TIA and Minor Stroke

Talking about having a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

The impact of having a TIA or minor stroke varied across the group of people we interviewed. Most people described experiencing feelings of shock and disbelief about what had happened to them particularly as generally with a TIA or minor stroke there is no warning and the symptoms appear ‘out of the blue’ (see ‘Emotions and feelings’ and ‘Support and information). Most people we spoke to found that life went back to normal reasonably quickly afterwards and so they didn’t feel a huge need to talk too much about it and they wanted to reassure others that they didn’t spend lots of time worrying about the future.
A number of people said they were fearful of hospitals and didn’t want to be admitted, or wanted to get home as soon as possible. However, despite this, some of those who were admitted to hospital found that being in a ward with other people who had had similar experiences was helpful as it provided opportunities to talk about things, although as Phillip (below) pointed out, some of the other people he was in hospital with were not as curious as he was about what was happening to them. Having friends or family visiting could also be a source of support. Phillip also pointed out that initially one might not feel like talking about what had happened but that he found it was good to have people there for you.
Sometimes on returning home after treatment people found themselves feeling isolated and alone and for some this led to periods of depression which could be difficult to overcome without some help (see ‘Medication, treatment and surgery’ and ‘Back home’). It could be difficult to fit back into ‘normal’ life again after having this experience. Some people worried that they may have another ‘episode’ and were sometimes reluctant to go out alone for fear of being on their own if something happened (see ‘Emotions and feelings’). Few people that we interviewed said they were offered any form of counselling, but where people were finding things very difficult and counselling was offered, it was found to be very useful .Several people said that they hadn’t had an opportunity to talk about how they were feeling at the time, but that they felt it could have been helpful.
Some people found life difficult for some while afterwards and their advice to others was that it was important not to isolate yourself, to make the effort to keep in touch with friends and family, even if you thought that they might not necessarily understand.
It could sometimes be difficult to find people to talk to who were in similar circumstances.
(See also ‘Support and information’.)

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Last reviewed June 2017.
Last updated August 2013


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