Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Value of Acceptance

This time last summer I was in a dark place, exercising four hours every day and still not seeing the results I wanted. My imagined life as a disabled person stretched before me unwanted. Two years, I told myself. If, in two years, I can't stand this anymore, I will jump off a bridge. In tears once again when my husband arrived home from work, I followed him into our sunny garden to talk.

"What I've been trying to figure out," I told him, "is why I was willing to work hard at a job for 11 years to make things better, but I am so quick to give up on myself."

"Why do you think that is?"

"Because at my job, there was the promise of something better – a raise, a promotion. But now, I'm working so hard just to get back to where I was."

"It sounds like you haven't accepted what's happened," he said. "You're not trying to get back to where you were. You're trying to move forward from the day you had the stroke."


So long as I focused on what I used to be or what I wanted to be, I could not be happy now. I had to realize that exercising like a maniac was not going to get me "there" any faster. I had to find ways to enjoy my life now and balance that with rehabilitation.

I used to equate acceptance with giving up. Now I see it as a gateway to happiness.


  1. Everything in your post is so true. Since my stroke I'm no longer into delayed gratification. I don't have enough time left to work towards long-term goals. The trick is pinning my hopes on something doable.

  2. I think my acceptance is that for the rest of my life I will be doing therapy(living) 24 hours a day and be constantly fatigued. If I get some function back as a side effect, all the better.

  3. Good post.
    I just had a minor talking to from my Physiotherapist that was pretty much a match for what your husband said. He said that I was looking at where I was before, but that he was looking at where my file started and he was proud of what I had achieved. (It fit in with him doing a balance assessment on me and me complaining bitterly that I hate testing because it keeps pointing out my shortcomings to me)

  4. Having a stroke changed the way I feel about the tests I used to give as an OT. I desperately want to succeed. In that moment when I fail I forget that therapists know how to start with small goals that will give me the feeling of success.

  5. "I used to equate acceptance with giving up. Now I see it as a gateway to happiness." I love that statement. That is so true! I came to the same realization myself, but you have such a gift for being able to verbally express the sentiments. Thank you for sharing your blog with us.

  6. Love this post!!! If only I can get to acceptance without feeling like I'm giving up!!! You are so right, thank you for saying it so well.

  7. I know what it's like to be sick and longing to be functioning at the level I used to. Now being on the other side of that, still living with a disease, but not debilitated, I can see so clearly that I am far better than I ever was. Even though I'm higher maintenance just to stay sane, I'm a better person and my life is better than ever in so many ways. I see you the same way Marcelle. Even though you are more physically challenged at the moment than anyone would want to be, you have grown spiritually, intellectually and emotionally, AND you are writing better than ever. You may not remember but you were a bit stumped and probably somewhat more distracted before you had a stroke. Not that you weren't doing great and positive things, you just were at a different stage. You have become even warmer, sweeter and more insightful than you were, and that's saying something!

  8. Hi Marcelle,
    What a strong and beautiful description of your journey on the path to acceptance! Your writing so inspires me.
    Many thanks,

  9. Woah. "You're not trying to get back to where you were. You're trying to move forward from the day you had the stroke."

    Those are some powerful, powerful words.