Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke Survivors Story


I just recently watched an amazing video, presented by scientist and stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor. She shares that her interest in studying the brain began with her brother who suffers from Schizophrenia. She explains that she traveled as an Advocate for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) on weekends and evenings, and by day was very involved in mapping the brain to decipher the biological difference between a “normal” brain, and the brain of those suffering from Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, and Bi-polar disorder. She describes her life as very full and satisfying.

Then on December 10, 1996 she shares that she woke up with a “mental illness” of her own – she was suffering from a stroke. As she experienced the stroke, she was also using her scientific knowledge to explore and understand what was happening to her. She shares her experience in depth, walking through each stage of that first day, what she thought and how she felt and tying that back into the functions of the brain. Jill states that in the space of four hours she watched her “brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information on the morning of the hemorrhage I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life, I essential became an infant in a woman’s body”.

Jill goes on further to explain the differences between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Explaining that the right hemisphere is all about the here and now, and thinks in pictures; the left hemisphere on the other hand thinks linearly and methodically, focused on the past and future, cataloging and thinking in language.

This was no simple journey for Jill, following the stroke she spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. There is a lot of wonderful information in this video; I ended up watching it several times. I encourage you to watch it too.

Click here to watch the video TED | Talks | Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight (video)*

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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