communications lead. Everyone tells me that I’m doing a good job in this area.
I hope my experience gives you hope that you can still feel productive even after losing your job and identity. In the future, my goal is to find another job that will appreciate the productivity I bring to their organization. Little by little, I see some light in my tunnel…