The nuances of whole person recovery

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on August 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

How we move defines our Self, whether we are conscious of it or not. Our co-ordination of the entire Self in daily activity registers on our brains as an identity of Self.  When we change our motor response to stimuli, for instance in an Alexander lesson, we typically don’t recognize our Self until that new response becomes familiar.  Habits of response are usually invisible to us, and yet they are how we define who we are.

My self-definition and identity had been constructed  by my activity enthusiasm involving my pre-injury mobility.  Experiencing dramatically reduced activity and very challenged mobility has shifted my identity to a mysterious and murkily defined mode.  I am not who I was previous to injury.  And, who am I without my former movement explorations?  I can’t yet say.

Six months of incremental recovery yield moments of joyous celebration and many days of frustration and dismay. New coping skills have been developed out of necessity.  My former means of handling stress was by running joyfully every morning, to hear morning birds and to experience rhythm and exhilaration, and by walking speedily to all my locations.  Both of these activities helped me observe  how my mind was working, and to resolve any problems through an entire experience of Self in motion.  Movement was my source of joy in many respects.  Now, I have to find new ways to process any daily stress (with the added stress of not moving vigorously!).  This is not at all to my liking!  I have to be fine with a slow pace, to accept a stationery bike as my means of exhilaration, and to find quiet in just quieting myself.  These are no doubt new skills.  Patience is the new mode.

Do I like this new mode?   No, I do not!  I miss running like an addict misses drugs.  My injured leg looks like an alien limb to me, especially in comparison to my Tarzan non-injured leg.  Although my overall strength is remarkable, and my use is pretty good, considering my injury, I get depressed about  the jelly-like wobbliness of my injured leg.  I wake up every day wanting to go for a run.

I am forced to be quiet in a new way, and may, with this experience, find new skills and a new identity.  But I haven’t become happy or grateful about forced quiet yet.  Stay tuned!

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