Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Belief; scripts; reminders

A very interesting First Experience of the New Physical Therapists, yesterday. I have another appointment tomorrow, with someone else of a different specialty--a "gait" person, I think.

I do like the Tuesday therapist. A very nice person, I think she may be "one of us" (a fellow MSer), I think that's what I heard... Whether she is or isn't, she's a very nice person.

She does seem to be running off a bit of a "script," I'm sure she's done this very First Physical Therapy With MS Sufferer time and time again, but I tend to be "off script" for a lot of what she has planned and practiced saying.

But, this script/off-script dissonance was not without it's interesting moments...

I was having a hard time with one of the exercises, and she told me, "You need to believe that you can do it. You need to believe that you actually have control. If you believe that you don't have control, you won't ever have control."

But I said, "Belief has nothing to do with it. I never get as far as 'belief.' It's 'observation.' I try to do something; I don't have control. I can tell that I don't have control. I don't need to believe anything. Belief doesn't enter into it; it's what I perceive."

She, of course, is right; if you believe that you'll never have something, odds are that you never will. If you believe that you don't have something, odds are that you'll never notice that you actually do.

But I'm not believing that I don't have control. I'm observing that I don't have control.

Now, what may be the common truth that underlies us both is that "don't have" is an overstatement; even a mis-statement. The truth is that I do have control, just not the control that I have always, to this point, called "control." And this is different how from the "lack of control" that I felt when learning how to play musical instruments? The area of my life with which I have a great deal of practice about not being "in control"?

The difference is that when facing Whatever Instrument and playing it badly, I was in complete control. I just didn't know what was the correct thing to do, I didn't know what the correct way to do things was.  And always immediately under the surface was a single word: now. I can't play it correctly now. But if I work at it, I can. (Except for the things that I don't seem to be able to do because I just don't seem to be wired for it. I'm a better timpanist than a xylophone player, I'm a better organist than a jazz-fusion drummer. Or was, at least, before the onset of the neurological nonsense.)

And here is where the common-truth between the two of us lies hidden. Part of it is a deficiency of language; it's not that I have large-air-quotes NO control, it's that the control that I do have is significantly lower than I am used to, and compared to that prior experience, I term to be at the level of "might-as-well-call-it 'no' control." Now, is there a belief hiding there, somewhere? A belief that I have "no control?" Well, "no" may be too harsh... but from my point of view, it's at the level of "might just as well be 'no' control, for all the good it feels like it does me, or--more importantly--the good that I can do with those limbs."

"Wicked limited." I'll try that next time. Oh, this might be better: "Unpleasantly limited." Because, let's be honest; the crappy control is indeed unpleasant.

Do I "believe" that this is permanent? No, I have no reason to expect that to be true, although somehow I think that forcibly calling it "temporary" is a different kind of "intruding belief." State of permanence has no bearing, impact, or effect of any kind on the state of "now."

Should I use a more accurate turn of phrase? And do choose not to be self-limiting? Oh yeah. Quite so. And this was indeed a good, and welcome-post-facto, reminder.

But "belief"? Unless you're going down the road of "If you only had the faith the size of a mustard seed," let's stay away from "belief."

She and I both need to stay away from the road of "belief"; the Neurological Highway has its own divots aplenty, no need to add more.

When she went there, I didn't like it... but yeah, the more I think about it: Good reminder (even if that's not precisely what her script had called for).

Well, I told you I was off script... But, that's my happy place... being an outlier. After all... I do it so well, neurological nonsense or not.

1 comment:

Gail said...

HI ROBERT - sounds like this PT stirred up some stuff in you. I think its a good thing. Usually, for me, it is when there is a grain of truth in what some one else "believes" as it may apply to me is when I am most defended if I have been holding to another "belief"...this is a multi layered topic, and this forum is not the place to even begin to let it unravel. Any-who, sounds like you are being challenged.
Love Gail