Stroke not only affects survivors but also throws relationships, families and friendships into problems. Therefore, life after stroke can become very difficult. If you cannot image the difficulties they have to encounter, this article will show you a bit.
How are close relationships affected?
Stroke can affect both you and your partner. You may have to deal with physical changes such as pain, muscles stiffness, headache, fatigue, or paralysis. You may be unable to complete daily tasks such as getting dressed, eating, or cleaning up. Thus, you may find it really uncomfortable to depend on your partner and feel less confident. Stroke may also damage some parts of your brain that control your emotions.
These changes can affect your intimate relationship.
After you have a stroke, there can be a change of roles in your relationship. Your partner may become the main carer of your family – the main financial provider, for instance. And your partner may also become the main carer for you. This takes time for you and your partner to adapt.
You may feel irritable because you cannot control your mood. And sometimes, it may be difficult to discuss the problems with your partner. Furthermore, you may feel rejected by your partner or that your partner should reject you.
Your sex drive may also be reduced due to fatigue, anxiety, pain, depression, muscle weakness and stiffness.
How do families feel the pressure of stroke?
Family members may not understand what you are suffering and how you are feeling. The roles in your family may change, too. Your family members may need to take up more work for the family: cook meals, earn money, take care of children, or do the cleaning up. You may feel like you are a burden because you cannot do things you used to do before stroke.
Your children also have to change their roles. They have to accept the fact that one of their parents have had a medical problem and both parents do not have much time to care for their needs. Because you cannot participate in some of their social activities, they may think what has happened to the family is their fault.
Adult children who have their own families may find it hard to take care of you, their spouses, and their children at the same time.
Friendships after stroke
Friendships, too, change after stroke. Your friends may feel uncomfortable or awkward when being with you. They may stay away from you because they do not know what to do. You may be unable to do some activities they used to do with you before (playing basketball, hanging out, or playing golf).
Some stroke survivors lose their friends due to loss of shared activities, physical problems, environmental barriers, changes in social network, or reduction of energy levels.
However, you should maintain your friendships. Even though friend support is different from family’s, both of them are helpful during your recovery.
Stroke can put pressure on the patients in terms of their relationships, families and even their friendships. Knowing potential problems and difficulties can give you a better understanding of the negative effects of stroke, and therefore, help you realize the importance of stroke prevention and prepare what to do if a person you know has a stroke.
Review Date: May 26, 2017 | Last Modified: May 26, 2017
Feeling overwhelmed – The emotional impact of stroke. https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/feeling_overwhelmed_final_web_0.pdf. Accessed May 19, 2017.
Relationships and sex after stroke. https://www.chss.org.uk/documents/2014/05/sex-after-stroke-illness-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 19, 2017.
RELATIONSHIPS; FAMILIES AS VICTIMS OF STROKE. http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/09/style/relationships-families-as-victims-of-stroke.html. Accessed May 19, 2017.