Identifying the underlying psychological causes of a stroke can help you prevent this debilitating condition
Ordinary people are awakening to the understanding that there’s more to know about how disease manifests in the body. That awakening includes the psychological meaning of disease — specifically the underlying emotional and psychological causes. If not taken care of, these causes can result in further disruptions which people often accept and call it their fate.
However, the psychological meaning of disease gives people the necessary information to know what needs healing in their relationship with themselves. It also empowers them to embrace their personal power through what I call compassionate comprehension.
As a healing practitioner, I help people examine the emotional links that are often missing in standard healing regimens. Working with the psychological meaning of disease for two decades, I offer fresh insight into the connection between being a ‘serve-aholic’ and suffering a stroke. This connection is part of the missing piece which I passionately explore in my work to help heal people on multiple levels.
What is a Stroke?
The Mayo Clinic defines a stroke this way:
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.
Stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls strokes the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of adult disability. Every year, about 800,000people in the U.S. suffer a stroke. On average, one American dies from a stroke every four minutes.
Psychological Meaning of Stroke
What if we could add one more layer to prevent and heal strokes by identifying and releasing the psychological aspects of strokes?
At the base of every disease is a situation that weakens a person’s immune system. This could stem from difficult circumstances at work or home; troublesome situations with children; loss of a loved through death, divorce, or separation; severe financial difficulties; even worrying about world events. By examining what went on before the onset of disease, we can usually see a link to something that disturbed or stressed us. When the stress gets too great, one last straw tends to put us ‘over the top’. That’s when the immune system collapses, and a disease or condition gets triggered in the body. As a result, traumatic situations can set up powerlessness and hopeless, helpless feelings, even rage and anger.
The psychological meaning of stroke comes from Messages from the Body: Their Psychological Meaning by Michael J. Lincoln, PhD. (Excerpts are used here with his permission. Dr. Lincoln’s website is www.talkinghearts.net)
Serve-aholic: They tend to become involved in taking on the problems of the world in an unsung hero(ine) pattern. They tend to become enraged and get burned out and resentfully burned up about the lack of recognition and support in their lives. Now they have finally reached a point where they are feeling overwhelmed with the requirements of life. They were the ‘family hoist’ in their family, lifting everyone else up. They may have a “no one cares” attitude.
Case Studies of Emotional Healing
Because the emotional component isn’t as readily available as traditional remedies, I won’t address traditional remedies and treatments. Rather, I will address the emotional component or psychological meaning of stroke through the stories of three people who had strokes.
1. Susan’s Story
Susan is a 70-year-old fit, healthy retired registered nurse and holistic health coach. When she called me for an emotional healing session, she said, “I always believed that I was in extremely good health, maintaining a low body mass index with almost daily walks and choosing to eat nutrient-dense, mostly organic foods. I’d been under a tremendous amount of stress for a number of months, but other than that and a family history of stroke, I had no apparent risk factors for a stroke.” Although Susan had a history of high blood pressure noted 20 years before, she hadn’t been on medication for more than eight years. Recently, she had lost 30 pounds by following a gluten-free diet.
Susan’s only sibling had died nine months before our session. Her sister had been raising her nine-year-old and 15-year-old grandchildren because their mother was a heroin addict. Suddenly, Susan became the executor of her sister’s estate and responsible for the care of her two minor grandnieces. The older child went to live with her mother—a heartbreaking situation and not what Susan wanted for her. A cousin stepped forward to care for the younger girl. Susan and her cousin began a six-month court ordeal to obtain permanent custody of the girls.
For many months, Susan made multiple two-hour round trips to ready her sister’s condo for sale and meet with the lawyer handling the guardianship for her grandnieces. These highly stressful activities along with the travel caused her to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. On top of that, she felt unappreciated and unvalued for what she was doing with the estate and the children.
Then Susan had a stroke, which occurred in the thalamus of the brain. On the morning of her stroke, she felt weak and tired. She had brain fog, her left arm felt heavy, and her left leg dragged to the point of not working well. She initially denied and ignored these classic symptoms, telling herself, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was having a stroke, but I can’t be having a stroke. I can’t imagine or accept that someone as healthy as me could be having a stroke.”
Messages from the Body describes the thalamus this way [Ibid, p. 95]:
The thalamus is prone to functioning on automatic pilot. The thalamus is essentially the control center for consciousness…things like “I am aware.” Trouble here results in operating without awareness or on automatic pilot.
Susan said this definition made sense. She was actually working on that awareness aspect and learning how to meditate to become more mindful and aware.
As a child, Susan was the peacemaker in the family, the one who kept everyone upbeat, the ‘family hoist’. At a young age, she was given much responsibility and became a ‘serve-aholic’ — without receiving support or recognition. She remembered feeling very alone in this role.
How did her automatic pilot programming get set up?
In her family, Mom and Dad fought a lot. Her mom, who was loud and bossy, suffered from undiagnosed OCD, and wanted everything clean. Her father did not stand up for his daughter, and besides, he traveled for his business, so he was absent a lot. Susan felt oppressed and told herself this was her lot in life, that “I just have to get through each week.” Susan’s grandma adored her and was the only saving grace in her chaotic family.
At nine-years-old, Susan and her family moved to another town. This young girl eagerly waited for the weekends so she could visit her grandma and have fun. Being with her grandma made her feel joyful. Susan would spend her weeks on automatic pilot and couldn’t wait until the weekends arrived. Then she’d return and go back on automatic pilot to get through another week. That set up a lifelong habit of operating on automatic pilot without awareness.
How was I able to help Susan?
Using the MO (Modus Operandi) Technique, I coached her to release her serve-aholic habit as well as be on automatic pilot and chronically feeling overwhelmed. Today, she has tools to set boundaries and serve herself first, so she can have the energy to serve others with joy. Today, Susan knows to give herself the recognition and support she needs. She also knows not to let anything or anybody push her “over the top.” When she is being a serve-aholic, she catches herself and changes her behavior. She continues her daily journey of mindful awareness and has stopped using her previous default setting on auto-pilot. For her, the affirmations from the MO Technique are life-enhancing and extremely helpful.
Looking back, Susan views her stroke as the wake-up call she needed. Now, each day is an opportunity to live with awareness and joy.
2. Judith’s Story
What a shock! Judith was 65, fit, and healthy. An avid gardener, hiker, and bicyclist, she ate from her own organic garden. Professionally, she was teacher of Qigong and living the life of an energetic healer who taught all over the world.
One day, while revisiting her former Qigong class at Folsom Prison, she suddenly felt dizzy and nauseous. She vomited continuously. They rushed her to the hospital where a scan discovered she’d had a small stroke. The hospital couldn’t discern the cause of her stroke, which had occurred in the center of her cerebellum.
When we talked about a month after her stroke, I asked Judith if she’d recently been serving someone who had high expectations and showed little appreciation. She said she’d been ghostwriting a man’s books, training his teachers, and creating his online programs. She was staying in the background and making sure all the promotions focused on him.
The body message of the cerebellum is as follows:
There has been a derailment of their ability to coordinate and carry out intentions and actions [Ibid, p. 93].
Judith said that made sense because she was about to tell her Qigong community she was retiring.
But the man she was working for did not want her retirement announcement made until they had her replacement ready. This is what may have put her over the top and why the blood clot was in her cerebellum. No movement was happening, no job descriptions had been written, no postings made. She was eager to train the new person so the effect her leaving would be as minimal as possible. She had big plans for getting two years of courses ready ahead of her departure, grandchildren to care for, and a certification retreat to prepare for 30 students from all over the world.
Through the MO Technique, Judith was able to release being a serve-aholic and could appreciate a new perspective on why the stroke happened. Today, she has joyfully retired, but still teaches Qigong independently in a way that puts her and her students first.
3. Jake’s Story
Jake is a 68-year-old slim, active gentleman. Recently, he had a stroke deep in his medial temporal lobe on the left side, which led to weakness on the right side of his body.
On his way home from a long road trip right before the stroke, he felt like he had the flu. As soon as he arrived, he went to the polling station to vote in the election. He reported having brain fog, saying he couldn’t sign his name on the ballot, so he left and went home to rest. The next day, he had to drive a truck for about four hours in heavy traffic. After that, he came home and collapsed. The next morning his speech was slurred, he couldn’t swallow, and his right side was compromised. He went to his doctor who diagnosed him as having had a stroke.
Jake was on a high blood pressure medication. He said he could usually feel when his blood pressure would spike, but this time — before his stroke occurred — he didn’t feel that.
Ever since he was a child, Jake had been overly responsible. To this day, he looks after his mom and his brother who’s in his 50s. Married with two children, Jake has four grandchildren and is happily involved in their lives. Characteristically, he’d always taken care of his in-laws’ property when they went on trips for months at a time. In fact, he said he’d always taken care of everyone in his family in one way or another, acting as the ‘family hoist’.
His mother-in-law, whom he was close to, had dementia and passed a few months before his stroke. After that, he and his wife had to put her father in a nursing home. Then, while Jake and his wife were on a trip, she fell and experienced severe pain, so she had to return home quickly.
While on that trip, Jake had visited his own mom, a woman he said was always selfish and put herself first, who never really cared for or about her son. But in her elder years, she declared she wanted Jake to care for her. While driving home, this devoted son got a call from his mother’s caregiver and learned that she had been admitted into the hospital for congestive heart failure. Feeling especially worried, he thought he’d have to turn around and go back to see her.
Jake told me he wasn’t good at anything. “I was never a Brainiac or a good athlete and only a mediocre musician,” he mentioned. It was also in his nature to get things done the right way, and he believed everyone should follow procedure to make outcomes predictable. He also told me, “I like things done my way.” But because people around him were ‘nilly willy’ (as he called it) and didn’t do things the right way, it caused him a lot of anguish.
“WOW . . . you’ve had a lot of stress going on!” I commented to him. Usually before a disease or condition manifests, something puts a person ‘over the top’. So, I asked Jake, “What do you think put you over the top?” He replied, “A couple of months ago, I made a mistake that was costly for a friend, and I couldn’t forgive myself.” His friend said not to worry about it, but Jake kept beating himself up mentally and couldn’t let it go.
Clearly, Jake was a serve-aholic who didn’t feel valued or appreciated for all he did. An internal storm had been brewing inside, but the mistake with his friend became the last straw. Because Jake liked everything done in the right way, when he felt he made a costly mistake and didn’t do it the right way, it put him over the top.
Jake’s stroke happened deep in his temporal lobe. The temporal lobe message from the body is as follows:
Self-chaos. They are having problems dealing with the qualities of their personal situation. They were subjected to very rigid restrictions on what was and what was not acceptable. They are a product of a family who did not respond to their needs or in which they were forced to take over the meeting of their own needs because no one else would [Ibid, p. 93].
Many serve-aholics believe they are responsible to rescue any person, system, or situation that needs help, which is also an emotional component of high blood pressure. Being a serve-aholic is draining, depriving, and derailing because your own needs are not being met. The net effect is that serve-aholics build to an explosion point and often carry a heavily repressed resentment about it all. The resulting internal combustion or storm can eventually cause a stroke.
What is Happening in the Brain?
Our life force is our blood, and our blood flows easily when we are flowing with life. When we are not in the flow and life feels like one big problem, then blood clots can form. Similarly, when a blood clot forms in our brains, it means we aren’t flowing with life. Our bio computer malfunctions because we’re feeling drained, anxious, over-demanded. An inner conflict results.
What did all three of these stroke victims — Susan, Judith, and Jake — have in common? They were serve-aholics. They didn’t feel appreciated for their contributions and felt angry about it. Consequently, they weren’t flowing with life or serving with joy. When an event put them over the top, the internal storm and combustion manifested itself as a stroke.
How to Prevent a Stroke
Take an inventory of your life and ask:
- Am I being a serve-aholic without appreciation or recognition, and is it making me feel angry or resentful?
- If I have high blood pressure, do I feel the need to control? Am I hyper-responsible, a pleaser or peacemaker and feeling angry or resentful about it?
- Am I flowing with life, allowing my blood, my life force, to flow easily and not clot? Do I trust that the Universe always has my back?
- Can I make it a practice of never letting ANYONE or ANYTHING put me ‘over the top’ because it’s just not worth compromising my health?
- When I am serving others, do I do it with joy? (If you must do something you don’t want to do but have to, then find a way to do it with joy.)
- Am I taking care of my brain? Am I feeling drained, over demanded, demoralized, not asking for help, and worried or anxious? All of these can affect the brain emotionally and cause brain dysfunction.
My MO (Modus Operandi) Technique helps us release the emotional component or psychological meaning of every condition and disease out of their body. Specifically, it releases the psychological meaning of symptoms, so the disease no longer affects us. That’s how we can avert manifesting a full-blown disease.
We all can benefit from looking inside ourselves and applying the MO Technique, an effective, non-invasive technique that everyone can access. Learning to use the MO Technique to make our emotions work for us becomes the template for empowerment — and for giving us the gift of health.
Disclaimer: Although this article depicts the “emotional component” (psychological meaning) or “thought pattern” of strokes, I encourage you to take a balanced approach to healing all ailments.
The information contained on this article is solely for educational purposes. It should not be considered medical advice and should NOT be used as a substitute for medical advice by trained professionals.
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