The Way Out

It’s been 14 months now that I’ve been living with a debilitating neurological disorder all due to my participation in the clinical research study for Psilocybin (magic mushrooms). The intensity of the dose I was given caused me to convulse non stop for close to 6 hours straight with absolutely no intervention whatsoever from the 2 doctors who were observing me while scribbling notes on their clipboards the entire time. 

The damage I am living with now has affected every aspect of my life since and has caused a further decline in my mental health including symptoms of PTSD from many sights, sounds and touch.

For the past year I have been bounced around between one specialist after another after another and I am still waiting on two more recent referrals. I have yet to receive any answers or solutions thus far except to be told by one Neurologist about a year ago over a Zoom call that a circuit broke in my brain that day and hopefully it will fix itself one day. 

If I sound repetitive and bitter and frustrated, it’s only because I am.

The other night my girlfriend dropped by for a visit and she was very excited to share with me a podcast she wanted me to listen to. She told me that while she listened to it herself, all she could think of was me. The moderator of the podcast is a Psychologist friend of hers and the guest speaker was a loved one whose life was turned upside down for several years due to chronic and debilitating pain that seemingly came out of nowhere. She too spent much of her time seeking the help of one specialist after another trying to figure out the root cause of her pain. By this point she had very little quality of life and was forced to defer her first year of medical school. And then one day at one of her many doctor’s appointments he suggested she read a book called “The Way Out” (which literally saved her life). It was written by Alan Gordon; a licensed Psychologist and Founder of the Pain Psychology Center in LA. Alan began studying Neuroplastic pain after he himself became debilitated by chronic pain throughout his entire body (including his tongue) for several years and he too became frustrated by the lack of effective treatment. From his own suffering, Alan “developed the ground-breaking Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) – a highly effective system of psychological techniques that rewire the brain’s neural circuits to turn off “stuck” pain signals”. 

Neuroplastic is the brain’s way of actually learning pain. Put concisely, “neuroplastic pain occurs when your brain mistakes safe nervous signals from the body as dangerous, generating a pain response”, which can then become “a habitual mistake that the brain can develop over time”. Alan states in a podcast he did with Mayim Bialik (Mayim herself was a patient of Alan’s for many years) that pain is a danger signal. He further expands on his theory giving the example that if you put your hand on a hot stove, the pain is your brain’s way of letting you know that you have to move your hand so you don’t cause more damage. Pain is a survival mechanism with the goal to not allow us to injure ourselves worse but sometimes the brain can make a mistake and interpret pain when there is none, making us feel pain when there actually is none.

The pain is real, but in cases like mine it’s being caused by our brain and not by our body. Body pain is considered “structural”, usually due to an injury.

After further research over the last couple of days (which included listening to Mayim’s podcast she did with Alan), his theories began to intrigue me more and more and have a better understanding as to why my friend was so excited to have me listen to her friend’s podcast. 

There are 12 criteria for Neuroplastic pain which I was shocked to discover that I fit perfectly into at least 10 of the 12 categories. You don’t however need to fit into every category though to have your pain be considered Neuroplastic. 

Here are some examples of the criteria that describe my situation:

1. Pain originated during a stressful time or was triggered by stress

2. Pain originated without an injury 

3. Pain symptoms spread and/or move about your body

4. Symptoms are symmetrical 

5. There is a lack of physical diagnosis 

6. You have multiple symptoms 

I’ve experimented with many very unsuccessful and sometimes further damaging treatments over the years like CBT, Ketamine, ECT, Psilocybin and Neurofeedback pertaining to my mental health journey which were meant to help rewire my brain but now I will give it a try and delve into the science behind “Pain Reprocessing Therapy” (PRT) outlined in Alan’s book, “The Way Out” to see if I can rewire my brain and break the cycle of chronic pain instead. At least this time I know there will be no physical harm in trying.

#podcasts #chronicpain #neuroplastic #science #thewayout #alangordon #mayimbialik #painpsychologycenter #painreprocessingtherapy #ptsd #psychology #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #neurological #Psilocybin #rewirethebrain #magicmushrooms #researchstudy #noharmintrying #noanswers #friendswhohavemyback 

You Don’t Look Sick…

The worst thing a person can do to someone battling an invisible illness like depression is make them prove to you just how sick they truly are.

#invisibleillness #youdontlooksick #depression #mentalillness #mentalhealth #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youmatter #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #suicideawareness #suicideprevention #mentalhealthawarenessmonth

Grieving the Loss of a Beloved Pet 💔

Several people in my life have recently mourned the loss of a beloved pet; my own mother being one of them after having to make the gut-wrenching decision to put her 15 year old dog and loyal companion down this past week.

Anyone who has never experienced the unconditional love from a pet before will never truly understand the grief and trauma that comes along with losing their family member, because, to a pet owner, they are family.

The first time I myself went through the devastating loss of a beloved family pet was just one week before my wedding when I suddenly lost my cherished childhood dog Bamboo. Having to deal with the excruciating pain of losing her while preparing for the greatest day of my life made the healing process that much harder. I still to this day speak of her often and will forever carry her memory close to my heart.

Grieving any type of loss is a highly individual and a very personal experience, one that can affect both our mental and physical wellbeing; the loss of a family pet included.

Pets can help ease symptoms of loneliness, anxiety and depression for many. The bond we create with our fur babies can be very intense and can even be likened to that of a parent-child relationship where unconditional love, trust and acceptance are at the forefront; and some of the key ingredients that we may feel are missing in some of our human relationships. 

Yet there is still such a stigma surrounding how a person should and should not mourn their fur babies leading many to feel even more isolated and unsupported because their emotions aren’t being validated.

While most people can empathize with other people when they lose a loved one, not everyone has the ability to grasp the devastation that someone feels when losing a pet and instead may be of the mindset that the easiest way for them to get through the grieving process is to just get another pet.

Like with the loss of anyone close to us, people need time to process and grieve their fur babies but are often made to feel guilty, embarrassed or ashamed for even considering something like taking time off from work or other regular activities as well, only making them shut down more.

Another thing that can make the grieving process more difficult for someone and probably an avenue not explored enough is how much the loss affects a person’s daily routine. Our fur babies rely on a schedule which in turn becomes a regular part of our own schedule like when they need to be fed or walked each day, leaving them feeling even more lost and affecting their mental and physical wellbeing further.

Whatever it is you may be struggling with most during this time of great loss, it’s more than okay to give yourself whatever time and grace you need to feel all your emotions, even the negative ones. Talk about it, let your loved ones know you are having a difficult time and need their support. Maybe part of your healing process will be to spend time with other animals or to get a new pet but whatever it is you need most to comfort yourself just keep in mind that you are not alone and that self-compassion and self-kindness are key to moving on after such a devastating loss. 

And for those who can’t truly understand the grief and trauma that comes along with losing their family member, because, to a pet owner, they are family, can just suck it!

#losingapet #grief #trauma #empathy #petsarefamily #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #unconditionallove #acceptance #furbabies #healingprocess #loyalcompanions #pettherapy #apetspurpose #youarenotalone #selfcompassion #selfkindness #comfort 

Life lessons we can all take away from the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll…

Even when you believe nothing is possible…it is. 

You can’t change the past, so you might as well live in the present. 

Age is just a number. 

If you are passionate about something, pursue it no matter what others may say; that’s how dreams come true.

Take that risk.

Tell your story in an empowering way; never know who’s listening.

#atruelegend #queenofrocknroll #tinaturner #lifelessons #mentalhealth #domesticviolenceawareness #pursueyourdreams #takearisk #empowerment #tellyourstory #rip #simplythebest

The Power of Stepping Away

This blog popped up in my Facebook memories this week: I became quite triggered by it.

It was probably one of the most difficult blogs I’ve ever written or shared on my platform. It took me weeks til I finally found the courage to post it, but once I did, I felt a heavy weight lift, and hearing from so many others who understood my grief really helped ease my pain.

Over the last year I have spent a lot of time working through the hurt and betrayal I feel in my heart.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of something or someone who no longer brings inner peace to your life or gratitude in your heart even if deep down, you still love them. 

I am slowly learning that by letting go of certain things or people in my life allows me more space to carry with me the things that truly matter.

No one should ever settle when it comes to their relationships and if that means loving someone from a distance then that’s more than okay. Give yourself the space you need in order to hold those most deserving of your love that much closer.

Give a like if this resonates with you. Do any of the memes I posted resonate too?

#betrayal #innerpeace #toxicrelationships #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #relationships #gratitudeinyourheart #fromadistance #holdingspace #triggers #community #youarenotalone #whattrulymatters #youmatter 

Reflections from our Anniversary

Thank you to everyone for all your wonderful anniversary wishes yesterday ❤️. We feel truly blessed.

We celebrated our special day in true #summerofrich style by spending the afternoon chasing some truly magnificent waterfalls and exploring their surroundings; Rich always with an outstretched arm, ensuring I never slip or fall.

Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious dinner at our favourite restaurant which my beautiful and kindhearted cousin so graciously gifted to us in honour of our momentous day. We then capped off the evening chilling with friends.

I will never take these micro-moments of joy for granted. I hold each and every one of them deep in my heart knowing just how much even the most ordinary moments of joy can transform our most painful moments into gratitude and meaning.

I hope you enjoyed a reflection of our beautiful day yesterday.

P.S. I’m also very grateful that it’s a holiday today cuz I really need it! Long weekend, woohoo!

#anniversarycelebration #chasingwaterfalls #rejuvenation #mybeloved #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #hiking #nature #twentyeightyears #blessed #gratitude #micromomentsofjoy #togetherness #outstretchedarm #lifepartners #family #loveofmylife #itsmylife #victoriadayweekend #longweekend #unofficialstarttosummer @thekegsteakhouse

Stars Aligned

Today Rich and I are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. 

I was just 18 when we first met back in 1990 but only started dating a month before my 20th birthday. At the time, Rich was my manager at the videostore we both worked at; he was also close to 9 years older than me; our big age gap didn’t seem to matter though. 

The stars were aligned from the day I met you Rich. Maybe there is some real science behind the astronomical phenomenon that says Scorpios (Rich) and Cancers (me) are highly compatible for one another and make the perfect life partners or maybe it’s my own true desire to believe that we came together for a much deeper and more meaningful purpose.  

Thank you for choosing me to climb mountains with and for continuing to squeeze my hand just a little bit tighter every time I start to lose my grip.

You are forever my light in the darkness, my love, and all my starry nights.

I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day. 

Happy anniversary to us 😇

#happyanniversary #tous #twentyeight #summerofrich #itsbeenanadventure #lifepartners #perfectlyimperfect #ourjourney #family #loveyoutothemoonandback #starsaligned #scorpioandcancerforever #astronomical #purpose #meaningful #loveandmarriage #lightandlove #celebratethemoments #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough


A Gentle Reminder for anyone who needs to hear this today

Click here to watch:

In case someone else listening to this today could also use a gentle reminder I just wanted you to know that you are worthy of a peaceful life, that you matter. That you are capable and beautiful and loved. And that you make the world a better place just being in it. You are not alone. Oh and one more thing, you’ve got this!

#agentlereminder #youareworthy #youmatter #youarecapable #youarebeautiful #youareloved #youarenotalone #youvegotthis @ agentlereminderproject

%d bloggers like this: