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Stop Being Ashamed of Weakness

Ian Marcus Corbin from Harvard Medical School has interviewed numerous stroke patients. He observes that far too many stroke patients "consign themselves to a more private, solitary life in the wake of a stroke, not out of practical inability, but out of shame. This shame is an old American disease, whose current-day symptoms, including an ‘epidemic of loneliness’ and rising ‘deaths of despair,’ are becoming impossible to ignore."

He also said,

Post-stroke isolation is one more symptom, badly compounding the damage done by stroke itself ... Studies show that stroke patients’ networks tend to contract in the wake of a stroke. Why? The causes are not perfectly clear, but we can say this: Too often in America, we are ashamed of being weak, vulnerable, dependent. We tend to hide our shame. We stay away. We isolate ourselves, rather than show our weakness.

Sometimes medication can help stroke victims overcome their shame. But Corbin concludes, "The better healing would be to teach stroke patients, to teach ourselves, that interdependence is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s our birthright, and the source of some of our deepest strength."

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