Archive for Guest Blogger

How Do You Know You’re Getting Better?

on the lake

Guest blogger Cathy has shared with us her struggles to come to terms with a traumatic childhood. She has detailed for us her attempts to find a therapy that would ease her terror and clear her foggy brain. Neurofeedback has proved effective for Cathy. In this letter to her therapists, Cathy describes what it feels like to be healing.

Hi Jessica and Martin,

Today my husband had a day off work and we spent the day fishing together out on our boat on Moreton Bay.

It was a really nice day

I noticed that I was different.

I noticed that was more aware, more alert and more proactive, I was more helpful and more effective in working with my husband on our boat. I was less vague and my attention and focus were more available to me and to my husband.

I noticed that I had more self awareness and more choices.

I felt calmer, more in control and less chaotic than usual.

I felt as though my terror dropped from a 10/10 to an 8/10. I felt as though I could see ‘around’ my internal mass of terror (ie. my terror was present but contained in a way that it felt manageable to me, not overwhelming or completely consuming as it has felt to me so often in the past).

I felt as though I could see the edge of my terror (like the horizon or the mainland or an island off in the distance, rather than a vast blank sea of helplessness).

My experience today was a really exciting step forward for me. I feel as though today, I grasped a glimpse of how different my life could be with less terror, more calm and a healthy level of control and organisation.

Then I had a multitude of entrepreneurial ideas ‘bubble’ up to my surface. This was an exciting, inspiring and encouraging experience.

Today was great! I’m really thrilled!!

 I’m really looking forward to experiencing more steps forward.

Hope that you are both having a good holiday.

Best wishes,

Cathy

Have you had a similar experience? Is there something you wish to tell Cathy and others dealing with trauma? Please comment below.

Neurofeedback’s Rewards

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Before I tell you about Cathy’s recent success with Neurofeedback, I want to catch you up on my personal news and explain why you haven’t heard from me for a while. As I write this, I’m sitting in my new study surrounded by piles of boxes. Stacks of books are piled on the floor beside me.

I’ve been consumed with downsizing and moving from Toronto to Kingston, to live near by son, daughter-in-law and three-year-old granddaughter. The end is in sight. Soon I’ll be able to turn my attention to this website and to my writing.

Right now, I bring you Cathy’s latest report about her Neurofeedback therapy:

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of very angry and violent thoughts arising in my mind (don’t worry I won’t act on them).

Is this something you would expect to arise from Neurofeedback?

I wonder if it’s dormant anger from the past that I’ve held inside for a long time instead of expressing?

Yesterday afternoon I had a significant session of releasing … loads of burping and not just regular, run of the mill burps either, deep, rumbling guttteral burps arising from the depths of my being. Followed by sneezing.

Today, my brain feels ‘fresh’ and ‘clean’ and clearer and lighter.

I’m aware that I still have much work to do but I’m also really enjoying noticing my progress as well.

 —-

Have you experienced similar responses to therapy? Could you share your thoughts and reactions with Cathy and others? I urge you to comment.

Cathy’s Dark Night of the Soul

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Guest blogger Cathy is going through the dark night of the soul, having decided to try neurofeedback in her search for relief from the pain of childhood trauma. Here is her letter about those terrible struggles. Since receiving this message, Cathy has gone in search of a new practitioner, one who will offer her more compassion. We eagerly await her next report and send her our love and our prayers.
—-

Dear Mary,

The truth is that the last 4-6 weeks have been really, really, really tough for me.

The truth is that I’ve had suicidal thoughts of my own over the last 4-6 weeks.

The truth is that I haven’t wanted to die, instead I’ve felt overwhelmed by the relentless ‘invisible’, incomprehensible, unexplainable, unbelievable, apparently boundless pain that I have felt inside, so much so that I have felt utterly desperate for some relief, some peace and some calm.

I’ve felt so tired of feeling broken. I’ve felt so tired of feeling wounded beyond belief in my inner core. I’ve felt so tired of trying to heal. I’ve felt so tired of feeling as though my psyche is fragmented resulting in my inner sense that I have to expend enormous amounts of energy every moment binding my fragmented psyche / self together, to ensure that all of these vital fragments of me remain somewhere within me, together yet not bonded, somehow remaining clumped together through the sheer moment to moment, constant force of my will, to ensure that all of the pieces of my fragmented psyche stay together within me, to ensure that none, not even the teeniest, tiniest fragment of my inner core comes adrift, flying freely, drifting aimlessly away from me into nowhere (my darkest fear).

The truth is that I was unable to attend my 13 year old cousin’s funeral following her recent suicide because, for me, this would have been like ‘looking into the mirror of what could have been’ … or at times, over recent weeks … ‘what still may be for me’ … just way too close ‘to the bone’.

I couldn’t go to my 13 year old cousin’s funeral and stare into the eyes of my stunned and grieving family members knowing that I have tiptoed on the precipice of causing them a similar degree of shock, pain, grief, hurt, gutwrenching sadness, disbelief, confusion, guilt and utter bewilderment.

The truth is that I have been living in a fog of overwhelm and inner pain for the past 4-6 weeks.

The truth is that I have willed myself through many, many extremely heavy, dark, gruelling seconds, minutes, hours and moments in the days of the last 4-6 weeks.

The truth is that I have experienced almost zero joy in the past 4-6 weeks.

The truth is that I have experienced almost zero lightness, zero clarity, zero calm and zero peace during the past 4-6 weeks.

I have felt intensely agitated, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, dejected, hopeless, helpless, battle weary and completely defeated over the last 4-6 weeks.

How is it possible that I have committed myself tenaciously and steadfastly to my healing journey for almost 20 years, only to find that I still experience such mammoth depths, widths and lengths of darkness, heaviness and despair?!!!

How can I pick myself up, yet again, from the extent and depths of my own internal darkness?

How can I keep going?

Where can I find the strength?

Where can I find the solutions?

After using a wide range of conventional and unconventional healing modalities to address my deep inner wounds, where do I go next to heal further?

Where is the next upward rung on my ladder?

Where is the next upward knot on my rope?

Where is the next upward step on my apparently never-ending ‘staircase’ of healing?

As always, the answers to all of these questions lie in imagining myself staring into the eyes of my husband and our two young daughters (aged 9 and 6). They are my three utmost reasons for continuing to fight my way through my own thick and thorny inner wilderness and my unwavering commitment to breaking the cycle of intergenerational pain and trauma in my family.

The truth is that I’ve felt that I’ve been drowning in my own internal historical lingering terror over the past 4-6 weeks.

The truth is that I’ve set my sights soley and firmly on finding ways to reduce my overwhelming, utterly consuming historical lingering inner terror.

And here I am.

Now.

Experiencing a sense of flickering hope on my horizon.

A spark.

A light.

A life raft.

A sense of relief from the drowning sense of my overwhelming, utterly consuming, paralysing, life draining, almost completely defeating inner historical lingering terror.

My eternal dream of deep and complete healing still alive somehow, somewhere within me.

Here I am now.

Experiencing the joy and lightness that comes with full disclosure in a place of utter safety, non-judgment, understanding and acceptance.

Thank you Mary for this priceless gift, this wonderful privilege.

My heartfelt gratitude to you now and always,

Cathy xx

Update on Cathy’s experience with Neurofeedback

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Guest blogger Cathy sent me the following letter about her first two Neurofeedback sessions:

Dear Mary:

The emotions that are coming up for me right now are very intense and, at times, overwhelming. So far, I have had two Neurofeedback sessions. I have another session tomorrow and another session in a few days’ time.

I have been reading the book that I got last week about the use of Neurofeedback in treating developmental trauma. I can relate to so much of what the book has to say about developmental trauma. So I am hopeful that Neurofeedback will help to give me some inner peace and relief.

My body seems to crave gentle and safe touch right now. Neurofeedback
involves only minimal touch, so I’m going to a cranial therapist as well.

Mary, this journey is so hard and so consuming. It’s hard to believe I’ve
been on this path for almost 20 years!! Although a key piece of information about my past (sexual abuse) only became available and accessible to me 2 years ago.

I’m looking forward to a time when healing is not my primary focus. I’m
looking forward to a time when I can devote my time and attention to lighter
aspects of life.

Thank you for the opportunity to share. It’s great to be able to share with
someone who understands and who has ‘been here.’

Best wishes,

Cathy

Neurofeedback

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Cathy (not her real name) is a frequent guest blogger on this site. Cathy has benefited from many forms of therapy in her search for the treatment that will finally eradicate her trauma symptoms resulting from child sexual abuse. She has come a long way and has benefited from many different types of treatment (Cathy has shared her findings with us on this site). To her disappointment, however, the terror rushing through her organism has not abated (fear being the dominant emotion of childhood trauma). Now Cathy is setting out to deal with this final wounding from her early abuse.

She has chosen Neurofeedback as her treatment of choice. She tells me that author Bessel van der Kolk, MD devotes a whole chapter to Neurofeedback in his recent book, The Body Keeps Score. Brain, Mind and Body Healing of Trauma (2014).

Cathy writes:

Neurofeedback involves passing electrodes which are connected to a laptop computer into the client’s skull and earlobes to measure their brainwave patterns. The computer is able to detect, record and display brain wave patterns for each area of the brain being monitored. Once the patient’s brain waves have been comprehensively assessed, they are then presented with a visual stimulus (usually a movie or sitcom DVD with altered subliminal flashing background lighting) to view regularly to assist them in the process of rewiring their brain wave patterns back to more optimal and natural levels.

As Cathy enters this new phase of her healing, her Neurofeedback practitioner has advised her to connect with a talk therapist, since her lowered fear rate will allow for new memories to surface.

I look forward to following Cathy on her new venture and I invite you to join me here on this website to cheer her on and to learn from her new venture in Neurofeedback.