It was a beautiful sunny day in Colorado. I was feeling happy working at home with my three Rotties. Suddenly realizing I needed something from downstairs.
We began our decent rounding the L shaped stairs of my Victorian home, passing a huge aviary standing by sun lit window. Singing birds where fluttering about, gathering fresh nesting material I had placed inside, bathing in the fresh water and eating their seed and grubs.
My three Rottweilers followed me playfully down the stairs, and I noticed, I was forgetting what I needed.
An ambiguous daze began to filter over my thoughts. I walked through the small foyer into the living room towards the large wooden pocket doors, thinking; “what was it I wanted? Oh, I will remember when getting to the kitchen!”
Passing through the dinning room, glancing through the huge 1800’s stain glass windows, “reminiscing the beauty of old craftsmanship, hearing the trickling sound of the pedestal fountain in the corner; I stepped into the kitchen and stopped!
Turning slightly to see another door leading to the back yard. Glancing left, another hallway to an office, bathroom and library.
Where am I?
My Rotties stared at me, titling their heads, happiness wilting.
Walking back into the large dinning room, skimming over the huge glass table with seated high back turquoise chairs, the appointed art eased my eyes. Hearing water spilling startled me, “it’s a pedestal fountain, how lovely, I thought.”
Gazing at the tall white calla lilies leaning gently in a translucent glass vase, my eyes admiringly followed upward to an extensive stained glass window. The tall thick lilac bushes caught my attention, covering a tall wooden fence, lending privacy from the public sidewalk.
All was deathly quiet, while my Rottweilers gawked at me!
Continuing my inquisitive search about the house, in front of me were tall wooden pocket doors leading into a living room. Another matching window where a garden filled with colour sat outside.
Nothing was familiar!
Frozen, as I stood on wooden floors, mesmerized by a home I didn’t know, thinking; “what a lovely place, and what room is this? With antiques chairs, antiques glass book case, a reading sofa, woven rug under another glass table?
I did not recognize anything, questions filled part of my mind in seconds, as I admired the art.
Who am I?
I have evaporated!
My skin crawled, my brain was blank! I had no recollection of my life!
Once again, slowly glancing around, attempting to find something familiar, for the first time in my life, Fear encompassed my entire being!
Tears began to well in my eyes, the absence of me, was overwhelming! I am not accustomed to fear or tears.
Slowly my body sank backward towards a small portion of the dinning room wall – sliding down, a watershed in tears engulfed my being.
Inspecting the three somber Rottweilers, wonderment and care filled their faces.
“What am I doing here?”
I clung to their robust muscular bodies, wailing into the Rottweiler’s necks.
Time fleeted into space unknown! How I returned to myself will forever remain a mystery.
In hindsight, I could recollect the entire milestone, except the reason why I went downstairs and time passing as I became myself once again.
Previously a doctor stated I had a very mild TBI. The insurances’ refused, not allowing any recommended therapy, except, cognitive testing.
“What is a TBI, I asked?” “A Traumatic Brain Injury, it will resolve itself in time!” said the doctor, no other information was given.
Confusion would begin to riddle my life at unbeknownst times, with no warning.
I would notice, while seeing patients in my private practice, a dizziness would engulf me when they waved their hands, wiggle their feet or tossed their head.
Forgetting simple little moments became a hindering discouragement. I began to leave colourful post-its around the entire house with pens, including the bathrooms and car.
The very act of picking up the pen to jot the note, made me forget what I was to write!
Having lunch with a dear friend and colleague, who also specialized in Trauma Recovery, she did not understand my odd behavior and I forgot to mention, “TBI.” There were no correlation in my studies. No one knew the term!
My brain blanked out the letters, TBI, and I became “A Stranger in my own familiar life!”
Symptoms ran the gamut with no understanding, no interrelation between a moments’ whip lash or indications “something is direly wrong!”
One time I sought out a well known psychiatrist, informing her, I had a TBI. In our first session she admitted she knew nothing about TBIs and stated, “You are a Manic Depressive Bipolar!
Having two therapist in a room, neither knowing what a TBI was, becomes a heated moment when told I was a Manic Bipolar. Our educated experiences are at risk and so are our egos.
One moment I was fine, working at my usual speed and pace. The next moment, there would be utter confusion, as I drove to a long time friends’ house.”
I began to train myself for these oddities; writing down addresses and names of where I was to drive. Most times, with one of my Rotties by my side, my memory would be clear, and would arrive at my destination easily.
The next moment due to [construction or seasonal changes], would exacerbate massive confusion; “where am I, and where are we going?”
I would stop the car, stand outside alone, figure out where I was, glance at my notes and picture the destination driving home, in order to reach my destination.
I could not talk about it, because I could not remember there was a problem!
“I am lost in all these quirks, one moment I am myself and then POW [!!] Who Am I?
A Quest was born!
A great loss was yet to come. My best friend and colleague bumped into each other at Target. Mammalian Instincts girdled me, as I was making a massive run for the exit, not understanding crowds had become an overwhelm!
“MicheleElys, so good to see you, I have someone for you to meet!” Stunned, panic setting in, not understanding the new instinctual nature, “I have to leave, I must get outside” as I pushed passed her, through the automatic doors.
My first mild panic attack was consuming my senses, something new I could not explain! She was taken back by my behavior!
We attempted to talk through the oddities, but I forgot the word TBI!! Would the word TBI, had made a difference to either one of us, being therapists? No!
I transferred my practice primarily to my trusted colleague, closed down the nonprofit ARIA which I founded. My work remained at a hospital, training the entire staff. And, continued Keynote speeches for another year.
The three to four days became too much. Needing a break, I rented my Victorian, packed all art and antiques; sold most of the furnishings and moved out of state. The seventh day after my arrival in Taos, I found and purchased my Beloved Arabian horse KlassicAmir, who became my life savior. Equine (Hippo therapy) Therapy!
Nothing made sense! So I wrote, what then was nonsense.
Allowing instinctual logic to rule my life, I RESTed! And walked my Arabian like a dog; he was untrained! Others had hisse fits, yelling at me “your Arabian will “Kill you, he is a rogue horse!”
Responding to the hysterical strangers; “he needs someone to trust, as I do.” 19 years later KlassicAmir saved my life many times and help me think through each step of my recovery.
We rode off by ourselves into the wide open range of pastures and sandy arroyos. Through grottoes, past waterfalls with my dog running along side. Up steep long hills on ranch acreage. KlassicAmir and I spoke secretively, trust claimed a calming relationship.
I wrote to a TBI magazine, placing an ad for others to tell me about their experiences.
Aghast, at who wrote in return, detailed letters. CEO’s, Bankers, Secretaries, Machinist, Skiers and more. It was all overwhelming, I was still in no shape to construct a book; recovery was never mentioned!
Fast Forward to 2010, much of life had transpired with an additional critical injury and formidable TBI. I found Dr. Fitz who knew of a rather new technique, “Brain Spotting.” This allowed me to travel into my brain and begin to discover areas of damage, ameliorating trauma, gaining insight. We worked for six months together, unraveling major traumatized areas. Nonetheless, addressing the TBI symptoms, she told me; “MicheleElys, you are going to discover the answers on your own.”
Armed with Fierce Determination and Grit. In part feeling nutz the other half steadfast with my Arabian horse. Working through meddlesome Amnesia episodes and more; what else does a scientist do, other than become their own “lab rat!”
I contemplated weather patterns while in an Amnesia episode, places, people, conversations. The moments transpiring prior to disorientation – confusion and the Amnesia episodes, acutely watching every moment.
The second clue came first, I logically thought my way through these episode and life, not knowing who I was or where I was in time and space.
In hindsight most every moment of an Amnesia episode, I could remember later; this became the crucible connection for a cure.
Logically, I forced myself to work through episodes, such as grocery shopping at TJoes.
As the confusion began, cogent while entering an Amnesia episode, determined to finish my day, sometimes pulling off the road and rethinking routes, reviewing my list, calling my friend at TJoes, “I am coming in Amy, please tell Joan.”
It was Christmas time, the store was too busy for my service dog to accompany me. Joan asked, “are you sure, you are pale as a ghost!” “Yes, I have to do this! I must understand how this process begins and ends to find a cure!”
Suppressing my emotions, focusing on my list, remembering the places where I could find each item with Joan by my side; rechecking the list over and over, I would be done. Joan asked, “can you drive home, do you know your way? Taking a deep breath, “I am getting better at this and yes I have figured it out and Sädé is in the car!”
Once late in 2016, I could feel the confusion slowly encompassing me, as if I were awash by a tsunami of shadows, entering the Amnesia state, I saw a static! This was my breakthrough. Preventing the full static, pulling back and reorienting myself through the confusion, using the logic that had always been present, I worked with my own thought processing, to pull me away from the Amnesia. It stopped!
Purposely going to TJoes, making a short list in the car, telling my dog Sädé, it will be only a few moments. Telling Joan, I am barely in and out, but I know I can work through this episode. We completed my shopping, and Joan asked as always, “Can you drive home.” With great confidence, I said YES!
When arriving home, grabbing my notepad, writing the vision and emotion associated with the static, logically pulling through the confusion, rewiring my brain to move forward is when I discovered, “CNBR; cognitive neural behavior rewiring.” A format in which, releasing the emotions, clarifying the confusion, focusing on my mission and visually seeing each step that had to be taken, was a pivotal point in discovering a cure.
A mere process was founded in the 1950’s by a neuroscientist, he coined the phrase “self-guided neuroplasticity.”
In early 2017, while in traffic, the tiniest of confusion started in my body, the static moment was recognizable. Before the confusion reached a pinnacle “phase out of memory,”
I began to think through my day, where I was going, reorienting myself while in traffic, within minutes. This was the first time I completely abate a Transient Amnesia episode.
There was one more episode to come, I stopped it dead cold using my CNBR system.
I am free of all Transient Amnesia episodes, also moments of confusion are cleared and I have complete ability to change in seconds.
Now in 2018, after 10 TBIs and 4 concussions, I have recovered completely, [except the severe tinnitus], where I taught myself how to Hear lips!
There is recovery, you need not just survive. And there is much more to be told to an entire world on TBI and Trauma Recovery.
Recovery begins Now!
For our brain has unknown capacity!
Dedicated to Behavioral Solutions for the betterment of life. ©
About the Author: Dragon Slayer of Myths™ MicheleElys is a Neuro/Psych/Behaviorist – Writer – Keynote Speaker. Innovative Behavioral Solutions & TBI Trauma Recovery. Therapist/Life~Coach/Educational Consultant.
MicheleElys is the founder of CNBR [cognitive neural behavior rewiring]. For personal, individual groups or workplace expansion in behavioral solutions, invite MicheleElys to speak at your next forum. Connect with her on LinkedIn, G+
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