Interesteing phenomenon .......or is it just me

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by timer lady, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I had to find something to fill my time during this recovery period; no one seem to know what exactly it is I'm recovering from or how long this recovery period will be. I have lingering cognitive issues along with very apparent short term memory problems. I can read the music however I cannot make my fingers follow the music on the piano. I'm not even going to mention golf. It's been very frustrating - even depressing.

    No one is even hazarding a guess. On the plus side, I'm no longer needing a walker, unless it's a long outing (for me that over 2 hours). I've been discharged to outpatient physical therapy & I've been approved for driving a 5 mile radius daily.

    Done with the whine - I started a nature journal. I sit in my backyard & record observations of what is going on. The birds, changes in plants, trees - anything else going on in my yard. I'm looking forward to being able to hike through a forest to make a record of nature.

    I've never been able to draw in my life. I've always used stick figures & such.

    I showed my therapist & my GP my nature journal earlier this week commenting on how all of a sudden I not only can draw; I seem to be able to do it very well. Both my GP & therapist were seriously impressed.

    GP suggested that quite possibly my right brain has taken over for my left brain. (I'm a staff accountant, however I can't seem to balance the checkbook or pay bills with-o making mistakes. Huge concern for me.)

    I'm having a gas producing this artwork. That's what husband calls it - artwork. I've never ever considered anything I've done artwork. However, I must say that I seem to have developed an artistic bent.

    husband is going to scan my artwork so I can post it on my little website. Not sure I want it hanging out there - he's quite proud.

    therapist is going to do some research into this.

    Have any of you heard of this kind of thing?
  2. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I've never heard of anything like what you're describing before. It's amazing!!! I would love to see your artwork!!! If you're ok with it, will you post some of it for us to admire???

    I hope your short term memory problems and cognitive issues continue to improve. I always keep you in my prayers... WFEN
  3. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Nope, never heard of it....but I'm reminded of the book/movie "Charly" where a *miracle drug* transforms a man's (Cliff Robertson) abilities. It was fiction but you read articles all the time about the impact of brain injuries/healing/compensating- think Bob Woodruff!

    I'm really happy for this extraordinary gift, Linda. You have a lilt in your cyber-voice and it is good to hear.

  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Linda, that's terrific!! Just think, a new avenue for you to explore! The body is very complicated, isn't it? I'm SO happy that you are finding something very interesting to do during your rehab!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I havent developed any extra powers but I have lost my ability to do any math whatsoever. I got my degree in Accounting and graduated with a 4.0 so one would assume I could at least do basic math well. Not anymore! Paying bills is a nightmare for me. Forget balancing a checkbook. I rarely write checks and I have a few things coming out directly from my account and one thing I send out through Bill pay...the other stuff I pay cash for. Its the only way I can do it. I cant make change. I cant divide and forget fractions. I keep a card in my wallet with basic stuff that the grocery store puts on sale like 2/5 and such.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    I think the phenomenon is a form of compensation. When the left side of your brain was damaged by the illness, your right side began to step up and take over. It's kind of like someone that loses their sense of sight developing a keener sense of hearing, touch or smell.
    Just think of all the previously hidden talents you now have to explore!
  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    I can relate, to a degree.

    I was never a budding pianist, I tinkered around and played by ear. I have musical background since 4th grade (Saxophone) and was able to teach myself a few songs on the piano with that knowledge.

    I also have always been a clever CARTOONIST, but could never draw anything that looked real.

    In the past 6 months (since about the time I got sick, and like you, we don't know the extent of what is wrong with me), I have not been able to play anything on the piano. Similarly, I have more typos than I have ever had in my life (yay spellcheck). And I have not been able to work on my crosstitch. My fingers do not go where I want them to go. At all.

    Much of my summer has been spend in the A/C, where I could breathe, laying on my bed, often watching TV. Out of boredom, I have found myself drawing pictures of characters on TV. Some cartoony, some to look real. And the real ones...look real!

    I drew a picture of Judge Hatchett that startled ME! It looks like her SO MUCH. ANd this is just an ink pen on notebook paper.

    Maybe there is a compensation thing! I was really starting to feel bad about not being able to do the things I love.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Linda the brain is SO fascinating.........and beyond most of our comprehension in it's abilities. Two books that I read, that revealed a lot to me about how the brain works are:

    Inside the Brain by Ronald Kotulak
    A User's Guide to the Brain by John Ratey

    These are both quite revealing so they might be worth a read.
  9. blb

    blb New Member


    On a quickie search, (I'm running out the door) I found this

    click here

    Just tried to click onto the link and they let you once, then they try to make you pay for it, so here's the abstract, maybe you could find it in the library?

    Neurological Disorders in Famous Artists - Part 2

    De novo Artistic Behaviour following Brain Injury

    Pollak T, Mulvenna C, Lythgoe M

    Bogousslavsky J, Hennerici MG (eds): Neurological Disorders in Famous Artists - Part 2. Front Neurol Neurosci. Basel, Karger, 2007, vol 22, pp 75-88 (DOI: 10.1159/000102873)

    Article (PDF 201 KB) Free Preview
    Opens in a new window Medline Abstract (ID 17495506)

    The effect of brain injury and disease on the output of established artists is an object of much study and debate. The emergence of de novo artistic behaviour following such injury or disease, while very rare, has been recorded in cases of frontotemporal dementia, epilepsy, subarachnoid haemorrhage and Parkinson’s disease. This may be an underdiagnosed phenomenon and may represent an opportunity to further understand the neural bases of creative thought and behaviour in man and those of cognitive change after brain injury. There is clearly an important role for hemispheric localization of pathology, which is usually within the temporal cortex, upon the medium of artistic expression, and a likely role for mild frontal cortical dysfunction in producing certain behavioural and cognitive characteristics that may be conducive to the production of art. Possible mechanisms of ‘artistic drive’ and ‘creative idea generation’ in these patients are also considered. The increased recognition and responsible nurturing of this behaviour in patients may serve as a source of great comfort to individuals and their families at an otherwise difficult time.

    Think this is what you are talking about. Will try to find more later
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    All I can say Linda, is when life gives you lemons ...
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Gosh, I've always wanted to have an artistic ability. Enjoy!

    I was reading an autism article and recalled something from it when I read your thread: In patients with frontotemporal dementia, Miller et al found that loss of function in the anterior temporal lobes led to the facilitation of artistic skills. The patients’ drawings “looked like autistic savant art,” said Dr. Grandin. “But they are from patients with frontotemporal dementia who had no previous interest in art. As their language parts got wrecked, their [artistic] talents came out. Language is covering up the more sensory-based kind of thinking.” It's from

    Have no idea whether it's related to your situation in some way.

    Good to hear you continue to recover!
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Thanks ladies - whatever is behind this, I'm grateful. It's helped me pass time - to keep the depression at bay.

    blb, thanks for the search - I'd be interested in the entire article; I wasn't able to get at it today. If you can point me in other directions I'd appreciate it.

    I've thought it over - even if there isn't a scientific or medical explanation for this - I chose to believe my mom is behind this. I truly believe that she's my guardian angel; in heaven watching over us. I know she isn't letting a one of us die unless she approves.

    I'll continue to enjoy this pastime.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is amazing! If I ever developed artistic skills it would be considered a miracle. I'm excited that this has been a blessing with all the hardships you have had to deal with since your illness. Hugs.
  14. blb

    blb New Member

    Linda, try clicking on this link below
    brain injury & new artistic talent

    That article I sent you is part of a book, you should be able to find it in your public library.

    Hope this helps
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911


    My former boss' brother was an average Joe. One day he was in a car wreck and took a pretty good hit to his head. He was in a coma for weeks.

    When he came out of the coma, he couldn't get enough 'input'. He read something like 2 or 3 books a day. Read the entire bible and MEMORIZED it verse by verse in less than 2 days.

    Today he is like a walking encyclopedia. He suffers from headaches on a daily basis, but the knowledge he has gained is somewhere between remarkable and seriously scary. I gave him a card of my psychologist and asked him to go see him as he's depressed that he can no longer carry on "normal" average conversations.

    It's like the bonk in the head made him a genius.

    Maybe you've been able to draw all along you just needed some "relaxing" time to be able to find that gift and dig it out of your trunk (so to speak)

    I'd love to see your work. I draw too (but oddly enough NEVER while I was married) after I divorced I've turned out some great things. I'm never satisfied with them (except for the grizzly bear on a saw blade) but the rest I critique to the nth.

    Good on ya for the new found talent!
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I'm debating whether to post any of my work or not. I do know, however, that this has become my hiding place. My nature journaling each morning & evening has become my sacred time & I lose myself in drawing & now simple water color painting.

    husband is very impressed - I just finished a water color painting & husband thinks I should have it framed & give it to my brother as a wedding gift. Again - I don't know. I'd have to see it framed.

    I'm enjoying this pastime. I hope it lasts a long time.
  17. Penta

    Penta New Member

    I am so glad you are experiencing the healing power of Nature. Nature has helped me over the years through every sudden traumatic life event. When I had to relocate suddenly 2 years ago to the desert southwest, every day I would walk on the trails out in the desert...just me, the endless sky, mountains on all horizons, and desert plants and wildlife. My soul was soothed. And these walks brought out my inner creative being and I began to do decoupage with botanicals on small boxes.

    My spirit is renewed being out in Nature....Enjoy your new found gift!
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There's a bloke in Australia researching autism and brain function, he reckons he's found a way to switch off some of the higher functions in his brain to try to trigger this sort of emergent artistic ability.

    There are a number of possible explanations for this, including t he brain damage theory. For most people, artistic ability is generally on the right side of the brain, which also controls the left side of the body. People born left-handed are often more artistically inclined, while those born right-handed tend to me more mathematical. But not always.

    I was probably born right-handed, but chose to copy my brain-damaged and now left-handed sister, and use my left hand. She isn't terribly artistic (ie she doesn't draw much) but is very good at interior design. Her twin (non-identical) is a very artistic right-hander, and our oldest sister was born left-handed and is VERY artistic, but was forced to change to right handed at school. She had a lot of problems with her development - she developed a bad stammer for some time, associated with changing hands.

    So the link isn't absolute. There are a lot of other factors also, when it comes to artistic ability. Think about how you draw - when you draw, are you mentally labelling what you draw? Do you mentally say to yourself, "This is a bird's wing; this is the feathers in its tail," or do you think, "It curves this way and then kinks that way and round a bit more."
    If the first one, then you are still a very left-brained artist. If the second, then it really is the right hand side of your brain you are using.

    I write a lot. Not only here! And something we talk about in writing workshops, is the difference between using left brain or right brain. because we're using words, which tend to be a left brain thing, we have to constantly switch. We're writing about images, sensations, ideas and concepts, which are right-brain. When we're actively creating, we let the words flow and they do so from the right brain. But when we edit - that's left brain. Being able to switch frequently is a rare talent and a useful one.

    Linda, this could be connected to some degree of damage in your left brain. or it could simply be that you are a talented right hander who has finally got the time to sit and work on something new.

    I'm glad you're enjoying it.

  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You should make that your avatar Linda!