Monday, May 08, 2006

Yearning to Be Normal

" My body is suffering, my mind is sometimes neurotic, but my soul is at peace."
- Dr. Dan Gottlieb, on Fresh Air with Terry Gross

This statement caught my attention today as I scanned through radio stations during my 10-minute drive to pick Jamie up from school. Dan Gottlieb is a psychologist who hosts a radio program, Voices in the Family, on our local NPR station. I've heard his show once or twice, enough to recognize his voice, though my husband and I always joke that his show is sort of depressing, as in, "Let's talk about pain and suffering."

Today, NPR was replaying an interview of him by Terry Gross, host of a really great interview show called Fresh Air, and I learned something surprising. It turns out that Dr. Gottlieb is/was a quadriplegic, injured in a car accident twenty years ago (he's now partially recovered but still in a wheelchair). He's just written a book, Letters to Sam, imparting life lessons about being different to his grandson who suffers from autism.

I just loved his statement about his body hurting but his soul at peace. That's what I aspire to achieve (well, I'd love to skip the body suffering part, but you can't have everything). Plus, there's nothing like hearing about someone worse off than you to shake yourself out of any thoughts of self-pity. He was a quadriplegic and is now in a wheelchair...and I think my life is filled with limits??

Terry asked if he ever just falls apart, since he always seems so together. He said that one day when he was driving his specially-adapted van, he passed a guy jogging along the side of the road, and he just burst into tears and had to pull over. It was an every-day sort of thing to see, but it just hit him a certain way.

I don't for a moment think that living with CFIDS is on a par with life as a quadriplegic, but I've had those moments, too. In fact, seeing someone running can hit me hard, too. I mean, I could run, but I'd suffer for it for many days. I try so hard to just keep living my life, focusing on what I can do, and finding joy in everyday stuff, but sometimes the yearning to be normal can hit you like a punch in the gut.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hi Sue,

I totally am there with you about Dr Gottlieb's statement and about the way he is. It does take a story like his to remind us of just how lucky we are, eh?

I actually think that one of the blessings (if you could call it that!) of being struck down with ME/CFS is that I take things which seemed so unimportant before, far more seriously! I never worried about tomorrow or how it would affect me, activity-wise. I never stopped to draw breath or consider others around me. I didn't make time to look at beautiful scenery or be grateful for a friend's visit. Each one of these things is now far more precious to me, and for that feeling, I am so privileged!!