Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Blessing on the God/Muse Frustration

Last night on NPR, I heard the interview with Mark Kelly, husband of Gabrielle Giffords, about his wife's ongoing recovery. There is plenty to say about all of that, but my focus tonight is frustration, a discomfort that we are all familiar with.

Mark Kelly said that although his wife has made enormous strides since her traumatic brain injury last January, she gets frustrated with the slow progress and her limitations. Who can blame her? He also described a moment in the hospital when she first seemed to realize that she couldn't speak, and the terrible panic and agitation that overcame her. One can only imagine what that realization must have felt like.
     Here's the thing he said about frustration that struck me:
You know, she struggles. She gets frustrated. I have to remind her that that's a good thing.
You know, getting frustrated--from what I understand--is one of those things that's helped rebuild those connections in her brain, is that frustration. So we try to make sure that she's frustrated.
 Ah-ha, I thought, frustration as a motivator and a repairer. You're on the verge, says the frustrated brain, so hard at work. Go tear out your hair, but then get back to it. You're almost there. Don't abandon me now.

I wonder if it's always the hair they're tearing out because the hair is so close to the brain.


Jim Poznak said...

I will try to remember that frustration is good, but I'll probably forget, which will frustrate me.

Susan Messer said...

Now there's a dilemma. But I think it's for the best because I'm guessing that in order for frustration to "do its work," it has to be fully experienced. No smiley faces to counterbalance it.

About Me said...

I like this idea. Frustration as a key to problem solving. But you have to stay with the problem and live with the frustration.

Susan Messer said...


Patry Francis said...

Enjoyed catching up here tonight. I leave thinking of many things: the positive side of frustration (yes!)
habituation, and the heartbreaking mysteries of color and time.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I'm grateful for Susan.

Susan Messer said...

Same here, Patry. I have been thinking of you with gratitude. Especially when I rolled out the crust for my apple pie. Will be in touch soon. Much love to you and yours.