Season 2 Episode 4: My Brother’s Keeper with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

You may have heard the world renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, talk about the intricacies of the brain, but you haven’t heard her talk about her brother’s schizophrenia. Today on Badass we have an intimate conversation with Dr. Taylor about growing up with a schizophrenic brother, the impact on her family, and the direction it sent her, and her father in. We shine a light on the dysfunction of the mental health system, and the experience of caring for someone in the face of these obstacles. The Taylors are a remarkable family. True Badasses for the way they have advocated and educated on behalf of those with mental illness. Please share, like, subscribe, and comment on our instagram or FB pages, @badass_tales_of_resilience.

Here is a link to NAMI, an advocacy group for those who struggle with mental illness.

About our Guest

Dr. Taylor is a world renowned brain researcher, who has written two books, My Stroke of Insight, and Whole Brain Living. Dr. Taylor’s TED talk on her experience surviving a stroke, and what she learned about herself and her brain in the process, was the first TED talk to go viral, and now has now been viewed over 28 million times. 

Dr. Taylor grew up in Terre Haute, IN, and found herself fascinated by the human brain from a young age. Her brother, who was just 18 months older, was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Long before his official diagnosis Dr. Taylor noticed the differences in how his brain worked and wanted to better understand the brain. She attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree, and studied physiological psychology and human biology. She went on to get her PhD at Indiana State University  in the Life Science Department.

Dr. Taylor’s career ascended quickly, landing a post-doc at Harvard, and eventually working with Francine Bennes at Harvard Medical School as a researcher trying to understand the impact of schizophrenia on the human brain, and how we might mitigate that impact.  

On December 10, 1996, at the height of her career, Dr. Tayor had a massive stroke. This stroke caused her to lose the ability to walk and talk, and also to think in any sort of linear way. However, the stroke opened to her the power of the right brain. Dr. Taylor stayed curious during the stroke, noticing the feeling in her body and spirit, as her left brain quickly went offline due to the cerebral hemorrhage. She observed the connectedness, creativity, and peace that she found in her right brain. These observations became the basis for her books, culminating in her Whole Brain Living approach to life.