Voyage en Sclérose, Voyage vers la Vie

C'est pour faire connaître cette expérience que je crée ce site. Puisse ce partage permettre à d'autres, à vous peut-être, de retrouver le cours de leur vie, de puiser en eux la force de leur propre création. Celle que chaque humain porte en lui, force qui permet à chacun d'être l'artisan bâtisseur de sa propre vie.

In 1990, I decided to stop working with my psychotherapist. It was the beginning of a new life : my sessions with him begun to be spaded for quite a whileand now there was no need of a session anymore.


No more weekly session, no more monthly groups… I had made the choice to live with my partner, to change work, leave my town, join her in hers, and build ‘something’ with her.
It was not easy : I had grown used to the soft cocoon of psychotherapy. Now I had to emerge and fly with my own wings… and maybe attempt to share what I had lived, a somewhat different, occasionally embarassing life – mine.
I happened to meet the Chief Editor of ‘L’Enfant et la Vie’. She offered me a page to present my story in the section ‘Etre soi’ (being oneself). Thanks to her, I came to write the following article :


By Dominique Auger  (translation by Florence Rastogi)

It’s such a strange adventure, sometimes I can hardly believe it.
I had multiple sclerosis for 28 years, and I now am fine. Every year I go to the mountains for trekking, I live without depriving myself of anything – I have chosen to live fully. This contradicts everything one hears about this illness, so I find it hard to convey my experience. And yet, I sense that it’s not only my story, it is also, through me, humankind’s  experience which I must try to tell, one day.
In 1973, I had my first bout of sclerosis : left side paralysed, displopia, and a great tiredness. The doctors I consulted at the time didn’t tell me what diagnostic they suspected. They thought it was better not to worry the patient, in case this episode turned out to be a false alarm. And in fact, I only went through 2 or 3 months of work stoppage, slowly it all came back to normal. This is usually what happens after a first episode. Six years later, a second bout happened. This time, I was travelling abroad when it happened, and the doctors there thought it best to inform the patient fully : they didn’t spare me, and told me all. These too, were good and trustworthy doctors. This second bout was followed by several others in the following two years. Luckily all these bouts went into regression, mostly. Each time, however, I felt less sure of myself, and each time I felt more and more like a prey to this unpredictable disease, never seeing it coming, and never knowing which part of my body would be affected. I could have sunk then, settling into this pathology, and telling myself, “what’s the point ? I am a MS patient and I can’t do a thing about it”. I could even have adopted straightaway, I’m sure, the more pernicious form of the disease, the steady and continuous growth of multiple sclerosis, without bouts. I don’t know what brought about my refusal, but from the second bout onward I started searching for a thousand and one solutions, all illusory, alas… I wanted to live with myfull capacities, or not at all.  I did not want to live on a daily basis a restricted life, truing to grab what would be left of it, as some people suggested.
When I met Philippe Girod, an artist and a psychotherapist who had been trained in Bio-energy (1) with Alexander Lowen, then only I realised that it was possible to simply live.
Oh, this took time. A good ten years of  weekly sessions, interspersed with practice in groups and week-end training, not forgetting the bouts of MS in between, some of them severe – till one day I realised that being alive didn't mean dying slowly. I understood deeply that I am responsible for my existence, and that I'm the one  who truly decide what I want to do with my life. Of course, I can be deeply affected by external events which make me swerve from my path. These may be linked to my personal history, or to my family’s, or even linked to world happenings. I can even be led to believe that there lie the truth, and even go to the extent of denying my truth. As if, ultimately, all that has been set in place by humankind during its long explorations, is entrusted to me through countless generations as immutable truths – truths not necessarily in tune with mine. The conflict would turn out to be too disproportionate for me, and I would find only one way out : to shut myself up…
It is for this purpose – to come to terms with what truly is my responsibility, and what is not – that I searched and worked hard on myself for at least ten years, using Bio-energy as well as other therapy techniques, and more importantly the human interaction forged between me and my therapist. In the beginning I only wanted to get well. But as a net result, I grew up, and by 1989, I was born, i.e, born to a different way to view the world, and in particular the one we call “the world of illness”.
My experience of multiple sclerosis must be written soon, for as much as it belongs to me, it belongs to you. But as I mentioned earlier, what a strange and difficult thing to tell ! A woman friend of mine who is a doctor told me one day, “This is impossible ! You can’t have multiple sclerosis… !”
Now I try my best to convey this message : “you are the creator and the one responsible for your own life.” And I try to discover with each one what prevents him (or her) from sensing and living this simple truth, as I have done  and continue to do for myself.
My experience of illness and health (not just recovery) has deeply transformed me. I am now convinced that my illness, whatever it is I’m diagnosed with, is my responsibility, not the doctor’s nor the scientist’s responsibility, nor is it under any outside thing or person, even if I'm lucky enough to meet some individuals who can possibly help me on my path. I also think it is a deceit and a crime when people are led to believe that there is no other solution but to submit. Since the dawn of mankind we have got used to believe that there are certain things we can definitely do nothing about, and particularly when it comes to well-being and health – no wonder we are        where                           we                            are.
Today’s diseases are pretty much like the stars of the 17th century (2), a time when it was so much easier and convenient to believe that stars were hanging on an immutable ceiling beyond reach. Those few who had perceived a different reality had to die for it, victims of their contemporaries being stuck in their old beliefs. There is surely a long way to go even for us humans  of today. We are only taking our first steps. We have to learn not to die of illness, but to simply die of death. The major cause of mortality should be… death with the peace and serenity that come from having lived. We must really change our outlook, and while this does not need to go against the practice of medicine as we know it, it does raise new questions.

Dominique Auger.

Notes : (1) Bio-energy, through a specific work on the body (massages, exercises) makes us aware of our tensions and enables us to reduce them. Beyond this basic approach, it can also involve a deep work on understanding one’s own framework of body, mind, emotions, as well as the spiritual dimension.
(2)   Ref. ‘The life of Galileo’ by Berthold Brecht.