If you can’t see my illness, does it not exist?

I guess I should just be happy with the fact that I am ALIVE!  I am a stroke survivor!   It’s only been 6 months since my stroke.  I managed to recover quite quickly (on the outside).  From looking at me, you would never know that my brain decided to play a wicked game on me.  For a period of time, my face was a constant reminder to people that something awful had happened to me.  With my eye stuck in an open position, my right side of my face swollen, and the right portion of my lips drooping  downward, unable to open to eat, drink or speak, I was treated with compassion and kindness by most of the people I knew.

Now that my appearance is back to normal, the fact that my brain no longer functions the way it once did, is just completely ignored by people around me.  I’m not sure why it bothers me so much that no one remembers that I went through a life changing event. I’m not looking for people to bow down and kiss my feet, or fan me with exotic feathery fans.  I’m wishing for a tiny bit of recognition of the fact that my brain is in a constant state of confusion.  Even though I have a strange, empty feeling in my mind, I still get up every day, drag my exhausted behind to work and do my job as efficiently as I did before.  I originally planned to merge back into my job at a slow pace, easing myself back into the chaos.   Unfortunately I realized on my first day back that my plan would be impossible.

No one recognizes the daily struggle that a stroke survivor faces.    Simple tasks are now complicated.  Numbers are puzzling and words are now so difficult to comprehend.  I find myself forgetting to turn my car off and only realizing it  upon returning after hours of shopping.  I’ve tried to explain this to the key people in my life who seem to take advantage of my responsible nature.  They just don’t get it.  Their response is to throw even more crap onto my list of responsibilities.  It’s quite overwhelming.

I’ve learned that everyone has a “position” in life.  Unfortunately mine has become the doormat.  I’ve allowed the people in my life to continually step on me to get where they need to go.  Is this fair? No!  Why do I allow it to continue?  I’m not quite sure.  I’d like to use this horrifying experience to make positive changes in my life.   I’m finally finding my voice.  Maybe I’ll use it to tell the oblivious people in my life to take off their blinders? If they don’t, maybe I’ll just put mine on!


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