The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Today’s Healthy Discovery, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, is SOMETHING TO PAY ATTENTION TO! This movie was nominated for four Oscars, it won the 2008 Golden Globe for best foreign director, it won numerous awards in film festivals around the world, and the book was a #1 best-seller in Europe.

Okay, stay with me here. If you are wondering why I selected a foreign film to be a Healthy Discovery, keep reading; this is a story to behold!

In December 1995 the 42-year old French editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, Jean Dominiqu Bauby suffered a stroke. He remained in a coma for 20 days. When he awoke he was mentally aware of his surroundings. He could think, understand and process information, but he was physically paralyzed from head to toe. He could not speak, eat, or move. This is a very rare type of stroke called, locked-in syndrome. The only movement he had was in HIS LEFT EYE. Can you imagine? With daily help from his speech therapist, Bauby learned to communicate by blinking his left eye. His therapist repeatedly recited an ordered alphabet (E S A R I N T U L etc.) until Bauby blinked to indicate when he wanted to select a certain letter. As they continued, a word and eventually a sentence was formed. This is how Bauby communicated for the rest of his life.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly became the metaphor for how Bauby described his experience. He felt trapped within a diving bell, as if there was constant pressure pinning his body into immobility. However, at the same time, his mind remained free like a butterfly.

Bauby used his sense of humor, imagination, and memories to keep himself from plunging into a deep despair. Within a couple months he began to compose a book about his experience. By blinking his left eye he dictated his memoir to a transcriber during the summer of 1996. The book took about 200,000 blinks to “write” and each word took approximately two minutes to complete.

This best-selling book was then made into an award-winning movie and released last spring. It is a French film so you have to read subtitles, but it’s worth every minute!

I love, love, loved this movie. I watched it Monday night and I can’t stop thinking about Bauby’s situation and his determination. This real life story demonstrates the incredible strength of the human spirit.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It is one of the most remarkable stories I’ve heard in years! Go rent it today, I think you’ll be extremely moved!