A-Z

TIA and Minor Stroke

Emotions and feelings after a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

When people were describing the moment when they had their minor stroke or TIA many recalled feelings of shock, fear and panic that stemmed from not knowing what was wrong and whether they would recover. Many people did not recognise the symptoms they were experiencing and so were unable to work out what was happening to them (see ‘Delay in seeking help’). During the episode many people experienced feelings of disconnection, disorientation and confusion which could make it very difficult to be able to think rationally.
 

Yvonne said during the episode she wasn’t able to think clearly enough to realise she needed to...

Yvonne said during the episode she wasn’t able to think clearly enough to realise she needed to...

Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 54
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I, you know, there was no mirrors, I wasn’t looking at anything and I, and I was just, and I guess my brain wasn’t really working properly. I was, kind of not following through on things, you know.
 
Thinking, “Yeah, I do feel really strange but, hey I’ll be OK in a minute.” You know, it’s that sort of that sort of feeling.

 

Most people found it a frightening experience as it came out of the blue without warning, and particularly the thought that they might not recover fully and may be left with disabilities such as not being able to speak or communicate properly in the future. Some people could not remember a great deal about how they felt during the event itself. Ann talked about how strange she felt overall, but said her memory about it all is extremely vague.
 

Adrian was very scared whilst he was having his TIA “I can’t emphasise how scary it was”.

Adrian was very scared whilst he was having his TIA “I can’t emphasise how scary it was”.

Age at interview: 53
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 53
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It was the most scary thing ever. Its, and I’ve had a heart attack and that scared me, but nowhere near as much as this TIA did. Because I really did think that was it, that I was going to lose my voice, my arm, all sorts. And it really was frightening to think that I could be left that way. And nobody was more relieved than me when the symptoms subsided and I began to function again. Because it really is a scary place to be.
 
It really is odd, because you don’t feel ill. You expect to feel something, but I felt absolutely nothing. I had no idea it was happening. One minute I was there. The next minute I wasn’t. It’s really is, I can’t emphasize how scary it was.

 

 

John found it very disturbing to lose the ability to speak for a short while as in his job he has...

John found it very disturbing to lose the ability to speak for a short while as in his job he has...

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 58
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Losing the ability to speak for me was serious. I earn my living by speaking. And the extraordinary event of knowing exactly what I wanted to say and not being able to vocalise was really, really disturbing. The next day the incident of not being able to know where I was in a car, where was I in three-dimensional space, that was very frightening. So, yes, those two things put together. The flashing lights, the visual disturbance, well, that’s odd but, okay, nothing, nothing frightening. But the inability to speak and the, the unawareness of, “Where am I?” was very, very disturbing.

 

 

Keith felt frightened because he recognised that his symptoms were similar to what he had seen in...

Keith felt frightened because he recognised that his symptoms were similar to what he had seen in...

Age at interview: 58
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 58
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When I, when I stood up here I, as I say I felt distant from it but I suppose I, I was I was frightened I should think, I, I, there was fear, there was yes, it was a definite fear and a, perhaps a real anxiety, a real concern I knew what was happening though, I knew that that’s what it was, I knew it was some sort of stroke, because I knew the signs and, and we’d followed the television advertisements and, and followed the raising of the arms and all the other things and, but I knew just what it was. But it, there was a definite fear within me, yeah.

 

 

Ros said that not knowing what is happening to you makes it feel very scary

Ros said that not knowing what is happening to you makes it feel very scary

Age at interview: 69
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 69
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You don’t know what’s happening when it happens. You, you don’t, you know, when I collapsed, OK I was ill but the first time, it was my brain, there’s something happening to your brain and you can’t explain it and you don’t, you’ve never experienced it before so it’s scary I would say.
 
To people that have not experienced a stroke or a mini-stroke it’s quite scary and you probably don’t know what, what’s happening to you. It’s unfamiliar.
 
If you’ve got a cold you know you’ve got a cold. Or if you’ve got a headache or if you’ve got arthritis you know what it is. But with, with a mini-stroke something’s happened to your brain and you don’t know what it is and it is very scary. I would say it’s very scary.

 

C
lare said that the way other people responded to her when she was taken ill made her feel very upset and worried and Anne felt very emotional when she talked about the way friends and family had reacted to her illness.
 

Clare said everyone was staring at her when she was taken ill and it was their reactions which...

Clare said everyone was staring at her when she was taken ill and it was their reactions which...

Age at interview: 50
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 48
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Of course outwardly I didn’t know what I looked like. But apparently my face had dropped and I was paralysed on my left side.
 
But inwardly I just thought, “What is every, what are they staring at?” They frightened me the most.
 
So you felt disconnected from what was going on?
 
Absolutely. That was the out of body experience, yeah. Very disconnected.
 
But it was frightening as well because their reactions were frightening me. Yeah, definitely.
 
And how long did it take to, for you to get, to be able to communicate back again?
 
I was able to say when they want, you know, when they said to me, “Do you want a drink?” I was able to say you know, “It’s a bit early for that.” And that was minutes after the stroke. But I think I was so sort of like almost fight or flight, that’s when the adrenalin had kicked in, because I was frightened now. But mainly by their reactions than what was going on for me.
 
You know, I think that can be, you see people’s faces and, “Stop dong that Clare, you’re frightening me.” Well that was one of the worst things anyone could have said because it was doing what, I couldn’t say to her, “Doing what?”

 

A few people said that they weren’t unduly affected by what had happened and that they don’t think about it too much.
 

Vernon says he takes life as it comes and wasn’t too worried by it

Vernon says he takes life as it comes and wasn’t too worried by it

Age at interview: 94
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 92
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And how has it affected you now, looking back? Is it something that you’re constantly aware of at the back of your mind or?
 
No.
 
No. Did it cause you any kind of moments of fear at the time? Were you worried about what was going to happen?
 
No, I don’t think so [laughs].
 
[laughs] Are you someone who doesn’t worry particularly about your health anyway?
 
No, I’ve just taken it as it comes.

 

 

Brian saw it as an interesting experience and is able to see some humour in what happened to him

Brian saw it as an interesting experience and is able to see some humour in what happened to him

Age at interview: 85
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 84
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Well I haven’t forgotten the time but I don’t view it with any dread. And indeed in many respects I thought it was very funny. I did then and telling you now I can’t help laughing for, to think what gobbledygook I was talking. Now what on earth was it? Enter your name and address. Bluhh, bluhh, bluhhh, bluhhh. I apparently live at [participants address but jumbled up]. And then, and then I try and collect it and I’m at Old Adabrays, [address] I mean, I…
 
So it’s very jumbled?
 
I was crackers. Come on [laughs].
 
I wonder how much it owes to the personality of the person suffering and perhaps I’m, I seem to be treating it rather frivolously. I think so, because it does seem to me it was an interesting event. Quite funny to be strapped into the ambulance and suddenly find you’re talking English again. So you don’t worry about it. There’s, there’s no good it’s something that happens. Think of all the things that have happened in your life. You know, I’ve been married twice, Christ that was much worse actually

 

 

While they seemed dramatic at the time Dennis's symptoms disappeared so quickly he didn't even...

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While they seemed dramatic at the time Dennis's symptoms disappeared so quickly he didn't even...

Age at interview: 83
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 82
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Although that seemed dramatic at the time, because it was just a new sensation. I’ve always been very active, energetic, and still am, mercifully. Suddenly to be immobilised in that way was a very odd experience. Mm.
 
Okay. So I mean that, that’s interesting that perhaps you did find it quite dramatic, but you still didn’t make, put two and two together and go?
 
It didn’t worry me, and the fact that I didn’t tell my wife sort of suggested that not only did I not want to worry her, I didn’t, it didn’t worry me all that much.
 
I thought, “Well, if I’ve bounced back that quickly it couldn’t be too bad.”

A number of people described their feelings about the event as being a ‘wake up call’, that it had given them an opportunity to adjust their lifestyle and that in some ways this made it a fortunate experience.
 

Martyn says having a TIA was a ‘useful experience’ because he now knows how to avoid anything...

Martyn says having a TIA was a ‘useful experience’ because he now knows how to avoid anything...

Age at interview: 64
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 57
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No, I don’t, no. I, no I get a, I nearly cried, not cried, watered, tears came to my eyes when we were talking about the, the two episodes seven or eight years ago because that was a, that, looking upon it, I was, it was a tearful experience from many points of view. It wasn’t, it wasn’t a happy experience but on the other hand it was, it could, we call it a useful experience because we now know what to avoid in the future.

 

One of the things that some people said was that it brought into sharp focus the reality of their own mortality, which could be frightening, but as Phillip (below) said, we tend to be in a state of denial about such things.
 

Phillip realised a short while afterwards that the risks after a TIA are high, which could be a...

Phillip realised a short while afterwards that the risks after a TIA are high, which could be a...

Age at interview: 72
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 71
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You know, that is, this issue of mortality, it’s such a scary thing because it’s the thing we’re probably in greatest denial about. Because it’s not going to happen to us. And, you know, I mean this is a very odd thing, because I know it’s going to happen to me. And it, and I can’t really accept this fact, you know. I mean look, I’m 72 and I don’t really have a valid will, because it’s, “I don’t need a will. This isn’t going to happen to me.” And, you know, not - you do have moments of mortality. Somebody else is driving the car and you look up and you realise that they’re in the wrong lane and there’s a truck coming at you, right? And you get this impression that all the blood has drained out of you, right? And this is gone in a second, right? And you’re shaking and you’re completely weak, you’re just devastated by this sudden... I think that is a sudden realisation that mortality is really there, you know. It happened to me recently. I was on holiday in India and we spent a lot of time on the roads. And if you want to get close to traffic mortality, do it in India on the roads [laughs]. And so, you know, and so suddenly I’m thinking about this kind of thing. You know, one tries not to think about it. That’s the essence of denial, if you don’t think about the consequences, and so you’re in denial. I don’t get a will. I’m in denial. I’m not going to die. I can’t face dying. I can’t understand dying. I don’t know how to handle dying. I mean, I just don’t want it to happen. There’s nothing I want to happen less. So I – bah. And suddenly somebody said to you, “You’ve just had a stroke.” I mean, people die of strokes. They really do. And so suddenly you’re standing there thinking, “Gee, I’ve just had this event, and they’re worried about a recurrence. And the likelihood of a recurrence is really high in the first 24 hours. I’ve discovered this. It’s about 3 o’clock in the afternoon now. I’m sitting on the bus on the way out there, I’m thinking to myself, “What happened?” Yeah, it’s a peculiar, it’s, I think it could be really terrifying. But I’m in such, such successful denial that it doesn’t really frighten me.

 

 

John feels fortunate to have had this ‘wake up call’ because it means he has been able to do...

John feels fortunate to have had this ‘wake up call’ because it means he has been able to do...

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 58
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I may say, this incident was the first time that I was faced with my own mortality. And I know that’s rather a clichéd phrase, but it’s true. I hadn’t - we all think about, okay, there will be an end - but this was an indicator that the end is there. It’s, it’s finite. You only have a particular span on the planet. And it was a tremendous wake-up call. Most of our destiny is in our own hands, and my destiny is in my hands in terms of getting fitter and keeping an eye on blood pressure. [coughs - excuse me]. So my fortune was that my TIA was a minor incident, but a very clear signal. If it had been the reverse, like a major incident, then I wouldn’t have recognised the signal because I would have been struggling. So I’m in this fortunate position of having a tremendous wake-up call, and it’s up to me to do something about it, with the help of all the medical professionals around.. So I’m in this fortunate position of having a tremendous wake-up call, and it’s up to me to do something about it, with the help of all the medical professionals around.

 

Getting ‘back to normal’ after having had a TIA or minor stroke could be difficult and took some time for many people. Ken described feeling ‘in limbo’ as he waited for the results of tests and was uncertain for instance whether he should stop working on his allotment. Feelings of fatigue and tiredness could last for some while afterwards which could make life more difficult to cope with. Some people said that they felt lacking in confidence for some while afterwards, and some were nervous about being left alone or going out alone. Some people also worried about whether or not they should continue with normal everyday activities, or how it might affect their job or relationships.
 

George feels anxious about going out alone because he knows that a TIA can occur without any...

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George feels anxious about going out alone because he knows that a TIA can occur without any...

Age at interview: 77
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 71
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My confidence is gone. That’s one of the worst things. If for instance, how can I say? If I was going to drive more than eighty miles, I feel I don’t want to do it by myself just in case anything happened to me. And that should never be. I don’t like going for a walk without taking a mobile with me. It’s on your mind all the time because I had no warning of either of my strokes whatsoever. No pain or anything, it just, it just happened. And believe me that is absolutely scary, really, really scary.

 

For some while John felt lacking in confidence because of the uncertainties that he faced

For some while John felt lacking in confidence because of the uncertainties that he faced

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 58
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The immediate aftermath of this incident was that I felt, I lost confidence. I have to speak for my job, for my living. So the, the actual incident itself of losing the ability to speak was frightening in itself. And then the thought you’ve had a stroke, albeit it’s very tiny, it’s still a stroke. And then faced with the thought that there is now a greater risk of a major incident, a major stroke, caused me to lose confidence. It made me consider the sort of things that I do, the remote locations I work in. Simple physical acts, “Should I climb a ladder to do some do-it-yourself?” “Should I be driving?” And of course I couldn’t drive for a month. That was a, actually a very large lifestyle change, if you’re used to just sitting in a car and going. And being completely dependent, living in this tiny village, being completely dependent on cars, not being able to drive for a month was a big impact. And that was, that caused me to think about what would happen if there was a large incident. What faculty would I lose? What abilities would disappear? So part of the wake-up is doing everything you can to avoid that. That, all that combined to a drop in confidence, which I’ve rebuilt, I think I’ve rebuilt most of it. Because I take my blood pressure three times a day and I take five pills a day, I’m reminded constantly something has happened. But confidence comes back in conversation with the professionals and with the medical professionals. It comes back in conversation with friends and acquaintances who’ve had similar things. It comes back because another day’s gone past and nothing has happened. It comes back because the blood pressure readings are consistently low. So it’s returning, I think my confidence has returned almost to normal, but a slight drop.

 

Many people said that afterwards they felt it had affected their emotional stability and that they found themselves becoming tearful or upset about things that previously they wouldn’t have worried about. Some people said they now felt that their personality had changed and they had difficulty in coming to terms with their ‘new self’.
 

Ros found herself worrying endlessly about the possibility of having another episode and...

Ros found herself worrying endlessly about the possibility of having another episode and...

Age at interview: 69
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 69
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The next day I was back to myself but very anxious and very concerned that , - that I was going to have another stroke. And that’s what really controlled me for about three or four weeks.
 
I was worried, I was concerned. I was worried but I got the night, I slept all right the next night and the next morning when I went to the doctor my hand was waving, I just couldn’t control my left hand or my arm at all.
 
But I could walk all right.
 
So what sort, what were your worries and concerns at that point would you say?
 
Well, afterwards, when I came back from the doctor and I was taking simvastatin I used to go to the supermarket, which is only two minutes away from here, in my head I was imagining in, having another stroke, all the time. Every day…
 
So you were worrying that it could happen again?
 
Yes. And it was just, it was, was persistent that feeling that I was going to have another stroke. And I’m now seeing someone to help me relax, to have breathing exercises.
 
From the medical team.
 
So it’s precipitated a lot of anxiety?
 
Absolutely. I mean, silly anxieties. Everything, I was anxious about everything. You know [laughs] Everything.
 
I do get stressed over silly things, I do.
 
I see that in myself. But it’s very difficult, if someone says, “Mum, why are you getting agitated, so, stay cool, stay cool.” And I get all edgy about every, every little thing. That’s …
 
Do you think that’s been overall just your general personality? Or is it since your …
 
Oh no, I, …
 
No?
 
I wasn’t this person years ago. I would do anything. I would take, well I wouldn’t climb up a mountain [laughs] I wouldn’t do that, but as far as other things, on my own I would go anywhere, I’d go all over the country, different, abroad on my own, on the aeroplane on my own. It wouldn’t worry me in the least.
 
No. I would do any, anything and everything.
 
So that change has been around about the time when you’ve these illnesses? Or …
 
Well maybe, maybe it was a slow build up but it’s become worse. I’ve become agitated and, you know and, I don’t know, it’s not nice. It’s not a nice feeling.

 

 

Rich feels the TIA has affected his emotions. Little things can make him cry or he will lose his...

Rich feels the TIA has affected his emotions. Little things can make him cry or he will lose his...

Age at interview: 66
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 62
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I think the, the worst side of having a stroke. I don’t, I don’t know - TIA is it does upset your emotions.
 
We’ve just, you’ve just seen it. And I get, and I think you know, my language is purely and simply a bit colourful it, as you said, it could very well be through frustration. I can’t get things done, things don’t go right and unfortunately I swear. As I said to, It’s much better than, I rather swear than [laughs] hit someone , which I’ve never…
 
There’s lots of worse things, isn’t there?
 
Well, there is ..
 
Than just words.
 
.. right, all right, yeah, but, yeah, but words can be unpleasant as well at the wrong time.
 
Yeah.
 
But that, well, you know, you, your, one of the things your emotions are, you’ve just seen it. But there was a, I shall start again, I got, there’s one song, I think it’s Take That, I think it’s Take That group, came out about the time and I think the it’s sung by Gary Barlow, if I’ve got the right group Give Me Time.
 
And that used to set me off.
 
Emma I heard it on, she said, “Can I have that CD for the car?” And she deleted that one. “I don’t want you to start crying when you’re driving.”
 
One of the things yeah, in actual fact it comes to mind, one of the things that never happened, I never actually sat and talked to anybody, you know, any therapist or anything like that, you know, “How do you feel, Richard?” You know, “What, what’s your problem?” “Well I, my emotions are shot to pieces.” You know. “The little things make me cry”. “My emotions come out. When I get angry and frustrated, I swear. I’m not that sort of person.”
 
So you haven’t really had the opportunity to have any help with that?
 
No.

 

A number of people felt depressed for some time after having a TIA. A few people spoke to their GP about how they were feeling and were given medication or offered counselling, but there were others who were not comfortable with the idea of taking anti-depressants and not everyone was offered help in the form of counselling. Sometimes people found help and support through other avenues such as support groups, internet forums or friends and family (see ‘Back home’ and ‘Relationships, friends and family).
 

Yvonne found antidepressants helped her to come to terms with the changes in her life

Yvonne found antidepressants helped her to come to terms with the changes in her life

Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 54
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I’ve had to take, start taking antidepressants.
 
Oh right.
 
Because I wasn’t coming to terms with it, to be fair.
 
Yeah. And do you feel that’s kind of helping or is it something that you want to resist?
 
Certainly, yeah, it seems to be. My, my mood seems to be more even now. I’m, I was in a deep trough bit basically.
 
Saying … I mean, in fact it, it’s changed me because when I, when it first happened to me I kept saying, “Why me? I’m really fit. I’ve never hurt anybody in my life, why me?” And now I say, “Well, why not me, why should it be somebody else.”

 

 

Phil felt depressed for some while afterwards but realised later that it was almost inevitable...

Phil felt depressed for some while afterwards but realised later that it was almost inevitable...

Age at interview: 72
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 71
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There was a time early on in this when in the morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I’d just lie in bed, and I just didn’t have the drive, I didn’t have the initiative to get out of bed. I would just lie there. I could lie there till 11 or 12 in the morning, just doing nothing. And of course this also drives depression, because I’m just lying in bed doing nothing. I thought, “This is so depressing. Get up.” “Oh, I can’t, oh” you know. And retirement is very bad for this because there is no real driver to do, to get up and go. And finally I just convinced myself. And morning, the morning comes, I swing my feet over the edge of the bed and I stare out the window and I get up, never mind, willy-nilly. And it works. It’s a mechanistic solution to this problem. I still have these black moments and black depressions. And maybe it’s the drugs and maybe it’s life and maybe it’s me[laughs].
 
Of course everybody seems to have a depression now. It’s kind of the fashion. But, so that was a point that it took me a while to realise. A lot of what I was feeling had nothing to do with anything but the fact that I was just simply recovering from having my neck cut open, the circulation to my brain shut down for a couple of hours, the whole thing cleaned out, the whole thing stitched back up together again, all of this trauma. You know, no wonder it takes you six or eight months to recover from that. You - I broke a couple of bones in my left foot recently. And it’s three months later and I, it’s still not fixed. And that’s a trivial injury. So, you know, six months after surgery is not much. Maybe one should try and avoid worrying. One should have less self-analysis, yeah.

 

 

David feels guilty that his wife has to care for him more since his TIA and he got very depressed...

David feels guilty that his wife has to care for him more since his TIA and he got very depressed...

Age at interview: 67
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 67
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I mean, sometimes I feel bad that Shirley does need to give me this care because I feel it impinges on her life and her lifestyle, but at the same time she says, “Well that what I’m here for. I’m your wife. I’m here to care for you and if the same thing happened… you would do the same.” And of course I would.
 
I do worry. I worry much more than I used to. I worry more than is good for me, but I don’t know how to stop that.
 
I, they did give me some antidepressants but they sent me into such a spin and such a horrible situation that I only took one [laughs]. I took, I took the one and that was enough.
 
What they just made you feel funny?
 
It made me, well, it was like … I mean, like I imagined you would feel if you take an overdose of cannabis or something. Things were, I mean I say imagine..literally. things were going in and out. I felt worse. And I, that was it.
 
Right.
 
I mean, I was told by the doctor, by the nurse, by the pharmacist, to be, not to be worried because they wouldn’t work for at least seven, maybe twelve, maybe fourteen days.
 
I took one and within an hour I was in a terrible state.
 
So you just, you didn’t bother with those after that?
 
I didn’t bother with any more.

 

Most people were able to get some perspective on things eventually and found ways to overcome their fears and anxieties.
 

Yvonne found it difficult to come to terms with but realised she needed to pull herself out of it...

Yvonne found it difficult to come to terms with but realised she needed to pull herself out of it...

Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 54
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Anyway, came home and, I mean, it’s had a massive impact because I think for the first few weeks you’re scared it’s going to happen again and you’re scared to go anywhere. I was scared to drive. I was, I was scared to go anywhere on my own. You know, unless my husband was there. When my husband went to work I was, sit here thinking, “Oh I, I’d better not do anything.” And then I thought, “Well, this is ridiculous, you know. You’ve got to get on with the rest of your life. I was still suffering a lot of tiredness. I’m still not back at work. But, hey, at least I’m alive.

 

 

Brian is philosophical about his illness and finds ways to distract himself from thinking about...

Brian is philosophical about his illness and finds ways to distract himself from thinking about...

Age at interview: 77
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 77
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I’m inclined to be perhaps a realist, thinking that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, as it were [laughs]. Everybody has different opinions and I feel, you know, that when my time comes and the good Lord beckons, that will be it.
 
It’s just one of those things, it’s no good worrying about. It just sort of hastens things if you worry unnecessarily.
 
I think this is one of the biggest problems that we have, people do worry, very much so, when that only sort of complicates matters, makes matters much worse than they really are. I know when I went in to have my heart operation there was another chap in the ward. We went in sort of the afternoon prior to the day we were having the op, and this chap he was in there and he was terrified. And although I wasn’t particularly happy I tried to cheer him up, [laughs] sort of put his mind at rest, to a degree. And I think it helped him a bit. It probably helped me, really, because it took my mind off of what I was thinking
 
So with the TIA, do you sort of try to forget about it most of the time?
 
Yes.
 
Or is it always at the back of your mind?
 
No, I try to push it right to the back. As I say I’m more inclined to be thinking about my neighbour and how she’s progressing. She does live on her own. Although she’s got sort of family, they’re dispersed all over the country and they can’t always sort of get to her. But I think the family know, you know, that we’re here for her as well, my wife and I. And that helps them a little as well. I hope, anyway.

 

 

Clare decided she wasn’t going to let things get her down and thinks that counselling would...

Clare decided she wasn’t going to let things get her down and thinks that counselling would...

Age at interview: 50
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 48
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You know, I just feel if it happens again there’s, you know, not an awful lot I can do about it really. So you can’t keep on worrying about it. I think you go through periods, when it first happened you question everything. You know, “Will I be safe doing this? Will I be safe doing that? Can I eat this? Can I eat that?” Until in the end I thought, “Oh, sod it.” You know.
 
I really wanted to. I wanted to write about my experience just to offload, just for myself.
 
On my computer. But I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it, I should say, not couldn’t. I wouldn’t do it because I couldn’t go through it anymore. It was too difficult.
 
Hmm, so you really wanted to try and put it to the back of your mind rather than keep …
 
Yeah.
 
… going over it?
 
I suppose so, which you know, there was only so much, I mean, it’s been over a year now, there was only so much you could keep going round and round and round and round and not really get any further with it, you know.
 
But I did want to sort of like write about it and how my, my actual emotions at the time which were raw. Why did it happen to me? There’s the anger. And of course being a counsellor I’m quite lucky in a way because obviously you’re dealing with emotions anyway and it sort of like, it’s, it’s, if you could see it as sort of like the same as a bereavement because it’s a loss.
 
And that’s, and so of course I know the sort of like the anger and then the eventual closure of it all. I don’t, and I wouldn’t know, I wouldn’t say I’ve got to closure yet.
 
Is counselling something that you think might benefit people if they’ve had that kind of experience?
 
Definitely, yeah.
 
Yeah?
 
Definitely. Yeah.
 
In the sense of just being able to kind of go through it with somebody and think about how they feel about?
 
Yeah, to, to offload and say, you know, to say the things that you wouldn’t normally say to other people, like, “This isn’t fair.”
 
 “Why me?” You know, you’ll always hear that, “Why me?” You know. Why not? It’ll make you a stronger person at the end of it, you know.
 
Because I do sort of think, “Well, I’m buggered if I’m going to let this beat me.”

 

Jennifer said that it can feel like a roller-coaster but even when you experience life’s ‘ups and downs’ you have to keep going and stay positive.

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Last reviewed June 2017.
Last updated August 2013
 
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