The idea for this blog post has been rattling around in my brain for a while so I finally decided to get it out of there and write it.
Apparently, having a stroke is hilarious. I’ve noticed on several TV shows lately- I’ve noticed this quite a bit in the last 6 years – but it seems to have been very concentrated lately. In recent episodes of multiple shows, the common thing to say when someone is acting weird is, “are you having a stroke?” I’m wondering if there will ever be a day in the future that I will see that or hear that and it won’t have an effect on me. 6 years later and it still has a major effect on me. I so wish it didn’t, but it does. Will there ever be a day that I’ll be apathetic and unresponsive in the presence of some insensitive joke on TV? Or insensitive people? – which are RAMPANT in this world.
I dealt with my trauma mostly with humor. Self-deprecating humor. I think resorting to comedy is a very common way to deal with horrible things. It’s how I dealt with it most of the time. Certainly not always, but when I wasn’t a basket case of tears or unbelievably angry, I was laughing at myself. I know it’s how a lot of you have dealt with it. The problem with self-deprecating humor is this – other people see me make fun of myself and think that means I’m comfortable with jokes being made about certain things regarding me, strokes, whatever. That’s not the way self-deprecation works. It has the word ‘self’ in it. I can make fun of myself all I want, you cannot. There are 3 people on this planet that have liberty to say absolutely anything to me, about me, around me, etc. Everyone else – no.
The fact that TV shows think it’s for some reason funny to say “Are you having a stroke?” doesn’t make sense to me. Most people don’t know how to be funny and are not good at it. The majority of people that I encounter in life don’t have near the sense of humor and wit that comes so naturally to others (myself included). If you know how to be funny and empathetic, and are delicate and intelligent with highly sensitive topics, then pretty much any topic in life can be skewed somehow into something humorous. Granted, I’m incredibly sensitive to this. I would not have noticed it 7 years ago but I sure do now. But, correct me if I’m wrong, it seems to me like a stroke is joked about and made fun of way more than other illnesses and disabilities. I guess it’s because strokes are all-encompassing. Any movement, function, amount of language, thinking, conversation – just about anything can be f’d up after a stroke so I guess it’s easy to say on TV, “my god she’s having a stroke or something.”
Maybe I wouldn’t be so incredibly sensitive about this if people within my own “support” system had not said some incredibly idiotic, stupid, insensitive things to me in the last 6 years. Oh well, c’est la vie.
Received this email yesterday, enjoy.
My name is ———– and I’m the Director of Communications at —— Hospital. I saw your post on life after a stroke. It’s great to see you’re already publishing content informing your readers about the importance of health and wellness, and I wanted to pass along some information that I think you will find useful.
I would be happy to send along a stroke resource guide we recently created called ———. As you know, it’s important the general public is informed about the signs of a stroke and how to act fast. I hope you find it to be valuable and will share it with your readers!
Please let me know if you have any questions and if you would like to see our ———– graphic.
Director of Communications
While I appreciate you reaching out, a much better way to teach the public about strokes instead of this generic information is to ask actual stroke survivors that have been through this hell for their advice.
I’m shocked that I’m a medical professional, have this awesome blog and have not once been e-mailed and asked for my perspective on things or advice. I’m just shocked. I’ve only been contacted by organizations wishing to advance their own agenda, as in your request. It’s not to help people. It’s to further your own agenda. “