Many people believe that there is such a thing as a walk-in, wherein someone becomes extremely ill, almost to the point of death and comes back from edge changed, almost as if their body has been inhabited by the spirit or soul of a different sort than the one that originally lived there.
Walk-in, as in serious illness leaves an opening for a wandering spirit to walk into and take up residence in an alien body. Interesting.
It’s easy for me to understand why this idea is fodder for jokes but at the same time, I’ve experienced it personally and so want to explain, from my own weird and wacky point of view, what I think happens.
Certainly my personality is very different from what it was before the illness. It seems that my brain/body chemistry changed. Originally strongly choleric, outspoken, quick thinking, quick to judge, quick to make friends and invite new people into our lives, difficult to argue with and with the ability to remember almost everything, I have now become something different. My memory isn’t as good, though that could be my life-stage as much as the illness/walk-in, but now I’m also slow to anger, tend to play my cards closer to the vest, care more how people feel and what they think of me and I seem to have lost ability to gamble my emotional well-being in the effort to make new friends, and I’m tired all of the time.
All of this changed during the period of recovery from that illness. Do I feel like I’ve been inhabited by the spirit of someone else? No, not really. It just feels like I’ve evolved into a better, calmer, kinder human being (which isn’t to say that I can’t still flare up faster than a pan full of hot grease.)
It’s easy to see how people might find this complete reworking of a person’s attitude suspect. Maybe even to understand how it could appear that the old Warren Beatty flick could be true after all…what was the name of that film? (Heaven Can Wait????)
So what really happens in these instances? I don’t know. Something does happen, though, and we change. Life threatening can equal life altering and sometimes things are different on the other side of these events. Who cares whether it’s a human spirit or just a change of spirit? The point is that the change does occur, for better or worse and we walk away altered.