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Author Topic: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke  (Read 10948 times)

brotherS

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When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« on: March 24, 2008, 10:26:26 AM »
Quote
When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke

As a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor has always known more about brains than most people. But when a brain hemorrhage triggered her own stroke, she suddenly had a front-row seat on the deterioration of the brain.

http://well.blogs.ny...st-suffers-a-stroke/

tomos

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2008, 11:37:47 AM »
hi brotherS
very interesting listen allright

I'm not that clear at the end is she demonising the left brain or just suggesting to move away from the focus on it that we seem to have these days.
Presumably there's a balance in there somewhere...

I wonder do animals have the same brain structure left/right - they seem to be more in the moment anyways = right brain
Tom

nosh

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 12:37:23 PM »
My dog's a southpaw :-*, so right brain makes sense.  I think he's gay too* but that's besides the point.  ;D

Clarification: *too = in addition to being a southpaw. :)

« Last Edit: March 24, 2008, 12:39:56 PM by nosh »

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 05:04:18 PM »
Very interesting... Any neuro scientists or cognitive scientists around to shed some more light on this talk? URLwolf? nontroppo?
Like tomos, to me (obviously left hemisphered  ;)) it seems a bit... "unnuanced"? But touching nevertheless.  :-*

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2008, 05:58:22 PM »
Take a look at her website, and her book :
http://drjilltaylor.com/book.html

[off-topic]
My dog's a southpaw :-*, so right brain makes sense.

Your dog (on your avatar?) looks really cute.  :)[/off-topic]

nosh

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2008, 06:51:19 PM »
[hi-jack]
Thanks Armando, but the dog in the avatar doesn't belong to me, saw him at a pet shop and couldn't resist posing with him. :D
My doggie can be seen in this thread. He's a distant relation of Tinjaw's. ;D
[/hi-jack]
« Last Edit: March 24, 2008, 06:55:03 PM by nosh »

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 07:32:17 PM »
[hi-jack2]
ahaha! Nice, very nice dog.
[/hi-jack2]

Jimdoria

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2008, 11:12:52 AM »
Wow, this video was a terrific! Thanks for the pointer. :Thmbsup: She is an excellent speaker & presenter.
- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 05:21:47 PM »
I agree. I think I'm going to have a look a her book... Interesting perspective, definitely.

Darwin

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2008, 06:55:34 PM »
Fabulous - thank you for posting it, brotherS. I was riveted for 18 minutes and change. Like Armando, I'll be checking out her book. I suspect that rather than demonizing the left hemisphere, she is stressing the importance of each hemisphere complementing the other - striving for balance...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2008, 06:56:42 PM »
[hi-jack]
My doggie can be seen in this thread. He's a distant relation of Tinjaw's. ;D
[/hi-jack]

Heh, heh - I thought you were implying that Tinjaw is distantly related to your dog  :o
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nosh

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2008, 03:04:59 AM »
It was meant to be a double entendre. :P Doggies are like children anyway.
[/no more hi-jacking, I promise]

Deozaan

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2008, 11:38:02 AM »
That was a really good presentation.

The interesting thing about it, and which she should know well from her experience with her brother, is that it isn't normal to experience that kind of thing with a healthy, functioning brain. The euphoria and feeling of being one with the universe is probably very unlikely to happen to someone who is healthy. The only time we hear stories like this is when people are very sick or have a near-death experience, or drug induced hallucinations; it's very obvious that they're unhealthy and not in their "right mind" when these things happen.

I don't mean to sound a cynic. I have been called idealistic, and I do dream of a better, more peaceful world.

It makes me wonder, though, has anybody here experienced something similar? Some euphoric, or peaceful feeling of being separated from yourself as an individual and whole with all around you? (I'm not asking for details of drug trips.)

I have.


tomos

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2008, 02:17:55 PM »
It makes me wonder, though, has anybody here experienced something similar? Some euphoric, or peaceful feeling of being separated from yourself as an individual and whole with all around you? (I'm not asking for details of drug trips.)

I have.

mmm, me too (for brief moments)
if "separated from yourself as an individual" means seperate from the head chatter
and "whole with all around you" means being very aware of everything and feeling like part of it
combined with a feeling of joy (which I reckon at least partly comes from the sense of relief of seperating from all that ... stuff ... that goes on - in my head at least)

I'm not too impressed with "normality" as I know it :) and
I think/hope/believe there is (can be) a balance there - between left and right
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2008, 12:21:50 AM »
mmm, me too (for brief moments)
if "separated from yourself as an individual" means seperate from the head chatter
and "whole with all around you" means being very aware of everything and feeling like part of it
combined with a feeling of joy (which I reckon at least partly comes from the sense of relief of seperating from all that ... stuff ... that goes on - in my head at least)

I'm not too impressed with "normality" as I know it :) and
I think/hope/believe there is (can be) a balance there - between left and right

I had a kind of strange, hard to describe, almost out-of-body or near-death like experience in August 2004. I didn't really feel joy, but I felt peaceful. Actually looking back on it now (and reading what I wrote about it afterward) there are a lot of similarities between what happened to me and what happened to Dr. Taylor. Not in the cause of the experience, but in how the experience played out. Periods of time where I felt separated from my body and one with all around me interrupted sporadically with a voice in my head reminding me that it was me inside that body.

Heck, I'll just paste what I wrote about it here:

Life and Death
I often wondered if I had died that night. The experience was so unreal that I was not sure. But then again, if I had died, why hadn't I had some sort of grand experience of the heavens opening up or some such thing? Why hadn't I found a new appreciation for life and the grand scheme of things? I had seen no angels. I had seen nothing. It was like a night without stars.

That whole day I had been miserable. I was certainly not at my peak health. Usually I just ride out my illnesses, but finally by that night I had had enough and decided to take a trip to the store to get medicine. When I returned I went through my preparations for sleep, including using the bathroom. I lay in bed and waited for sleep to overtake me. Now, sleep rarely comes quickly to me, and that night was no exception. As time passed by I began to feel sleepy, but before I fell asleep a new sensation came over me. I have tried many times to describe this sensation to myself. I tried even while I was experiencing it and could not quite put my finger on it. It was something inside. It was something deeply wrong. It felt as though my blood was rushing through my veins while at the same time my heart kept its regular, slow pace. My chest felt constricted, yet at the same time it felt fine. Whatever was wrong with me, it did not hurt. I was not in pain. Yet the intensity of it grew and grew until I tensed up all my muscles. I released after a few seconds. It was almost like a seizure, except that it was voluntary. I was in control of my muscles. I tensed up on purpose. This seemed to help, at least temporarily. Again and again the intensity increased and I tensed my muscles. Would I ever be able to fall asleep with this going on?

This repeated and repeated and repeated. I cannot say for sure how long this went on before I lost consciousness. I also cannot say for sure whether or not I had fallen asleep, blacked out, or died. Or was there any difference between the three? I just remember everything being still. It was as if the world had been paused. It was as if my mind had been paused. I was still aware, but there were no thoughts. Suddenly a single thought broke through the stillness: Breathe.

I began to breathe again. My eyes cracked open and I was suddenly reminded of my existence. "Oh yeah," I remembered, "I am me. This is where I am." It was as if while my mind was on hold. I had forgotten myself. This is hard to describe. It was as if "I" had no meaning to me. Before I started breathing again I had not been aware of myself. I had simply been an observer, yet I was not a single entity at all.

I stopped breathing again. My mind paused. I was in the third person, just watching the stillness of the dark room. Aware of the figure laying on the bed in below me, yet unconcerned or unaware that it was myself. I was looking past myself, or was I looking at all? I simply knew that there was a small, dark room. A figure laying very still on the bed. A computer on the desk in the closet. I did not need to look around. Everything was before me. I knew every inch of that room without having to move any eyes around. It was as if I was everything in the room at once. I was one with the room and all its contents.

Out of nowhere the thought came again: Breathe. I felt my chest move up and down. I was once again the person laying on the bed. My eyes opened slowly. I remembered again that I was a person, that I was myself. I became aware of my surroundings from my body's point of view. From my eyes. I was in my head again. I was in my body again. My lips were dry and my face was burning. I licked my dry lips. I breathed. I was cold, but not aware enough to do anything about it. My body urged me to use the bathroom. I did. And doing so I wondered where all the fluid was coming from. I didn't drink this much water. Where was it coming from? I knew then that I must have been becoming dehydrated, but at the time I did nothing about it. I simply flushed the toilet and went back to bed.

I stopped breathing and became an all-aware entity at least three or four more times. How long this took me, I cannot say. How long had I gone without air? How long did I regain consciousness and continue breathing? It seemed as though I had always been the third-person observer. As if being in this body was a brand new experience, and I had only had a short time with this body. As if being mortal was a new experience to me. I felt that I had existed for eternities before I was thrust into this carbon shell of flesh, and that after I left this body, I would exist for eternities thereafter.

Eventually I woke up the next day and stayed awake. I was confused and shaken. What had happened that night? I was not sure. I still am not sure. That whole next day I felt different. I felt detached. I felt that slight wrongness that you feel when you've spun around and made yourself dizzy. Something was different. Nothing mattered. I was at peace. I had no desire to do good nor evil. I simply was--I existed--and that was enough for me.



brotherS

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2008, 06:02:21 AM »
Deozaan: thanks for sharing, interesting experience!

The euphoria and feeling of being one with the universe is probably very unlikely to happen to someone who is healthy.

I can't second that. After some years I'm now able to experience this feeling of 'oneness' and inner peace quite often, it's more a way of being for me now instead of a rare event - and I don't need drugs (not even legal ones). It's not euphoria, but it surely feels good!

I reduced my anger to zero and my fears to something close to zero. Now, many people claim they have no fears... until I mention public speaking and cold calling. :D


I have been called idealistic, and I do dream of a better, more peaceful world.

Don't just dream of it, become peaceful and...
"Be the change you want to see in the world. "
-- Gandhi

 :)

Lashiec

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2008, 08:31:31 AM »
Wow, that was scary! (in reference to Deozaan's story)

Deozaan

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2008, 11:10:48 AM »
The euphoria and feeling of being one with the universe is probably very unlikely to happen to someone who is healthy.
I can't second that. After some years I'm now able to experience this feeling of 'oneness' and inner peace quite often, it's more a way of being for me now instead of a rare event - and I don't need drugs (not even legal ones). It's not euphoria, but it surely feels good!

I can't help but feel that there is a difference in what we're talking about.

When I talk about a feeling of "oneness" with my surroundings, I am not talking about living in harmony, being content and happy. I mean literally not being able to distinguish your own identity or physical body with those things around you. Like Dr. Taylor describing how she wasn't sure where the boundaries of her arm and the wall were. She literally felt as one with everything around herself because she couldn't distinguish or individualize herself from the objects and energy and space around herself.

I might be misunderstanding you, BrotherS, but when you say you have feelings of "oneness" and inner peace, it sounds to me more like you're just describing your ability to reduce your anger to zero and fears to nearly zero. Being happy and at peace with your life is not the same thing as the oneness I'm trying to describe; nor do I think it's the same thing Dr. Taylor was describing either.


brotherS

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2008, 11:14:12 AM »
OK, then I totally agree, THAT kind of oneness IS indeed very unlikely to happen to someone who is healthy.

(And the kind of oneness and peace I was speaking about isn't spread that far either.)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2008, 11:16:01 AM by brotherS »

brotherS

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2008, 03:58:44 AM »
Watched the video (first post above) again, still awesome!

And looking back at my previous post: I also now experience oneness more as a way of being, which is quite amazing...  :-*

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2008, 05:22:40 PM »
brotherS : Do you know about Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) -- closely related to mindfulness approaches? it is a very interesting approach in psychology. You might like the approach, if you enjoyed Jill Taylor's conference and book.

brotherS

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2008, 03:51:11 AM »
Before I come to the topic let me say I found it funny to see that (as of now) you have virtually the same amount of forum posts and also joined DC only one month after me! 8)

brotherS : Do you know about Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) -- closely related to mindfulness approaches? it is a very interesting approach in psychology. You might like the approach, if you enjoyed Jill Taylor's conference and book.
Interesting... never heard of ACT, but I agree with its fundamentals (found on http://en.wikipedia....d_Commitment_Therapy), it's at least a good start:
Quote
As a simple way to summarize the model, you can say that ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the acronym, FEAR:

Fusion with your thoughts
Evaluation of experience
Avoidance of your experience
Reason giving for your behaviour

And the healthy alternative is to ACT:

Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Take action

Armando

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Re: When a Brain Scientist Suffers a Stroke
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2008, 09:09:27 PM »
Same amount of forum posts again...  :Thmbsup:

Yes, ACT has lots of potential. The website mentioned above gives some good info. This one too : http://www.actmindfu...;_commitment_therapy

There are also a few good very accessible and pragmatic books on the subject, like The happiness trap (with the excellent website accompanying the book's content : http://www.thehappinesstrap.com/) and Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life. Most of the good ACT books are mentioned here, on the "happiness trap" website.

This ACT stuff seems to have a lot in common with Jill Bolte Taylor's reflections, and other thinker/researchers studying-practicing mindfulness and/or other related path/ideas (like Jon Kabat-Zinn).