Dealing with Discouragement

© 2001 Michele Toomey, PhD


May 22, 2001

Two and one half years later, it would seem that stability would be established in our rehab routine. And in may ways it is. Certain factors are built into your day, certain activities are regularly part of your schedule, and certain strategies for dealing with situations that arise are applied faithfully. So why does uncertainty still loom over us? Because your state of mind is unpredictable and your memory erratic or unavailable. So much of what is occurring is out of our control and even out of our understanding. We really don't know what's going on in your brain. We only know the effects.

Sudden electrical surges shock your limbs. Totally unannounced memory eclipses erupt in mid sentence. Frighteningly you ask me my name. Healing becomes an oxymoron. Decline thrusts its ugly head in our face. Two and one half years later your sanity feels threatened. The motto of "Keep on Keeping on" loses its luster. Discouragement strikes a deafening chord. How can this be? What dirty trick of fate is circling back on us after the heroic effort on all our parts? Therapy, early morning phone calls, music, yoga, tai chi, walking, structure, the musings, friendship, love, dedication, hard work, commitment to integrity, are integrated into the substance of your life. Less memory, not more, less stability, not more, over time lost can that be?

It flies in the face of our belief system. We expect the outcome to follow from the investment. Value integrity, reap integrity. Oops. Forgot an essential factor. We must start with integrity. Aha! The body, namely the brain's integrity, has been attacked by the virus herpes simplex encephalitis. Parts of the brain have been destroyed. Not just injured. Destroyed. Scar tissue has no capacity to receive or transmit messages. Electrical currents are being interrupted, transmission cannot be completed. Scarring is still occurring, obviously, and new hurdles are being encountered. Messages are ricocheting off dead spaces and finding no receptor. Valuing integrity will still allow us to reap integrity, but not in terms of message delivery and memory availability.

Once again we must go to essence to avoid being done in by discouragement. The gift and stability of integrity are still there as long as we go to the essence. As a value, as a truth, as a philosophy of life, integrity must be our guide. As a physical availability within a damaged brain, it has been compromised. Integrity guides us to acknowledge that memory, sanity and stability, have been jeopardized in the physical brain. Valuing integrity allows us to acknowledge that truth and maintain our integrity. Now we can find stability. In our commitment to integrity,we will not succumb to discouragement because it would require that we lose our integrity as a value that defines our life. When that day comes, we will have lost more than stability or sanity or memory. We will have lost our hold on life. That recognition of who we are should bring an inner glow to our spirit. We are a rare breed, we who embrace integrity as our life line. Our stature, our spiritual connection, is to essential truth. If our physical brain loses its capacity to know and value integrity, it is not a betrayal but a tragedy. This brain injury did not attack your ability to know, it attacked your ability to remember. To our death we will not hesitate to restate, repeat, reclaim and re-embrace our commitment to living with integrity.

Our hope, once again, is in our spirit and our convictions, not our body or our brain. We need our body and our brain, but it does not define us. Our philosophy of life does. It is alive and well, more sterling than ever. We'll deal with discouragement the way we've dealt with everything. With integrity.

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