Balanced Brain

Everyone who has had a stroke knows the name Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor.  Maybe not everyone, but if you don’t know that name, you should.  She has dedicated her life to studying the brain and then she had a stroke herself.  She’s been through the HELL, she knows.  Hers is the first book I read right “after.”  To say it was an emotional read would be an understatement.  But it’s a really good book.  The main premise of the book is – well I forget what the main premise is.  But a strong message of the book is that your brain can change and adapt until the day you die so don’t believe all those medical practitioners who told you that recovery is over at 6 months or 2 years or whatever.  F’ em!  I forget if she talks about meditation in the book, but she does here.  She’s a big advocate of meditation and how it can help to balance the brain, which is pretty damn important for someone who had a stroke because the stroke will have caused one part of one side of the brain to go bye-bye.  I started to meditate for emotional reasons but oh man, I got a heck of a lot more benefits from it than just emotional.  Hopefully by the day I die, although that might never happen as I can’t seem to die, but hopefully by the time I do expire meditation will be prescribed by doctors and not just recommended by some people.  If you’ve never meditated, try it.  Give it a few months.  Seriously, try it.  Meditation changes the brain.



Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Stroke stuff

Tags: , , , ,

26 replies

  1. LOVED her book!!! Crazy thing is, I found it in the clearance dollar bin in the grocery store about 6 months after my stroke.

  2. AMY, HAVE BEEN TRYING MEDITATION, BUT NOT SUCCESSFULLY = BALANCE IS JUST GONE! ANYONE, PLEASE HELP! MY LIFE HAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.. THANK YOU & GOD BLESS. (I GUESS GOD IS JUST TOO BUSY, I TRULY BELIEVE IN HIM AND MIRACLES, BUT STILL NO BALANCE, CAN’T WALK OR DRIVE. INDEPRNDENCE IS GONE.).

  3. I think the whole point of her book was right brain-left brain crap which is why I hated it.

    • Oh really you hated it? I wonder why I liked it so much. Hmmm I literally read it about a month after the stroke. I’ll have to read it again.

      • I think part of my problem was that she never disclosed her damage, except for that wicked scar. And now that I’m 8 years out and in her recovery at 8 years she was fully recovered.

        • I think my book had fairly dramatic MRI images of her damage.( I can’t find the book now, since I cleared out all my stroke books to make room for pregnancy/baby books.) She experienced a very significant bleed. I’m also not so sure she has had a “complete” recovery as in return to baseline. She seems to be living a different life. Perhaps its more fulfilling and so she describes it as complete when in fact things are different…just my guess.

          • Her book actually helped me to “accept” falling short of an exact “full recovery…return to baseline”. I was totally intent and focused on “full recovery”, instead I’m now just happy if I can do the things I want. I don’t have to be 100%. Some things are better, some are worse. I’ll keep working on the messed up things. .probably forever but I’m not gonna be depressed just because I didn’t meet my 100%. That was a real mind shift for me.

  4. Dean, while I applaud her recovery, I couldn’t stomach the right/brain /left brain stuff. I read it in one sitting when I got home which amazed the therapists. I was always a very fast reader and I knew my brain was functioning cognitively, and that someday it would all be fine…Still waiting, but every day I make progress…today I walked through our factory braceless which I would not have been able to do 6 months ago. Its noisy, lots of people greeting me. My ability to do more than just one thing at a time is coming back. as is my temperature regulation. in the recent past and through out my recovery I’ve been consistently ridiculously cold. That appears to have fixed itself, along with my left neglect. Marta

    • I never had the cold issue but a lot of people seem to have had that. That’s really interesting. And since it’s a problem from within, probably no amount of sweaters or blankets would help, am I right?

  5. I read it, too, soon after my stroke, because my OT was reading it. I really enjoyed it and her TED talk. Later on I started reading the criticism of her central tenet of the right brain/left brain separation, which I believe Dean has featured on his blog. That was disappointing, since, after all, she is a neuroanatomist, but later I started thinking and realized, that if I ignored the anatomical aspect of what she says, I wholeheartedly agree with her. I’ve read comments by most, or maybe all, members of the Tribe to the effect that our thinking has changed for the better since our strokes. I feel mine has, too. Since our strokes didn’t kill us, it seems as if we became stronger, at least mentally. In my case, I feel like the stroke bored a hole through the many layers of consciousness that had built up over the years and let light into the deep parts of my brain that had gotten buried and forgotten. Weird, I know, but something tells me meditation might function similarly and might augment the beneficial aspects of stroke, as strange as it is to type that sentence. Someone should do some research on improved thinking after a stroke.

  6. ELIZABETH, THANK YOU. WILL CHECK THAT WEBSITE. YES, I USE MY FINGERS, BUT THEY’RE NOT VERY STRONG ANY LONGER, CAN’T PLAY PIANO OR TYPE THE NORMAL WAY. STROKE AFFECTED MY LEFT SIDE AND LEFT HAND IS THE WORST. AGAIN, THANKS FOR RESPONDING.

    • Good thing this one is a myth. Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells, I’m consuming lots in my social engagements.

      • Is the alcohol one really a myth? In moderation, I’m guessing its fine…but alcoholics can develop “Korsakoff’s”/brain damage from too much alcohol. I saw it as a nurse and its sad. The book: The man that mistook his wife for a hat had me intrigued in brain matters way before I had a brain problem.

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