'I really struggle with the lack of routine.'

Susan sitting on a wooden fence

Susan, from the Scottish Borders, had a haemorrhagic stroke caused by a bleed on the brain in May 2016. Following her stroke, Susan had problems with her speech, sight, hearing and mobility. Over time her speech and vision have improved, but Susan still struggles with walking. Susan has found lockdown really difficult.

'I really struggle with the lack of routine. Before lockdown, I went to the gym three times a week and had joined a walking group. However, my walking is hampered by drop foot, caused by my stroke. I'm waiting for an operation for this but it was cancelled due to Covid-19. I'm embarrassed about the way I walk.'

Susan finds it frustrating not being able to go out and says she feels 'trapped in the house'.

'My sister used to take me to the hairdressers once a week, but we can't do that anymore. That's a big thing for me'.

Like many other stroke survivors, Susan has felt the emotional impact of her stroke, particularly now during the pandemic and lockdown. 'I was emotionally crushed by the stroke. I was crying for hours and hours, days and days. I desperately needed counselling but none was available. I feel anxious and have lost my

Susan strongly believes that there should be more support available for stroke survivors after they are discharged from the hospital. 'The best thing I did following my stroke was to join a gym. Exercise not only helped me get stronger, it also improved my balance and helped my mental and emotional health. 'There needs to be more support out there for stroke survivors after they are discharged from the hospital. Any help I have had, I have had to pay for it. Support should be available to all stroke survivors on the NHS.'