Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mind and Body

The sleeping episode yesterday has driven home the reality of a much larger issue I have been facing lately, an issue which has been apparent to me from the beginnings of my journey with ALS, but has, so far, been confined to the sidelines by my approach to life and living. I am beginning to have to deal with the certainty of physical failure. I am seeing, in a real and tangible way, that my mind and my body have become two separate entities, one working well and the other failing constantly.

It might seem a little weird to talk of mind and body as two separate things, especially in the physical realm. The more spiritually enlightened amongst us have long known that you can separate these two things. Most of us use some sort of chemical agent or drug to assist in this separation, to help us "get out of our own body". There are people who regularly speak of "out of body" experiences. Alas, mine are not at all like that.

What I am dealing with is the more practical reality, that my mind says I am ready to go while my body insists that it is not. I see this most prevalent in my sleeping, or more correctly, my awakening patterns. I wake up, at least my brain wakes up, after about 8 hours of sleep, often even less. My brain feels good, ready to go, alert and alive. Then I ask my body to move; it has become like a delayed second request. My body says "No thanks. I want to sleep." So even though my brain feels ready to go, I simply am unable to make my body move as I wish.

It goes a bit deeper than this simple connection. I've been losing physical control of my body for almost four years. It started with the smallest of things, the most dismissable things. As time has gone by, the failed link between mind and body has become clearer, more evident. Yet even with this powerful physical evidence I was able to ignore the facts and simply push myself to do things in other ways. No legs; no problem, get me a wheelchair, a lift, a grabby stick. Arms tired; no problem, use the power wheelchair, get someone to push, call friends.

Now, however, I can clearly see the loss of function, of all things, in the waking process. I wake up mentally ready but my body just can't do it. My brain is awake while my body demands rest. My mornings almost always start with an hour or so of just staying in bed waiting for my body to catch up with my mind. I use this time; it's a place where my mind can be creative without my body participating. I also doze, slumber flowing in and out of this period of enforced idle.

It's a strange time, and a strange thing to see. I know my mind would go if my body would permit. I know I can function mentally; it's the physical that is failing me. My mind is active and my body is failing; that's what ALS is all about.

1 comment:

  1. That is so sad Rick even though we know it is inevitable. I hope you can delay the mis functioning of your body for some time to come. love you darling Mom