A Hard Time Adjusting

Hey everyone! I'm new to the site, although I've been lurking around for quite some time. When my AVM was first diagnosed in December 2012, I came to here for emotional support and additional information on the disease - I wanted to see how people were coping with it. The placement of my AVM is in the right thalamus of my brain; because of the location, it was inoperable I ended up having Stereo-tactic Radiosurgery in February.

Let me tell you, it's been a rocky road since my bleed and subsequent stroke. It shook me. I've never been so scared in my life. I was out of work for about 3 months and just recently returned. There are days I just don't think I can do this -- it's difficult to stay up, stay alert and stay focused.

My family has been phenomenal and my co-workers have been great, but at the end of the day, they don't have to live with this right now. Externally, I look fine. You wouldn't know I had a stroke unless I told you. Internally, it's an ongoing battle.

Sometimes it's the small things that can be aggravating - I've always been a restless person, but now I have to slow down and think about things twice as hard. It's not necessarily bad, just annoying. The way I process information is slightly different than before - it makes me super insecure. I feel incompetent. I'm 25 years old with a lot of life and career aspirations. I'm not confident about my capabilities.

On the plus side...

During my time on disability, I began to read in-depth about metaphysics, philosophy etc. I wanted to take sort of a natural-holistic approach to my (day-to-day) recovery. I started mediating, cooking & eating more healthy, I quit smoking (my God that was hard!) I participate in Yoga, at the advice of my Radio-Oncologist, I've gotten a therapist & started creating goals -- things that I want to accomplish monthly. They are small enough to where I'm not putting a ton of pressure on myself, but big enough where I feel good once they have been completed, (joining avmsurvivors.org was one of them!). It's working okay so far, but it's difficult to keep up sometimes.

The biggest problem is I'll be super stoked and ready to conquer the world for a week then suddenly, I will slump into a deep depression. It's horrible. I don't want to do anything or talk to anyone, everything pisses me off, I'll start thinking about my destructive past and feel sorry for myself -- I'm never consistent with my emotions which really isn't good for my AVM. Any words of encouragement?

First, welcome. I'm so glad you decided to join us. It sounds like you are doing a lot of really great things right now. Congrats on quitting smoking. That must have been incredibly difficult. I do a little yoga myself and I find it wonderfully therapeutic.

I understand the ups and downs you've been feeling. I think a lot of us have periods of depression. I would be surprised if someone who has been through what we have didn't feel depressed at least once. The important thing is that the good days outweigh the bad.

If the bad days start to turn in to bad weeks you may need a little help. I find this site a great place to vent and know that someone will understand. There is always someone willing to offer up helpful advice or a kind word.

I encourage you to talk to your therapist about this as well. Face to face interaction can be very helpful. Just talking to them could help a lot.

I went through depression a couple of years ago, about a year after I got out of the hospital. I had a therapist and she hepled. I also took an anti-depressant. That helped me a lot. I took them for about a year and then I felt I didn't need them anymore so I stopped. I am much more able to handle the low times when they come now and I don't think I'll need the medicine any more.

It may be worth it for you to ask about your doctor about an anti-depressant. I understand if you are dead set against them. I was too but sometimes you just need a little extra help.

I can give a pep talk too. You are awesome! You survived something that many people do not. You are one of a very small percentage of people that have an AVM, that makes you incredibly special! Give yourself a lot of credit because you are a ROCK STAR!

Hi Tavia421. Give yourself some credit…you are not even 6 months out from all of this mess. Look at the amazing steps you have taken already. Depression is very common on here. It sounds like a smart move getting a therapist. Please keep us posted!

Thanks ladies! I really appreciate it. I think I just jumped back into things really fast. I need to bring it down a notch and *whoo-sah*