Two weeks ago, my biofeedback trainer re-assessed my brain at the PZ-O1 position — left back of skull. Last week we continued gamma brainwave biofeedback training at that position and will do so for ten sessions total. And then re-assess.
My gamma was unusually low last week. It finally rose to my normal above-1.0 gamma/muscle tension ratio during the SMIRB writing portion of my training (SMIRB: Stop My Irritating Ruminations Book). Although my mind wanted to stay in disconnected, intellectual mode as I wrote, I tried to connect with my emotions. It felt like I was coming up against this wall of resistance and like walking through molasses to reach that wall. So I’d take a break from that effort to connect and go back into intellectual mode; then I’d try to connect again.
It was impossible.
But I wonder if gamma rose a lot anyway because I was trying to connect? I kept trying because the biofeedback data during the previous screens had shown me that although I was disconnected, my brain was still processing some heavy emotions and trauma.
My heart rate at the start was pretty good: 103. But training the brain was unbelievably hard, busy brain was higher than usual, and my heart rate rose with each screen. My muscle tension dropped though, a good thing since low muscle tension makes gamma brainwave training more doable. Above 2, gamma training apparently becomes difficult; mine had begun closer to 3. Flashbacks make your shoulders rise. Sigh.
I’d had a flashback a couple of weeks ago before last week’s biofeedback session, and as a result, my neurodoc had spent extra time with me and had called me several times to ensure I was okay. He told me to remind myself that the remembered event wasn’t happening, that it’s 2014, that all that’s in the past and I’m in the present. He told me other stuff specific to the trauma and flashback as well, to put them into context. And you know, it worked. The visuals receded; I no longer felt like the memory was in my face.
Still, having the flashback released some profound memories and related emotions, emotions that at the time these events had happened, my damaged brain had been unable to create or to connect to.
As my plasticity, spurred on by the brain biofeedback releases memories, it also allows emotions to arise; it connects the emotions I can only now properly feel today with the events that happened in the past. It leads to a melding of the two, and it’s like past and present become one.
With my neurodoc’s help, I separated the two that melded during my most recent flashback and began to process the emotion itself. I felt grounded and no longer traumatized. Yet the EEG and ECG data after I’d settled down clearly showed my brain was still processing the whole thing.
It’s a little freaky that your unconscious can do things without you being aware of them.
Now that I am aware, I realize that my unconscious creates this state of being disconnected or disassociated from my emotions when I become overwhelmed, but it’s only temporary. It won’t be long before emotions connect to my conscious mind again and shake me around. But it’s not as crushing as it would have been when the events originally happened because today I am mentally stronger, have healed a lot, and I have a good team, who can not only help me with flashbacks but also help me relearn what is normal and how normal emotions feel (after a 14-year absence, you tend to forget what normal feels like). And now that my neurodoc has suddenly been made aware of some bad shit* hidden underneath my polite demeanour, he’s fixed a laser eye on me. The quicksand under my feet is beginning to firm up.
*No, I’m not telling anyone the specifics of that traumatizing experience, but I will say it was not sexual abuse, child abuse, physical violence, or anything like that.