I hear from others all the time how brave I am, how courageous I am or how strong I am as I continue to fight my way back to who I used to be but the thing is (as I am sure you can probably predict what I am about to say by now) I don’t feel any of those things and with each passing day or each new roadblock I feel like it is just a losing battle. It has been a very emotional, confusing and extremely exhausting week thus far and my brain is in complete overload which has begun to spill over into my physical well-being too.
As I mentioned in my last blog (Dr. Phil Update; 12.9.18) I feel like I’ve been let down at this point by the Healthcare System in Ontario and the resources available to someone like myself who is suffering with a treatment resistant major depressive & severe anxiety disorder. Being labeled “treatment resistant” in Ontario I have recently (and sadly) discovered that if an antidepressant pill can’t “fix” me or if I am no longer willing to risk my physical well-being from the dreadful and often times frightening side effects I endured for two and a half years (with no mental relief) then therefore I should no longer be treated by our Healthcare System (apparently not even for safety purposes), one that every Ontario citizen has the lawful right to.
So instead as you know I have had to take desperate steps toward finding alternative treatments that are not covered by our government which of course now comes with an entirely new set of emotions and after weeks, if not months of research I am beginning that next chapter in my journey as I mentioned the other day as well, feeling anything but brave, courageous or strong.
On Monday, I met with a Neurofeedback specialist, along with my husband to learn more about the treatment, what exactly was involved in it and if it was even something I could try. This treatment has intrigued me for quite a while now and even though my negative inner self-talking shithead voice tells me “don’t waste your time or your money because you’re a failure, your helpless, your hopeless and most definitely worthless” I was encouraged to learn more anyway.
For those of you who don’t know “Neurofeedback is an evidence-based treatment to help regulate electrical brainwave activity to reduce the severity of symptoms.” Neurofeedback actually dates back to the 1960’s and has proven results for improving symptoms in both adults and children suffering with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, OCD, Epilepsy, Autism, Strokes and much more including chronic pain associated with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
“Neurofeedback gives the subject information about their brainwave patterns. Electrodes attached to the surface of the head (non-invasively) are used to record and analyze brainwave activity in real-time. As the Neurofeedback training occurs, the brain is rewarded with visual and audio feedback when it displays optimal functioning. The brain learns to grow, adapt and improve the flexibility of its processing. Over time, the client learns what it feels like to be calm, focused, relaxed and alert and eventually learns to regulate their brainwave patterns easier to match the demands of many different situations.” (info from Neuropotential Clinic pamphlet)
Okay so that’s probably enough of a Science/Psychology lesson for today. While meeting with a Psychologist on Monday I was asked some overall questions relative to my situation and how they could help me. Little did I know how much of a brain overload I was in because I spent a good part of the hour crying as I talked about some very sensitive topics. And as with anything in life there are no guarantees, they listened intently to my story but at no point in time did they make me any guarantees that this is the treatment that will finally push my recovery into full swing. They did however ensure me that they have several other treatments they can try in the future though.
With the information we received we then decided to proceed to the next step which was to come back for a complete assessment with the Clinical Psychologist who oversees all treatments (well my husband by this point made the decision because had I been left to decide, that same negative inner self-talking shithead voice would have overpowered me). So I met with them today for an hour and a half, going through my entire history as he made notes as to what the focus of my treatment should be. I then was hooked up to the EEG machine where I was asked to first sit still for 10 minutes with my eyes closed, then another 10 minutes with my eyes open while focusing on one object or focal point (that was not an easy task) as they recorded my brain patterns. This is in order for them to then sit down and examine the results, comparing my brain to a healthy 47 year old female brain (I’m not sure why they kept needing to know if I’m right or left handed??) and determine a treatment plan.
They recommend about 40 sessions 2 to 3 times per week and will keep me involved every step of the way and consult with my own therapist when needed as well. If after about 8 to 10 treatments they determine through a re-evaluation that it is not working for me then treatment will be seized immediately and possibly try something else. So for now I will await the results and treatment plan next week and go from there. I will be sure to keep you posted, even though you may be busy sunbathing on the beach somewhere in Jamaica or Mexico by then.