Stroke survivor to help others with inspirational 'spa day for brain'
- Credit: Sue Ross
A Hitchin stroke survivor is putting on a feel-good 'spa day for your brain' this week in a bid to encourage people to take a little TLC as we emerge from the pandemic.
Founded in 2012, Sue Ross' support group Lifegeta helps people and their families deal with the emotional effects after life-changing acquired conditions, such as head injury, stroke and fibromyalgia.
Lifegeta's Feel Good event, which kicks off at 10am on Friday at Holiday Inn in Stevenage, aims to support those who find their bodies don't work in the way they used to - addressing the anxiety, fear and panic that has been magnified over "an emotional rollercoaster of the last 18 months."
Sue told the Comet how her own mental health was very affected after she suffered a double stroke in the April of 1993, when she was just 26 years old.
"My stroke was very severe and initially paralysed me from the eyes downwards," she explained. "The double stroke affected both sides of my body. I was completely unable to move I wasn't able to breathe, swallow or talk.
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"I had 'locked in' syndrome for about 10 days, and I was in hospital altogether for about 52 weeks, still with a long road to recovery ahead of me."
Sue added that years of depression followed due to the emotional toll her stoke had on what she calls her 'new way of living', and used alcohol and food to console and get her through the period.
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It took falling out of her wheelchair and cutting her eye open to make Sue realise that she had to make an active effort to change her lifestyle, and get back on track.
"I started to eat more healthily, took my physio more seriously - something I couldn’t face while I was in crisis - and most importantly, I got counselling to sort my emotions out.
"This led me on to retrain as a counsellor myself," she added, stating that it took her six years of working around the fatigue and the limitations of her disability before getting to this point.
On "the path of self improvement", Sue was motivated to ensure that others had guidance to help them through their own times of need - and Lifegeta was born.
"I had the idea to set up a group that would help with the emotional effects of being in the body that didn't do what it used to. I wasn’t sure how to start, so I took a leap of faith and followed my gut feelings.
"I started with workshops on emotional coping strategies, which in turn led to the monthly meeting group."
Although affected by the pandemic, Lifegeta has gone from strength to strength in ensuring others have a platform for discussion, self development and workshops with a focus on getting back on track.
Sue added:"Lifegeta isn't just about disability: it's an empowering group of inspiring people, who despite the odds are getting on with it!"