02 April 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review - My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD

What a wonderful book! The author was featured on an Oprah show not too long ago describing what it was like to live through a stroke. This was one book that I was eagerly awaiting from the library.

Jill has the very unique perspective of being a brain scientist studying her very own brain! She manages to describe in detail what happened to her during her stroke and her road to recovery. After having been through this ordeal she has been able to provide an enlightening view on what it's like to be inside a body that has an injured brain. Jill gives some very good advice on how to treat others in the same condition and to remember that stroke survivors are not stupid, just injured.

The one thing I will do my best to remember from this book is: you are responsible for the energy you bring to another person. Jill lost all communication ability because the left side of her brain was swimming in blood. She couldn't speak or comprehend, but she could tell who was safe, caring, and loving mostly by the tone in someone's voice and the manner in which the person interacted with her.

After reading My Stroke of Insight I was amazed at how much of the world is run by the left hemisphere of the brain. Jill has had an amazing and rare experience to feel what it would be like to exist without an ego driving her, without thought to yesterday or tomorrow, and without the pressures of life weighing her down. Instead she felt euphoria and at one with the universe. She had to really work on repairing the neurons damaged by her stroke, and only did so in order to function in the world. But she did it mostly on her terms and seemed to keep the knowledge of how to move back into the right side of her brain when her left side started to take over. Just brilliant.

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