I’ve been using a wheelchair for the most recent fifteen years of my life. But curiously I’m always walking in my dreams!
In them I’m usually not at home. I’m usually walking around a building, a shopping center, a store. Even outside.
And it is only recently that I’ve started to occasionally notice that I’m holding a cane or crutch in my dreams. But I am still walking.
When They Were Young
In my dreamscape, the wheelchair does not ever appear. It seems my brain knows it does not belong.(I wonder if someone who has been confined to a chair since birth appears moving that way in their dreams.)
I used to be proud of my long legs; now they get in the way a lot of the time. Still, I would not like to have them removed, so that’s something. Even as inconvenient as they can be, there’s always the chance that I’ll need them someday.
But I also used to consider my legs to be fat. I was ashamed that their was no space showing between my thighs, for example. Now that I’ve lost so much muscle, they’re definitely skinny, but not in a good way. Be careful what you wish for!
Is Dreaming Visualization?
I’ve been reading about sports visualization. And I wonder if I can take advantage of the finding that your body experiences muscle movement whether it’s real or imagined. To rehearse what it would be like to walk again.
Since the brain does not distinguish between real and imagined actions (see here), does it count when I’m sleeping? Am I getting the experience of walking in my dreams?
There are also new products that potentially would allow me to be more mobile, like using a lifeglider, for example. Yes, I definitely would need legs for this!
These days I spend most of my time indoors in a wheelchair. I am reluctant to get overheated, to spend a lot of time outside in the sun, so I stay inside like a housebound vampire.
It is not really a hardship for me because I like to spend time alone, to think and read and learn. I enjoy research and I don’t miss hiking or yoga or Tai Chi outside. I don’t miss it but I wish I had the choice to go outside at a moment’s notice if I wanted to.
At this point I understand that I may never walk again. Unless a cure is found, or even a way to reverse the damage done to my myelin.
But then again I see no harm in adding guided visualization about walking to my daily routine. 🙂
WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK