In her remarkable book, My Stroke Of Insight by neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, I was taken on her profoundly objective tour of her own life trauma. As a neuroanatomist who taught and performed research at Harvard Medical School, when Taylor had an abrupt eruption of blood vessels in her brain, she witnessed her own brain deteriorate as she struggled through her stroke. This book is a journey of that event, and the eight years after, that brought her from an unsuspecting brain scientist with a congenital defect waiting to challenger her, to a stroke survivor who was able to document everything with a curious mind, and spread a brilliant message. She explains so much in factual science, what her conditions were, and how to recover, all while challenging the reader to objectively explore the subjective elements of living a wonderful life.
The power of her mother’s love is also a noted part of this book. G.G. as she’s known, pushes her daughter Jill through recovery and is always present to support both the successes and failures as caregivers often do. G.G. had to teach her things like reading and math again and a team of medical professionals helped her regain her life’s functionality. There’s a chapter where Taylor describes a list of things she needed most in her recovery and I found this to be an amazing chapter. The things she describes are the same things people need most to live a resilient and fulfilling life, and she showcases these needs in a straightforward way. She combines her personal philosophies and factual findings together to give the reader an outcome needed by all of us – hope and a roadmap to happiness.
This is an extremely well-crafted book, and Jill Bolte Taylor heroically embraces life on her terms and in the best of ways. There’s a lot to learn from this – about brain science, the human condition, recovery tactics – and is a wonderful package of determination to rise from the unthinkable. To read the impact and recovery of her stroke through the eyes of a brain scientist is truly a read worth remembering.
See here for Bolte Taylor’s TedTalk: “Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.”