Part 15 – The New Map!

Part 15 – The New Map!

GUYS!!!! SERIOUSLY THOUGH!!! If you thought my last map showed dramatic changes, all I can say is buckle up, baby! Check.This. Out!

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Previous map, February 12, 2021
Updated map, March 26, 2021

Here’s an quick run-down of my brain upgrades

  1. My ability to regulate heartrate variability went from 45% to 71%.
  2. The Theta state, where my limbic brain had been hijacking me into hyperawareness – it’s gone. No more hijackers in my limbic brain!
  3. My Beta frequencies are turning on instead of shutting down like they did before. This is my brain doing what it was created to do to keep me level.
  4. My Beta levels are coming back online of their own accord. This means I will begin reducing my antidepressants soon!
  5. My overthinking, overanalyzing, and ruminating networks have improved to normal. The default mode networks aren’t coming up anymore. This means it is much easier for me to respond rather than react to triggers! And all this time I thought my reactionary state was a character flaw. It was just my brain that needed healing. My limbic system was hijacking me and taking over the show.
  6. My frontal, limbic, and salience networks have improved significantly, allowing my memory networks to improve. This means I am not in a constant state of threat detection. And also, my swiss cheese brain has a few less holes.
  7. Here’s a fun one – attention emotional/attention ventral networks. I have reliable insight into my intuition. I know I can get in tune with my internal state, and I know what’s right for me, and when. This improvement means I can reduce the dosage of my antidepressants soon. I have never been so happy about anticipating medication side effects!

I have one more block of eight brain training sessions to go. The focus will be on the addiction and reward networks. I am not an addict, that’s not what this means.

The addiction network holds hands with the reward network. I do/don’t do/eat/don’t eat/etc., I like how it feels, I do more of that. This can be how addictions begin, but not everyone becomes an addict as a result.

The brain uses these networks to develop coping mechanisms. My brain is starting to cope on its own without the need for external stimuli or medication intervention, and we want it to learn to do more of that. Therefore, my coping networks will be targeted during the next block of treatment.

It is entirely possible that after these next eight sessions, I will have progressed as far as neurofeedback can take me. At that time, I will be ready to meet with Liz Deacon. She is Dr. Corey’s wife, and a highly skilled professional in her own right, with a Masters in Health Psychology. She will continue the work on my limbic brain, and help me work through the developmental belief systems that don’t serve me. By working through insights and memories, Liz will help me learn strategic boundary setting around those damaging developmental belief systems.

Here’s a word picture that may help this make more sense:

I am on a path to healing. It’s going really well, and I am finding the healing I so desperately need. I encounter an enormous boulder in the middle of my path. This boulder represents a developmental belief system – something that was laid down in my brain as irrefutable fact, without me noticing or understanding it.

This particular boulder defines my value as a person. My mother experienced a great deal of emotional stress during her pregnancy with me. That began the development of my hyper threat detection state, and my value belief system. That tiny seed grew with external and internal reinforcement.

Every time I was told I was growing so fast and my mom couldn’t keep me in clothes that fit, I heard “I take up too much space. I need to stop eating so much food so I don’t grow so fast. If I had never been born, everyone else would be better and happier.”

When I communicated a wish or a need, and was harshly told we can’t afford that – stop looking at it, I heard “I don’t deserve that thing because I don’t matter as much as the rest of them”.

When my feelings were hurt and I was told I was too sensitive, it was just a joke, be quiet and stop crying, I heard “I don’t matter. No one cares about how I feel. I need to stop feeling.”

These incidents, and more like them, grew that developmental belief system from a tiny seed into a giant impassable boulder. In the absence of negative and hurtful responses from others, I started saying it all to myself. With therapy, choosing to believe the truth about my worth, and neurofeedback, the boulder has shrunk to a more manageable size. But it’s still there. I still have to climb over it or maneuver my way around it to reach further healing, and my heart is still getting scraped up.

Let me perfectly clear – I know in my soul and believe with everything in me that those beliefs I previously stated are not true.

I know my worth and and am secure in my identity. I know those developmental belief systems are false. I know they define me any longer.

And yet, there they sit. Deeply embedded, impossible to shift out of the way. And that makes my journey to the completion of my healing more difficult than it needs to be. I look forward to working with Liz Deacon and leaning in hard to what she teaches me.

As always, I will keep you posted on my progress, so stay tuned to The Brain Blog!

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