The Wisdom of the body

egg timerOne of the first things I did post-concussion was doodle. I couldn’t read/watch tv, hike, but I could sit quietly and doodle in between naps. This hourglass was an unintended observation of my condition. I was just making rows of Zentangle patterns, then they started to take on the shape of an hour glass. It wasn’t until I stopped that I looked at the whole doodle, and realized it looked more like a bust of shoulders and a cracked-open head than an hourglass. I think the bottom half looks like it’s in better shape than the top, so I decided that this was my body telling my brain to take it easy. Now this is where my theory of the wisdom of the body comes in: There are many psychological/ behavioural changes that seem to be common in people who suffer a concussion. The first, amnesia-well, that makes sense, who would want to remember being hit in the head anyway? Fatigue: that’s just a natural physical response to healing. But what about the puzzling personality changes such as a lack of impulse control or social filter. I have to say that having less of a filter is a bit of a relief. It must take a significant amount of brain power to pause and think about how your words might affect the feelings of someone else before you speak. Spontaneously speaking your mind isn’t a bad thing. It may not be a typical behaviour, but if it saves energy, then the body is just being efficient. Tie into this the hyper-sensitivity of the healing brain. I am so much more aware of every sense-it’s a great feeling, especially in springtime, living in a beautiful west coast city. The heightened sensitivity to outside stimulus can be overwhelming at times, so behaviours that seem more spontaneous than normal seem to me a natural response to information overload. Many people also have a lack of attentiveness as a result of concussion. This temporary state of heightened sensory awareness must be similar to that of people who have ADHD. We notice everything, and it’s exhausting to sort out high vs low priority stimulus. Therefore, we just notice everything, move on what interests us, and then walk away from boring things (like the open kitchen cupboards, deserted garden work, and the laundry basket on my dining room floor right at this moment.) Leaving a trail of destruction, or trail of things that are no longer important to notice is just the body’s way of moving on to the next stimulus. I think all three of these behaviours,spontaneity, social miscue and inattentiveness are the body’s way of managing the traffic jam of incoming stimulus, and allowing the brain to react in the time it can manage.  Again, it’s a fascinating process I’m going through, and I hope that by observing it along with anyone who might read this, I can help other people to get through concussion knowing that they’re not alone. Today’s tip: listen to your body!

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