Archive for January 2012

Tracey’s Conference Diary Entry #6

January 13, 2012

                In my last diary entry, I wrote that I am learning how to multitask: finding out how to achieve multiple therapeutic-ish benefits from singular activities.  I think it would be more accurate to say I’m learning how to focus on doing what I love, only better. As I spend more time studying general brain functions and health, I find that my sensitivity to the world around me is significantly heightened.  I’m a lot more aware of how I respond to different stimuli and why.  Since I am doing so much to live the “Beyond Rehabilitation” theme, I can’t credit any one thing with this.  I believe it’s a combination of what I am doing: improving  nutrition, enhancing my normal activities, adding more,  blending  my new knowledge with fresh learning, and with the benefits from the multi-treatments I’m receiving from Dr. Ryan’s team at Concord Medical. Unfortunately, I will have to finish with a confession.  Don’t worry; it hurts me more than it hurts you.

 Nutrition: I’m finding that my sleep patterns and digestive cycle are functioning pretty smoothly – much more so than before. I attribute this to a concentration on certain vitamins and nutrients that help to balance things, both cognition and physical structure -wise as well as  paying attention to how foods  make me feel when I eat them.  I’m rearranging my diet as well as altering it.  I’m happy to report that, though I can’t say I have MORE energy, I have energy appropriate to the hours when I need it.  I’m not more ready-to-go than necessary or lethargic at times I know I have to be productive.  When I am, I can usually find a reason for it; and it’s often related to what I’ve been eating, when.  The ability to control energy output is pretty cool!

Normal Activities: I love to listen to recorded lectures when I’m not using the learning part of my mind on whatever else I’m doing. Lately I’ve been listening to neurology and nutrition lectures exclusively – loads of them can be found free on YouTube –  while I work on paintings (I generally devote listening time to ancient history talks…and a little neurology), then applying what I learn to what I already knew.  One really interesting thing about the lectures: I’m delighted to discover technical confirmation of many things I just instinctively believed or had sort of researched. The painting, the music, the writing; things I love, but have been neglecting in order to ‘rehabilitate;’: those are all so important to developing  structure and focus, which in turn sharpens memory skills and is good for so much else in anyone, but especially for those of us who really need to work on those things.  I am learning how to organize and perform the cognitive exercises so as to reach their best potential.  Creativity is so much more than fun, and it sure is nice to be able to justify ‘wasting your time’ on it.

Adding More: Being a little more outgoing and communicative with those I see; trying to involve more people in my life without increasing vulnerability – this exposes a person to more kinds of people.  It gives one a choice of perspectives to view the world from. I’m not really able to attend more social events than usual right now, as I am a bit busy working on everything else (and I keep doing things like spraining my ankle the day before a party) but I am  paying attention to how I interact with others and strengthening ties with those who can add to my life.  I really wish I had more of a chance to develop new friendships, but reinforcing those I’ve already got is a great start.

Blending new knowledge with fresh learning: I mentioned the lectures I listen to – I’m also reading some essays and books on brain function and how a person internalizes outside forces to affect how she or he functions. It’s amazing how sensitive we BI types are to the outside world.  It seems like distractions and stressors most people consider irrelevant can knock us for a mega-loop.  For me, that’s old knowledge.  The new stuff I’m finding out helps me to understand why – and what I can do to counteract the bad stuff or even to enhance the good.  We’ve all heard the phrase “the body is a temple” but the brain is the amazingly complicated, booby-trap, pitfall enhanced foyer leading to it.  If you’re not careful in that vestibule, the temple will be gradually destroyed.  What a pleasant thought!  I keep reminding people how wicked the brain is, but…is anyone reading this a fan of “Star Trek: the Next Generation?”    For anyone who might be: the brain is like Q.  And you just have to be awed by the power of Q.  One viewed this castoff –God type with a mixture of annoyance, dread, and total respect.  Some of us saw Q as their One True Love, but I don’t know any of those people.  Not one.

Anyway, the brain is like that.  You just can’t get over how much power it has.

Concord Medical (Trent Ryan and Friends): There’s some reason I’m more physically stable than before, and since I have fallen off the exercise wagon, the only source of that improvement can be Concord Medical’s team.  I am undergoing vision therapy, coordination work, regular spinal adjustments and injection of sarapen, which is a biological (herbal) medicine with the benefits of cortisone minus the potential side effects.  As skeptical as I am about traditional therapies, I must say, this group is working noticeable.  And Dr. Ryan answers my emails – that’s a big plus.  Medical care providers who can’t be bothered with their patients aren’t worth my time.

My confession: as I mentioned, I have stopped exercising.  This happened right before Christmas; I had a pretty good excuse then.  And now?  I have lost the outlet for stress exercise provides, I have lost some flexibility and strength, I am not directing Happiness Hormones to where they be in my brain: all around, and studies show my thoughts would be sharper and better-processed with exercise.  The sudden stop without resumption was a terrible idea.  I need to get back to it as soon as possible.  Think how much better all these wonderful improvements I’m making could be!

Next time, I would like to write about the role of confidence – it’s essential to rehabilitation and most everything else in life.  I also want to discuss how bad for the brain (and mid) it has been to relapse into a sedentary life.