Neuroplasticity and Cool Stuff

So. I have been living my life in a Black Pit of unreachable depression lately. When I get like that I have lost hope for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s a trigger, sometimes it’s therapy or the weather, and sometimes I’m just overwhelmed. The latter is the cause of this latest and rather dangerous fall. Of course, I am quite sick and have been for a month and a half and I’m sure at this point that’s a contributing factor, but so be it.

Monday in therapy I asked for and received a third session with T for today. I was just so down and figured if I didn’t get myself out of it by today I’d be in big trouble. And if I did get out of the Funk it would be good to see her anyway. Apparently somebody had sent her an email yesterday from the Hospital basically saying there was no point in further existence and there is no such thing as Pixie Dust, the Black Pit’s name for all things emotionally and spiritually positive. Not so much.

So we talked about that abit, describing the Pit in greater detail. We agreed that what I want from therapy is exactly what she plans to help me with. All good.

Then T says I want to talk about something if it’s okay, I’d like to talk about neuroplasticity. Our ears shot up, how cool. If you’ve not heard this buzzword bandied about, in a nutshell it means the brain can make new connections from nerve to nerve. Like new little passageways from place to place to place to place to…..In other words we can create new associations. Things that may set us off into a bad space now can be sort of rewired to take us elsewhere. Hypercool.

What we are going to do is to increase the currently barely-existent connection between my limbic system, the part of the head that handles emotions etc. and the frontal lobes which house the intellect et al. What this will do for me is to give me the ability to make meaning of the common-sense stuff of my intellect and use that to make more positive meaning of the crap that’s sitting trapped in my poor overworked limbic system.

For example, I know that I am not to be blamed for what various bastards did to me as a child. I understand what drives the toxic shame inside and out. But that means nothing to me emotionally because the messages between the two parts of my brain aren’t flowing back and forth. Trauma does this to people, it messes up that information flow. It really messes kids up. And when those kids started being sexually abused young enough, like me at 2 years of age, some stuff just doesn’t ever get developed.

I feel like a kid in a candy store. This is exactly my head. As T was describing this I kept nodding my head, yup yup yup that’s exactly right.  When the frontal cortex can have influence, then I will be able to much better tolerate the emotional overload that right now is excruciatingly unbearable.  Right now if I say to myself no this or that horrible emotion/belief isn’t true, Ms. Limbic tells me to shut up and finds a way to punish me for my brashness.  She is totally in control when she wants to be.

So, how do we go about this?  EMDR.  T has been doing it pretty much from it’s onset and totally gets what’s up with it.  I had had EMDR several years ago when I was in a chic nuthouse in Arizona.  Follow the red lights left to right to left to right.  Trying to get out what at the time were well-buried traumatic memories.  Did nothing but make me slightly dizzy. 

T says well things are very different with us.  Right now the last thing you need is more recollection of traumatic memories.  We are going to use this technique for 10-15 seconds at a time.  Breathe being mindful for a minute or so, then do this thing for a few seconds, then back to your breath.  Just let  the thoughts and emotions pass thru you.  Notice them and let them pass.  Which is the essence of the religion I grew up in and continue to practice when I’m able.  Meditation.

So.  My intellectual parts are having a field day.  Ooooh, new toy!  My limbic system is happy too.  Ooooh, T really knows.  As I sit here trying to bargain with my internal cast of characters there seems to be a willingness to give it a shot by and large.  Hope is back in town. 

What we are doing now is getting me stable enough to handle the masses of emotional fog that threaten to throw us off the bridge on a nearly constant basis.  I really don’t know how to process emotion.  I am a pro at avoidance.  Sitting with it is just a nightmare.  So this is really cool news.

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2 Comments

  1. Karita said,

    April 29, 2010 at 4:59 am

    This is so cool to read. Your T sounds really good for you. I’m so glad hope has returned. *Hugs*

  2. April 29, 2010 at 5:04 am

    It IS cool thus far. Site I’ll blab all about it as time goes by.


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