The Struggle to Reconcile a Loud Body with a Sense of Well Being

© 2000 Michele Toomey, PhD


June 20, 2000

Our prejudice would be a quiet, healthy, strong, at-our-disposal body that asks little and gives lots and lots and lots without calling attention to itself in any way. If ever that fantasy blew up in your face even more than in the past when it was already very loud and disruptive, it's now, post-encephalitis. You've never had such a loud, demanding, expressive body as you have now.

In the past even your most dramatic times came to an end. You got through them, over them, better from them. After each bout, you could go back to pretending everything was fine. Not now. There is no end, just ongoing occurrences, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always leaving a residue of disabled to some degree and always damaged to some extent. The days of being "cured" are over. Your body will never be quite the same. So where and what is required if you are to reconcile this loudness with a sense of well-being? Reconciliation lies in the truth, in the integrity of what encephalitis cost you, what it left you with, and how you can or cannot trust your brain. Any self-deception puts you in jeopardy.

So, what is the truth?

  • Your body is very loud and very demanding.
  • Your body went through torture and hell.
  • Your body withstood horrible onslaughts of viral attacks, invasive harsh treatments, infections, collapses, clots, shut downs, being near death, coma, respirator, suction tubes, catheters, feeding tubes, high fever, cold packs, inability to swallow, nothing by mouth for over 7 weeks. In short, it was so assaulted that it barely made it, and yet it did. You owe your life to this heroic body teaming up with your heroic spirit.
  • Your psychological and physiological selves are forever intertwined in the process of survival and recovery.
  • Your well-being is now dependent on shifting gears to include the safety of having partnered wonderfully and survived, to partnering creatively in order to appreciate the life you are capable of still having and enjoying.
  • This last partnership is no less difficult or profound than the first. It is just less dramatic appearing...but it is no less dramatic in its gift.
  • For many, survival is the goal. For you, liberation is the goal. Survival is the necessary pre-requisite. Liberation is the treasured outcome.
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