Saturday, January 2, 2010

Stroke of Insight - Sleep

It was a while ago that a friend of mine suggested the book, Stroke of Insight. I bought it, but then couldn't convince myself to pick it up and read it... A few days ago, I picked it up again...

The book is about a brain doctor who suffers a stroke. Dr. Jill Taylor tells what it was like to literally "lose her mind" and then find it again. Reading about her recovery, reminded me of my own...
She talks repeatedly about the importance of sleep to. I marked several passages about it:
"On and off throughout the day, the energy in my body waxed and waned from a little bit of energy to a completely empty tank. With sleep, my reservoir filled a little and then I spent that energy trying to do or think something. Once my reserve was used up, I had to go back to sleep. I learned that I had no staying power and once my energy was shot, I fell limp. I realized I had to pay very close attention to my energy gauge. I would have to learn how to conserve it and be willing to sleep to restore it."
How many times have I experienced that completely drained feeling... limp... but I forced myself to keep going? lots...
"Over the course of several years, if I didn't respect my brain's need for sleep, my sensory systems experienced agonizing pain and I became psychologically and physically depleted."
Ummm... sounds like almost everyday of my life... hmmm
"I firmly believe that if I had been placed in a conventional rehabilitation center where i was forced to stay awake with a TV in my face, alert on Ritalin, and subjected to rehab on someone else's schedule, I would have chose to zone out more and try less. For my recovery, it was critical that we honor the healing power of sleep. i know various methodologies are practiced at rehabilitation facilities around the country, yet I remain a very loud advocate for the benefits of sleep, sleep, sleep, and more sleep interspersed with periods of learning and cognitive challenge."
I believe rest is far more important than anyone understands. So many people pushed me, saying, "It's depression." It WAS depression, because things weren't right, and pushing... didn't really help.

Slowing down, resting, laying down in my little corner... is so necessary. Going s-l-o-w is when I process the past trauma and things change. The more I push, rush, hurry, etc... Everything gets so jumbled, I forget my own name.


  1. I really like both of your posts on this novel... I doubt that I am the friend that recommended it, but I can tell you that I have loved reading this book. I partake of it in pieces, as I can't seem to get down to it and get through it. But, I agree with the statement that this book has so much to say and much wisdom to share with people "in recovery" for any reason.
    I love you.. Thanks for sharing...
    Perhaps I'll go read a bit more from Dr. Jill ;)

  2. I'm a believer in sleep. It's amazing how much better my brain works when I'm well rested.