06 Jan Neurofeedback – 3 Case Studies
In search of non-RX solutions, a mid-forties mom suffering from creative dullness and mood swings, with her twin ten year old daughters, diagnosed with learning differences (dyslexia for one and attention/anxiety issues for the other) dove into Neurofeedback. Following are notes and thoughts from their session experiences.
Session 7 – 11.22.19 – Adult + Twins
As we begin to learn more about how neurofeedback works, more questions arise. Poor Charlotte. I pepper her with curiosities each time we arrive for our sessions. My burning question this time was about the various protocols. It is possible to complete 20+ sessions in just a few days? A week? A month? Why do they find the greatest success in sessions that occur twice a week?
Charlotte was a champ and answered each and every question thoroughly. All protocols are possible. It just depends on the needs of the person and the availability of the practitioner. She noted that sessions with time in between allows for the brain to adapt in a more measured manner, which is what the three of us continue to experience. The placement of the electrodes was also fascinating. We discussed the various reasons for placement about the head as well as the four different types of synchrony: alpha, gamma, low frequency and alpha theta. Each one of us is so very different and therefore each session and protocol is unique. All of it she said, is designed to elevate and regulate our brain to become more efficient (and I dare say, joyous too!).
Session 6 – 11.19.19 – Adult + Twins
We had a week between these sessions. Our normal protocol was twice a week, but we had a family emergency and had to alter the schedule. This also provided an opportunity to experience the longevity of our neurofeedback success. Did our positive response last longer than just a few days?
I was beginning to feel a bit of a plateau in our experience. In no way was it a bad thing, all three of us had a marked difference since we began neurofeedback, and we were delighted with our positive response to its effectiveness. That was until I understood something deeper. As noted previously, our brains direct so much of our lives and if we are dysregulated, elements in our lives too will be “off.” This new deeper sensation however was more along the lines of “stopping to smell the roses” and noticing more kindness in others. Wow. As our minds were in more of a calm state, it allowed for other elements of life to be noticed. It quite literally felt as if we were given more time in a day. Clearly not actual time, but the sensation of more time and space was a radical byproduct I did not expect.
Session 5 – 11.12.19 – Adult + Twins
Dysregulation is a mighty big word and I am finding it applies to a mighty big portion of our lives. In this way, and with this in mind (literally!), we are a hot mess. Our three brains are all over the map and in full throes of dysregulating. Not that it is overt (I hope), but all of these little elements of our lives like, sleep, anxiety, quick to anger, food cravings, learning, focus, calmness … it is all brain related. I feel like I know that, but I hadn’t considered it as wholistically as I/we are experiencing it now.
These last neurofeedback sessions are touching so many elements in our lives, that we are rather astounded. In short, Ladybug 1 shares she is more mellow, yet less tired. Ladybug 2 decided she would rather do her homework than be on a digital device (she is dyslexic so homework can be beastly!). And my take on my current all-over state is a calm alertness. So, we continue on our path from dysregulation to self-regulation and it feels rather terrific.
Session 4 – 11.8.19 – Adult + Twins
For some reason when I sit in the chair with the electrodes place upon my head, the earphones gracing my ears and the vibrating bear in my hands, I smile. I smile the entire 30 minute neurofeedback session. I haven’t a clue why and I am not forcing it by any means, it just happens. Charlotte the practitioner finds it amusing, and notably unusual, but a positive quirk nonetheless. On another slightly less positive note, the vibrant dreams hit deeply this week. I had an actual nightmare. It was amazing how realistic it was, I can still feel the dream, though the details have dissipated.
Ladybug 1 and 2 maintained their initial response to neurofeedback. Ladybug 1 stated that she remains feeling more “mature”, which is rather a big statement coming from a ten year old. She also felt less nervous and bothered by noises. She even noted that she felt stronger in math—I will be following this closely. As to Ladybug 2, she shares that her balance continues to get better, but my most joy-filled note is that she feels generally “happier.” A great start for the twins!
Session 3 – 11.5.19 – Adult + Twins Intake
After three sessions, I am still properly shocked that the brain fog has not returned and I continue to wake with ease (no back pain and relatively immediate alertness!). It is awesome. The food/sugar cravings have also significantly diminished, so much so, that I have noticed less gassy-ness in my system—weird but true. Lastly, my overall body tension has lightened which delivers more of an overall calm. I am mighty impressed and greatly thankful.
This week we also added the twins—Ladybug 1 and Ladybug 2. Ladybug 1 went through all of the intake testing afterschool one day, and while it was a great deal to accomplish, she couldn’t wait to get to the “watching” part, i.e. the actual neurofeedback session. Her ability to share what ails her and her interpretation as to the level of frustration it causes her, especially being dyslexic, was fascinating for me to hear (and I think relatively spot on). She sat in the chair, held the bear, popped on the headphones and experienced her first neurofeedback session. She was very tired and mellow at the end and as we walk into her next session today, she has noted her balance is better and her clumsiness has lessened. Wow. I did not see that coming.
Ladybug 2’s intake was also relatively accurate. She spoke so quickly and enthusiastically about herself that it took me by surprise. When I asked her about it later, she said she was just thankful to be able to share all of her feelings (a similar thought I had for my intake, a secret therapy session!). After working hard through her testing, she too was excited to begin her session. When it was over, she noted feeling, “zen” and more “mature”. She also felt the world was more “colorful” and shared that she was looking forward to being more organized. As she is the twin with the attention issues and building anxiety, this was music to my heart.
Looking forward to our neurofeedback journey together now. Who knows what else we’ll experience as our brains continue to elevate their own functionality!
Session 2 – 11.1.19 – Adult
Walking into this session was a breeze. We began promptly and I was still feeling quite a bit lighter than I remember feeling before beginning this neurofeedback journey. It was astounding to me that the cloud, or fog, that seemed so pervasive upon my mental state disappeared after the first session… and was still gone!
Some other interesting sensations to note after these first two sessions are that there is still no back pain upon waking. Further, I find waking far easier and I am more alert more immediately. The most unexpected, and rather impressive note, has to do with sugar cravings. They are mostly gone. Not only do I not desire sugary foods as I have for most of my life, but also sweet foods are not as satisfying when eaten. This has also somehow altered my metabolism and therefore delivered a little weight loss. A delightful perk I didn’t see coming.
In this second session, I also asked more specific questions about how this was all working. Apparently, the practitioner Charlotte was beginning to find my ideal brain wave frequency by starting in the back right of my head. This particular beginning point addresses physical calming, others may require another beginning point to address their needs. Brain evolution takes time and a careful and measured practitioner is key.
The next session is tomorrow and I am curious what I will learn and how I will feel. Will each session deliver new sensations to uncover as my brain begins to self-regulate?
INTAKE – Session 1 – 10.29.19 – Adult
Arriving at the offices of Dr. Terrence Moore, Sleep Specialist and Neurologist, was easy and welcoming. There is plenty of parking and the office is just off the 75 at Royal in North Dallas. After filling out some basic questions and signing some doctor office oriented forms, I was whisked back on time to meet with Charlotte.
I was warned the intake would be the longest session, and while that was true (three plus hours), the time flew. Charlotte compassionately asked a series of questions to fully understand the state of my mind/body past, present and desired future. It was as much therapy as it was a checklist of my whole health (and I secretly delighted in the reflective experience).
The questions were grouped in the following categories: sleep, pain, physical, physiological, emotional, behavior, attention, sensory, birth and early development. All clues that would be used in tracking the success of the neurofeedback sessions.
Then began the brain games, i.e. testing. The first was, the QIK Test, and it was like a game of concentration on steroids, but I finished with all my might. It even made me laugh at times as the task was so simple, click when you see a certain image, yet it was tough to stay focused. We did some other testing, IQ like, which can also be done at home. These results were all to provide a foundation and baseline of brain functionality to track.
Finally, it was time for the actual first Nerurofeedback session. Charlotte gently placed some key sensors upon my head, four I believe, and we began. The sensors are connected to the system (amplifier) that is adjusted throughout the session—more on this as I understand and experience it in future sessions. I held a bear that vibrated with the visuals I was watching and wore headphones that delivered the audio—a three prong delivery of sensations, visual, auditory and physical.
For some reason I smiled through the whole session. I felt delighted and happy, even though the visuals and sensations were not the most thrilling thing I had ever experienced, I just felt joyful. When it was over I was really feeling the joy. Most importantly, the brain fog was lifted, like my mental abilities were lighter and more agile. It may sound odd, but it was how it felt. My immediate general outlook was a bit brighter and I even noted enhanced taste sensations. To my greatest delight, I had no back pain when I woke up for the next two days either.
Will this all last?
The next session is tomorrow. I am excited to see what happens.