Connecting that behaviors are linked to brain health is often confusing. The distance traveled to reach that point may have been long. It may have involved experiences painful to themselves and their loved ones.
For example, they may have lost a job because they couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. A divorce might have come after changing into someone irritable and angry. A trucker might no longer be able to drive on the freeway because of panic. But once they connect that this change in personality relates to a change in their brain health, how do they feel about that?
Some people feel relief. That they didn’t personally fail. That they aren’t a bad Christian. That it wasn’t because they didn’t try hard enough to “feel good,” to stop itching, to get up and do something with their life, to quit gambling, etc… Maybe they feel for a moment that judgment can be suspended for them.
However there is a group of people, maybe overlapping these, who feel betrayed. Betrayed by their very essence. The question of, if they can’t trust themselves, what is real in life at all? They struggle with the shame of betraying their own person. “Who am I if I’m not…?” and the questions roll on. It must be a question for all of us with changing bodies, Who are you if your mind gets sick?
There is the temporal line of thought, that if your brain changes, your memories, your personality, than you change. Your human form is different. Like getting your arm cut off, you have to grieve and grow a new picture of how you see yourself. A changing person through the span of life. This is in fact healthy adaptation.
There is also a thread in this weave of believing that our essence isn’t wholly related to our changing bodies. That somehow when the various curtains of life fall and open and the final curtain comes around, that this bit remains. I don’t think you can believe this unless you believe in a Love which is stronger than death.
Love is stronger than the death of my neurons, my dendritic connections, stronger than the death of my mind.
The adaptability needed for this life is a no-brainer. We can’t survive if we don’t. It takes courage to adapt when your person is changing. It takes courage when you are loosing yourself. Such courage, like someone in war or flight or determined movement that others could only imagine.
But how you define your essence also matters. I see it as a related step, but also apart from these excellent coping skills. I see it as a matter of Love. It’s win-win when Love weaves through you.
Self Care Tip #16 – Choose Love. Be a friend to yourself.