Can Words Help you to achieved a faster brain recovery after stroke?

Before my life changed in feb 2012 I used to whinge all the time to my wife, about how difficult it was for me to run my property maintenance business from our home. What i didn’t realise was how more words were causing me to be stuck and how negative words can have an impact brain recovery after stroke

The following is an excerpt from a public speaking event that was help in St Kilda in 2016. It is A true story about how one man that changed his words and achieved amazing results recovering arm movement and supporting his brain recovery after stroke.

You see, we have a little home and we didn’t have enough space for me to set up a proper office, so not only did we not have enough space to set up a proper office you know my customers needed me there all the time, I couldn’t work on my business I had to work in the business. I couldn’t get my staff to do what I wanted then to do the way that I wanted them to do it, it was a real problem.

I was so caught up in this endless cycle of negative self talk that I didn’t have and other way to focus on anything else it was impossible. So in Feb 2012 I woke up one morning and realised that I was experiencing some side effects that meant that I had to go into hospital and get myself checked out. That was one day before the biggest job of now i’m going to let down my clients.

They’re not going to pay us we are not going to be able to deliver the job on time, no one is going to know what to do, the job’s not going to get done, it’s going to be a disaster. Now four days into my 7 day hospital stint after all of the visits from the doctors and the nurses waking you up at every possible time they can get you just when you’ve dosed off to check your pulse and your blood pressure and with all the visitors coming in and visiting me the rest of the time i spent actually running my business from my hospital bed.

It dawned on me like a bolt of lightning it just entered my head and I couldn’t believe that what I was doing was actually the exact opposite of what I was saying only a few weeks ago to my wife about how difficult it was to run my business.

Now Henry Ford once said , “if you think you can or think you can’t” you are right.

Did it have to get to that point where I was in hospital under doctor’s orders to not go anywhere or do anything strenuous for me to work out that I could run my business? well for me that was a little bit thick headed at the time it did.

So, six weeks after that initial hospital visit, as things started to slowly get better
and we were getting prepared to find out from the doctors what the next step was I experienced another brain haemorrhage and now things got a little bit worse health wise and for quite a while before they got better we really hit rock bottom.

It was a really difficult time. As things started to settle down and I started to recover, I started to find myself getting back on top of things but in the meantime somehow I had managed to handball the paperwork over to my accountant, I managed to find a way to get other people to do my quotes for me, my turnover doubled, and I was working half the hours than I had ever worked before.

Now things started to really get better and around 33 months later after my first initial bleed I thought i’d go for the first time in 33 months on a bike ride. After the bike ride and I felt fantastic, started to feel really great, and the next morning when I woke up and I was heading to work I realised I was having another bleed and I went in and check myself into hospital again.

This time the surgeon walked in again and said you can’t get away with it this time we have to operate and when I woke up from surgery I discovered that I couldn’t feel my entire left side and what I needed to do was go into rehab for a month to learn how to regain the use of my left arm and walk. When I got there I met Ivan.

Read how Ivan used words to achieve a faster arm and brain recovery after stroke.

Now Ivan is a seventy something native of parts around something like Serbia somewhere around Yugoslavia.

Now I like the word Yugoslavia it makes you use parts of your voice box you hardly ever use. They should still call it that I recon. Picture if you can a table which is about 1.2 by 1.2 square and around that table are two people on each side but where Ivan is standing there is only one person it’s only him because what ever happened to Ivan left him a hemiplegic and what he needed to do was be able to drive his mobility scooter in and have plenty of room to get out.

As Ivan got in we introduced ourselves everyone had a task to complete. My task was to reach into a box filled with rice, its like a yellow plastic Tupperware container and find some random objects and pull them out and identify them before I looked at them  and put them on the table. and as I was gigging around, I think the rice was basmati or long grain I never can tell,

Does the story you are telling in your head, change somehow? So the coach in me can’t help but intervene, so I’m sitting there with my hand in the rice, and i said Ivan tell me  mate, if your hand moved and did what you wanted it to do what would you call it? as I was digging in a trying to find my random objects something caught my eye I just noticed Ivan.

Ivan had a task as well and Ivan’s task was to pick up toilet roll and empty toilet roll with his affected hand cause as a hemiplegic he had to rehabilitate one side of his body as well and move it across to the other side of his body without dropping it and leaving it down on the small side. here’s one I prepared earlier,

So Ivan’s task was to move the toilet roll and as he was trying to do that every time he did it he knocked it over he was getting really frustrated with himself, and he was saying things under his breath and I couldn’t quite understand it and it got to that point where after two or three goes I actually heard him say ” come on you bastard” to his hand and he said “move”.

Now I what I am going to get you to do, might be a little difficult but just bear with me. I wonder if you could look at your hand and call it a bastard see what happens, see what you notice.  I’ll reverse the spell later. Now if you notice something changes in your body when you talk to your hand in that way.

Does your tummy tighten, does your heart start beating a little bit differently. Does the story you’re telling yourself in your head change somehow?

So the coach in me can’t help but intervene. So I’m sitting there with my hand in the rice and i said Ivan tell mate if your hand moved and did what you wanted it to do, what would you call it? He said i would call it my friend. And I said right do me a favour pretended that your hand has already done what you wanted it to do and call it your friend and let’s see what happens next time. So just as i asked Ivan was pretty happy to go along with it.

Ivan uses words to support Brain recovery after stroke.

He looked at his hand just before he moved it and said “come on friend move” and you wouldn’t believe what happened. Anyone wanna guess? His hand fell off! No no kidding. So what happened was his hand moved over like never before grabbed the toilet roll moved it to the other side stand it up without it falling the room goes wild the confetti starts to fall from the sky, streamers start falling down everyone goes nuts, alright maybe not that dramatic, obviously i didn’t convince you of that, but it was an amazing moment everyone around the table had noticed what was going on and they really did get excited and so did Ivan.

Everyone stopped what they were doing, they were so focused on what he was doing and so did I, i had my hand still in the rice not realising that it’s in there because i can’t even feel it. In that moment what I hope happens to Ivan i hope that he was able to understand that, that change in his words was gonna make a difference to the way that the rest of his recovery could go.

I’m not sure how long it took Ivan to get out of hospital because I was out of there a month earlier, a month before i was supposed to get out. And what i hope is that he continued to use positive words to change his outcome.

Because we’ve all done it right? we’ve all used negative words to give ourselves a hard time, we’ve all said something negative to ourselves in a time of frustration in a time when we are trying something new and we can’t quite manage to get over the line. We control our words so if we choose how we speak to ourselves we have a massive amount of control over what it is that we do going forward. Now this is important to me as you can tell.

It was a big lesson for me it’s part of the reason why I am here tonight. So let’s end this on a positive note and talk it to the next level. I want you to look at your hand again and call it your friend. How does it feel? What did you notice? Did something change in your belly? Did your heart start to beat a little bit calmer? Did the story in your head become a little nicer? In the immortal words of the great singer Cher, words are like weapons, the wound sometimes. Thank you.

Are you looking to support your brain health and increase you brain recovery after your stroke experience? Click here to learn more about how Bill may be able to help.

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