My right hand, the one I use and need for everything. Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with focal hand dystonia, or severe writer’s cramp, in my right hand. I have tried many different treatments, always keeping away from extreme measures. Recently, I am trying something a bit different. Part of this treatment involves me thinking of what my dystonia has taken away from me, but also, what it has given me. So, I decided to write about them here.
There are three main aspects in my life that have been affected by my dystonia. First, it has taken away my fine motor skills. This affects everything, but what I miss the most is my handwriting and art skills. Second, it has taken away strength in my hand. This mainly affects actions like holding a glass, a plate, I drop things a lot. Third, it has taken away relaxed muscles. The muscles in my lower neck, shoulders and especially my entire right arm are in constant spasms. Fine motor skills, strength, relaxed muscles. All taken away.
Yet what has this dystonia given me? First, I have learned that I have an amazing left hand. I have been able to learn to use it to the point where I might be ambidextrous. Having the fine motor skills taken from right hand, gave me the opportunity to realize I had a powerful tool right next to me, literally. Funny, how sometimes we don’t see solutions that are sitting right next to us. Second, I have come to realize that my right hand needs the left one. It does not have to hold things on its own. Strength doesn’t only come from one place. Interesting, how sometimes we think we need to be strong on our own. Third, my tense muscles have forced me to seek for relief. To get a massage, to meditate, to rest. Sadly, sometimes we do not take the time to do so.
So, yes, my dystonia has taken some things away from me, but what it has given me is far deeper. My dystonia has made me realize that the answer sometimes lies within us. My dystonia has made me realize that together we are stronger. My dystonia has made me realize the power of self-care. All important gifts we can give ourselves, no matter what.