I was reading a fascinating article the other day on Alien Hand Syndrome. Medical News Today describes the syndrome thusly, "AHS is a rare motor disorder characterized by involuntary, yet purposeful activity in one hand." For example, a person with the condition may start buttoning their shirt with one hand, while the other hand unbuttons it without them realizing.
In severe cases, the "alien hand" may be aggressive; there have been reports of people with the condition spontaneously hitting and slapping themselves, while some patients have even reported that their out-of-control hand tries to choke them.
One case of the latter was described in a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry: an 81-year-old woman reported that she "feared" her left hand, after it repeatedly hit her and attempted to strangle her.
Medical News Today reports that brain scans of patients with AHS have indicated that the condition may arise because of lesions in areas of the brain involved in motor control, planning, and sensory relay. These lesions can form as the result of a stroke, Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors or medical seizures.
Scary stuff! If it were not a real disease, one would think I was reading a bad horror novel. There is currently no known cure for AHS and physical and mental therapy helps in a small percentage of cases.
Imagine being one of those poor souls who has to deal with this disease. Literally, your left hand does not know what your right hand is doing. In some cases, it could be trying to kill you. A real-life nightmare from which there is no waking up.
Everyone is dealing with something in this life. Try to remember that when you encounter a person who is being less than pleasant. Usually, there is a reason for their mood. In most cases, it has little or nothing to do with you and what they are addressing with you.
We all need to try to give our fellow man a break from time to time. Tempers are shorter and feeling are more sensitive, now more than ever. Compassion and empathy are needed in big doses.
"We are all in this together" is a phrase quoted a lot these days. Unfortunately, there are individuals in this world who have a tough time believing that statement. Take, for instance, the single mom who works two jobs and struggles to find someone to watch her kids while she has to work the late shift. Or the married father of two whose truck was totaled by an uninsured motorist and he could only afford liability insurance on his truck. Therefore, he is stuck without transportation to and from work. In these circumstances, folks can feel awfully alone.
Think about these kinds of things when you feel like someone is being less than agreeable with you. More times than not I am sure there is something lurking in the background taking its toll on the person. Help them feel less alone by greeting their unpleasantness with kindness. I bet it will even improve your mood, too.
Because at the end of the day the vast majority of us do not have to live in fear of our left hand choking us to death in our sleep. That, my friends, is something we should all be grateful for.