Thursday, November 1, 2012

Internal motivation and loss

Sandy came and went. Unfortunately there are other places like NYC, NJ and also CT that are still dealing with the aftermath. The skies are gray here and it will rain for the next couple of days. Some people have been so uprooted, lost homes and loved ones that dealing with a gray day is not that hard, as long as it is calm.

There is always another person on this earth who is experiencing terrible things, like the victims after Sandy and other natural disasters or starvation in Africa and here, wars and fighting around the world and so on. In my own life, I try and "maintain" myself as best as I can given my own circumstances. After all, that is all I can do.

Things that help me to stay balanced involve staying in control of things as best as I can. You know, I amaze myself. I can stay in my house for days and not get bored. My mind is always learning things and sometimes too much. For example I just took a walk to the mailbox and had an interesting thought. My WalkAide is programed to lift my left foot every time I go to take a step. So, I thought I would pretend by telling my brain to "lift" every time I took a step, just like I was doing it naturally. The brain knows you are doing this but maybe, just maybe it might learn to redo this activity that it once did. So now every time I walk, I tell my brain to lift my foot as if I was doing this and not the WalkAide. point is that I am internally motivated to do so many things. I don't have to go somewhere else to get stimulated to live my life. Is there something wrong with me? I don't think so. I must be motivated differently than some others.

I am just grateful for what I have in life even though I have lost a lot. So, people can experience loss in many different ways. The way we handle this loss is also different. NPR just had a piece on about stroke patients and constraint induced movement or CIM. Talk about being internally motivated. People who have had a stroke go through long rehab sessions with therapists who will constrain the able limb and ask patients to try and move the challenged limb. Talk about feeling helpless. I know what that internal dialogue feels like. No matter how much I try, the damaged highway is not allowing signals to go to the limb, in this case my foot, to tell it to lift. You can tell it until you are fed up, think of stroke survivors. Their loss is great, just like mine but there is no CIM in MS. I wonder why? It is so similar. Sometimes I feel like my body on the left side is weak and heavy, not like the other side.

Is all loss the same? Of course not but there are elements that are similar. Now MS and stroke, these are self-losses, or for example  my young friend Kate who is blind. All loss has some sort of tragedy attached to it. Whether Sandy or death of a loved one or one's own health.

Loss is loss but internal motivation -- when the going gets tough may be my magic bullet.

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