There have often been days when I just struggle to get out of bed. Function? That is more difficult some days than it is other days. I am sure there are many reasons for that. But one reason is because of the trauma to my brain that I received at various times in my life. As a child I was beaten about the head by a perpetrator. I have been in auto accidents that resulted in damage. I lived a rough life that invited damage to the head. All of these things have contributed to brain damage that has progressively made it more and more difficult for me to function cognitively.
In what ways did all that trauma affect me? My close friends know how frustrated I have been over the loss of ability to hold a thought long enough to do anything about it. I closed my computer repair business because it got to the point where it took so long to complete tasks that I just did not feel like it was fair to charge for my work. I am forgetful to the point that I need to call someone to remind me of why I went to the store or what I was doing on the computer. If my friends do not hear someone ask me for something that I cannot do on the spot, it just does not get done because I need a reminder. I have been told “Make a list.” I do. Then I cannot find the list. I don’t remember where I put things and they get lost, sometimes for years. That is a very frustrating way to live. I often get frustrated, angry and depressed because I am so helpless to change any of it. I have even gotten angry with God for allowing these things to happen to me. But God is always patient with me. When I can remember to ask Him for help to find things that I have lost, He has been faithful to remind me as to where those things are. He is understanding about my emotional upheaval when things do not go smoothly. But, He always reminds me that He did not cause the trauma to my brain and He will walk with me through it all.
This year a friend discovered a treatment that she thought might help me. It is called LENS (light energy neuro-feedback system) from Ochs Labs. I have been going for treatments weekly. I am excited about it because I am already seeing progress on the charts and in my daily life. I am able to curb my tongue better. I don’t get as angry or frustrated. The depression and helplessness have lifted. I am calmer overall and do not feel like I have to fight to get each thought to where I can reach it. My memory is beginning to improve…just beginning. What is most amazing to me is that I occasionally recognize a thought that I have not spoken. I do not ever remember a time when I knew what I was thinking without speaking it out or reading it first. I was obviously thinking, but it was all on the subconscious level until I spoke it out and heard the words being spoken. The brain trauma prevented me from accessing my own thoughts.
The way the brain works, according to the brain research studies, is as follows:
- All input from our 5 senses begins to be processed at the back of the brain, moves to the right side as experiential knowledge and then across to the left side for cognitive processing.
- Everything from our environment must enter through the initial processing center at the back of the brain. When it does that, it gives our brains 1/6 of a second to determine if it is safe or not and if not, to then enter into fight, flight or freeze mode.
- If it is safe, or after it becomes safe again, the information is sent to the right brain to be stored as experiential knowledge. The right brain does not have words, just pictures and emotion connected to those pictures.
- Once the right brain has the information, it is shared with the left brain. The left brain then tries to put it all into words and to make it functionally usable.
The problem comes when any of the process is interrupted at any point. Damage to the back of the brain creates a brain storm that scatters information as it comes in preventing the information from being able to move on to the right brain. None of us receives 100% of the information our environment presents to us. Some of it is filtered out as being irrelevant or unnecessary. So all of us will have incomplete information to pass to the picture/emotion/experience dependent right brain. But if there is trauma to the back of the head, that makes data even more incomplete because information is being prevented from getting through the storm. As my brain treatment tech explained, it is like the information is hitting a fan that scatters the information so it cannot stick. So much for the short term memories. That capacity is mostly disabled. Any information that can get through is then moved to the right brain. Incomplete as it is, the right brain still tries to process it and store what it receives and understand it. Because it is incomplete information, it cannot make sense and can create emotional reactions and misinterpretations. In other words, I might believe someone said one thing when in fact they said something else. This can create relational misunderstandings. It can make it difficult to learn and can stir up a lot of emotional distress.
What happens if there is right brain trauma as well? There will be a similar storm in the right brain as our brain compensates for the damaged area. More information gets lost in that storm so there is even less to process. Right brain has too many gaps in experiential information which stirs up more emotional reaction.What is left of the information gets sent on to the left brain. The left brain cannot make sense out of what it receives. The left brain deals with words and logic. It has nothing to hang onto if the information does not make sense. It must then interpret what it receives and use that to function. Left brain and the frontal lobe are struggling with the lack of information that can get through. Lets add trauma to the frontal lobe of the brain. That makes it very difficult to do daily functions.
I am thankful that I am able to think, even if it is out loud leaving me with no private life. I am thankful that God is willing to guide me through each day making life tolerable. I am grateful for friends who patiently help me when I struggle. I am thankful that it is not worse than it could be. Twenty years ago I would not have had the words to explain what I was going through. I felt alone and like nobody could possibly understand. I have been through a lot in my life. The most difficult thing I have had to deal with is the fact that I have to pay the consequences for other people’s sins. But I have learned that God will deal with the perpetrators and He will redeem my past experiences and the consequences of what I went through. He has made it possible for me to receive this LENS therapy and begin the healing process for the physical consequences I live with.
Life could have been a lot worse for me. But it wasn’t and isn’t and I am grateful. I have forgiven my perpetrators for their actions against me. That sets me free. I have been in process for 16 years healing the emotional scars. Now I am beginning the healing process for my physical trauma and I am at peace. God is using my life to help others begin their healing process. That does not mean all my issues are resolved. I will be in this process of mind renewal until the day I see Jesus face to face. What it does mean is that I am now at a place where I will no longer keep myself in a place of bondage by unforgiveness and anger.
I believe that God means it when He says, “If you will not forgive, God in heaven will not forgive you.” Mark 11:26 Unforgiveness not only keeps us in bondage, it sets us up to being our own god and judge. God will not tolerate idol worship. Forgiveness is a much better path. Unforgiveness makes us the slave of those whom we will not forgive. It is hard to forgive when we are so deeply wounded because we want the other person to get punished for what they did to us. My question is, do you want to be forever the slave of your perpetrator always bowing to their will? If not, forgiveness will free you from them. Receiving truth from God in the inner places of hurt will make it easier to forgive. God will deal with your perpetrators. He can think up punishments worthy of their sins.
A very important point to remember is that people are not our enemies. The scripture teaches us that the real enemies are the principalities and powers of darkness, the evil spirits who rule this world, Ephesians 6:12. How do those evil spirits rule this world? Through the lies and misconceptions we all believe. Satan controls us when we have lies, hatred and malice in our hearts. We serve him with our unforgiving hearts. He uses our faulty belief systems to destroy us. Those same faulty belief systems are what drive people to be perpetrators. Our enemy is in the spiritual realm. If we focus on making people our enemies, we join Satan in his attacks on humanity.
Brain damage, even if it is so slight that it is not noticed, can make us vulnerable to believing lies because we do not have enough information getting through to make the kinds of interpretations that promote peace in our own hearts. All of us have faulty belief systems in place in our right brain. We don’t have to have brain trauma for that to be an issue. Ask God to guide you to each place where you have a faulty belief system set in place and ask Him for the truth that will set you free.
Praising God for you! Blessings!