This chapter examines how immobility caused by neurological conditions may be experienced in chronic illness; examining how immobile bodily processes may limit the ability to enact psychological and social opportunities. Immobility in neurological conditions may evolve gradually, slowly eroding the potential activity of the individual, or it may appear suddenly, out-of-the-blue. In conditions such as motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, the point of diagnosis may feel like a bombshell as the individual is confronted with a potential future of immobility and life may feel like it’s over (Pretorius and Joubert 2014, 6; Sakellariou, Boniface and Brown 2013, 1770-1771; Smith and Shaw 2017, 16). In conditions such as stroke or brain injury immobility is presented as a sudden, startling reality. This may feel cataclysmic and sit in stark contrast with the remembered mobility of the past and a now uncertain future. The abrupt and unexpected nature of immobility can create a unique disruption to how the relationship between the body and self are experienced and conceptualised which has implications for how the individual is able to navigate the social environment (Faircloth et al. 2005, 933-936; Vigh 2009, 425). These themes will be explored later in the chapter, against the backdrop of a recent phenomenological study detailing the (im)mobility experiences of 16 stroke survivors. To pick apart how (im)mobility is experienced in chronic illness, this chapter will provide focus on the individual experience of physiological processes of immobility, linking this to the self, identity, social navigation and existential mobility (Browning and Joenniemi 2017, 40; Janssens 2018, 7; Vigh 2009, 425).
Stott, H. (2020). Embodied perceptions of immobility after stroke. In Immobility and Medicine Exploring Stillness, Waiting and the In-Between (155-184). Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan