Loss of Identity

I haven’t posted in a while so here’s an update:

My stroke anniversary was back on August 31 which marks 5 years since my accident. I’ve worked so hard to get my life back. I’ve done hours of formal therapy in addition to thousands of hours of self-therapy.

In the beginning of my stroke, I believed that if I worked hard enough that I would get my life back. I had a calendar that I would mark off until I got to go back to work. I worked harder than most people in my rehabs.

Working hard is my personality. People don’t like me because of it. I never gave up even if it meant fighting for more therapy or finding a different route to get better.

Loss is a word that would describe my life these past 5 years. I feel like my husband and I can’t catch a break.

We just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary but we’ve been together since I was 16 years old.  I read that 48% to 78% of spouses leave after a brain injury occurs: https://www.michiganautolaw.com/blog/2016/03/02/traumatic-brain-injury-divorce/

I lost my job, financial stability, friends, and source of identity. However, I’ve met some new people and found a different form of purpose: volunteering to help out the community.  I’m still attending BIND (brain injury network of Dallas) and I’m grateful for it. It gives me a chance to socialize with others and find purpose. It has also increased my confidence. Occasionally, I speak to other survivors to tell my story and give others hope.

It’s hard losing your identity. When I was a kid, my dad worked all the time to provide for us. Things have never been easy for me. I was a first-generation college graduate.  I worked so hard in college to have a bright future.  I worked part-time, dealt with my parent’s divorce, and maintained a 4.0 GPA. There would be nights where I didn’t sleep because I was studying for exams or doing homework. All that work seems to be wasted now…

Every stroke survivor’s story is unique. Some people will have physical deficits, aphasia, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, etc. I’m lucky that I didn’t have much chronic pain or physical deficits; however, aphasia is rough too. Some studies suggest that having aphasia results in the lowest form of quality of life: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3869916/

Below, you will find a link to a video that another stroke survivor is making about the loss of identity:

My name is Maggie and I’m a stroke survivor and filmmaker. I had a massive stroke at age 33, leaving me disabled. I’m hoping to do something good with my shattered life.

I wanted to tell you about this documentary film project of mine. Please check out this two-minute teaser. I’m trying to convey to people what my life is like with pain/disability/a shattered sense of identity.

It’s a documentary film on stroke, disability, loss, resilience, and the healing power of art. It’s for stroke survivors, and people who struggle with chronic illness or chronic pain.