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Good Morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premiers Across Canada

This email is dedicated to the Desmond Family and so many soldiers and their families who are living with the trauma of war every day.

3 Step Process for Veterans

  • Step 1 Open up a Veterans Department in every hospital across Canada.
  • Step 2 Hire military medical personnel in all the Veterans Departments in local hospitals.
  • Step 3 Repeat Step 1 and 2 until all veterans receive help.

Let's Look into the Future when the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premiers of every province, who actually have the power the make a difference, make a decision to help our veterans.

Establishing a Veterans Department in every hospital in Canada, staffed with military personnel, is the answer!

The tragedy in Nova Scotia is your call to action, to realize that what is being done, is not good enough. Not Good Enough!

The proposal in this email will be simple but effective, and instead of more tragedies surrounding veterans issues and namely PTSD, you will provide hope and a new outcome written below.

Successful Scenario

Soldier musters enough courage to actually ask for help, and visits the local veterans department at their local hospital.

Soldier: I need help with my PTSD!

Military Medical Personnel: Right this way Soldier, we are going to help you.

Soldier: My family thanks you.

Do what you have the power to do, make a difference!!!!!

This blog post is dedicated to the Desmond Family and so many soldiers and their families who are living with the trauma of war every day.

This message is for Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne

Step 1 open up a veterans wing in every hospital across Canada

Step 2 Hire retired medical veterans on the Veterans Hospital Wings who can meet soldiers where they are.

Step 3 Repeat Step 1 and 2 until all veterans receive help

On October 27, 2016 there was a feature on The Nature of Things on CBC about Dr. Norman Doidge and his research and book about The Brains Way of Healing.

For anyone who has experienced a brain trauma, Dr. Doidge provides hope and has changed the verbiage surrounding brain trauma like:

          • “this is as good as it gets” or
          • “the brain does not heal” or 
          • “no, we don’t have a treatment for autism that works

And changes the words to:

          1. Let’s try Bioflex Laser Therapy or 
          2. The PoNS™ Device or
          3.  The LED light helmet for PTSD

I was initially introduced to Dr. Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself almost 8 years ago, and it was the first time that I actually saw my brain injury in print. When I read the case studies presented in that first book, I was able to piece together my brain injury and put the practice of neuroplasticity into my daily recovery.

Dr. Doidge’s new book The Brain’s Way of Healing provided a scientific view of all types of brain trauma based on the neurons in the brain miss-firing.

While watching the Nature of Things segment it became apparent, that technology has caught up with brain trauma, and is providing a new and exciting avenue for recovery for all types of brain trauma.

  • For anyone who has experienced a brain trauma in the past, it is not too late. 
  • For the caregiver who is looking for answers for recovery, kudos for all the research you have done so far for the person you care about. 
  • For all physicians who are involved from diagnosis to recovery you can now provide hope and a better way. If people are being diagnosed today with any type of brain trauma here are the links that will be important during their recovery.

CBC Nature of Things:  The Brain's Way of Healing

Dr. Doidge‘s Books:  The Brain's Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself

Dr. Kahn with Bioflex Laser Therapy: Bioflex Laser Therapy

Paul Bach-y-Rita, M.D founder of the The PoNS™ Device: https://tcnl.bme.wisc.edu/

Dr. Margaret Naeser in Boston uses a LED light helmet to treat PTSD victims: LED Light Helmet

Paul Madaule from the Listening Centre in Toronto in the treatment of Autism: http://listeningcentre.com/

Our work is just beginning but thank you to Dr. Doidge and other professionals for not giving up on us.

Thanks from a Brain Injured Person

 

Is thinking positive and stopping negative thoughts the same thing? I don’t think so!

I have written many times about my personal relationship with my brain trauma. The advice that was given so many times was to “think positive” but that is only part of the process.

Thinking positive is one thing but actually stopping a negative thought might be the missing piece for anyone living with the symptoms of brain trauma such as anxiety, PTSD and so many more brain diagnosis.

How does one stop a negative thought?

Does the negative thought happen so fast that you are caught unaware?

Is the difficulty in stopping a negative thought hampered by the fact that nobody has suggested an alternative to thinking positive?

Now is the time to think differently.

During my recovery the process of staying positive seemed to be manageable most of the time however, every once in a while “when the damaged brain has had enough” it wasn’t enough to think positive thoughts.

The learned process was actually talking to the negative thought, and not letting it get the upper hand and cause a change in behavior, that added confusion to the people who were trying to help.

It was difficult at first because it was a learned process, but over time whenever confronted with an unsafe feeling when the damaged brain seems to want to protect me, taking the time to make sure that the brain is giving me the right message can make a difference.

Sometimes the damaged brain sets me up by making me think that it has my best interest at heart but, I have learned to distinguish when the damaged brain is trying to sabotage my recovery.

It takes time but it is possible to stop the negative thoughts, and then replace those negative thoughts with a positive action.

Without action the negative thought will take over and thinking positive sometimes won’t be enough.

 

Attention All Brain Trauma People and the People Who Care for Them 

Thursday October 27, 2016 - The Nature of Things - The Brains Way of Healing

Nature of Things - October 27, 2016 - The Brains Way of Healing

This program will change your mind about how the brain works, how the brain can heal itself and change your recovery.

When people visit my website they will soon realize that I am a huge fan of Dr Norman Doidge.  The practice of neuroplasticity can make the difference to how recovery from all types of brain trauma progresses.

Now with new research Dr. Doidge is providing hope to people where hope was non-existent a few years ago.

Thursday October 27, 2016 - The Nature of Things - The Brains Way of Healing

Nature of Things - October 27, 2016 - The Brains Way of Healing

What is Stigma? Definition: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

We must stop using this word in reference to mental illness.

When dealing with any type of diagnosis surrounding the function of the brain it is really a lack of understanding.

People can no longer hide behind the word “stigma”

The people around the person struggling to “stay mentally well” play the most important role in making sure that when somebody they care about is experiencing brain issues, that the correct diagnosis is completed. People must exhaust all areas of expertise and get a second opinion.

All people who are struggling to “stay mentally well” must always have someone in their court in order to find the best recovery options.

Once a diagnosis is completed caregivers must “see the person” not the diagnosis. Caregivers must see beyond the reactions from the brain trauma. It is hard to do, but guaranteed your person will relax with the recovery process if “seeing the person” is done from the beginning! This will not be easy, but so necessary.

Educate people around the person with brain trauma. Be courageous and use these statements to make a difference, “I know you see the person I care about as mentally ill, but they are much more than that” and “I am sorry but you cannot label the person I care about, they are doing the best they can”

This will change people’s minds about how they perceive brain trauma and include the person with the brain trauma in the conversation.

All these things will be hard to say and do, but the person you care about needs to know that you have their recovery in front of mind.

Describing mental illness as a stigma undermines the strength it takes for people to “stay mentally well”

When mental illness is described as a stigma (by definition means a disgrace) the people who are trying to “stay mentally well”, certainly do not need a label of disgrace, they may already feel weak and alone.

The word “stigma” must be removed when talking about “mental illness”

Mental illness is a symptom of some type of brain trauma….the brain is in disorder…..and with neuroplasticity and time…..the disorderly brain can become orderly once again….without any stigma attached.

I am living proof.

 

Few people show up with enough compassion to separate the symptoms of PTSD and the actual person with the brain trauma.

Relationships after any type of brain trauma are especially difficult because, people with brain trauma eventually rant about any subject and hurt the people that they care about.

After the rant the brain injured person does not remember what they have said, but they only know that they have hurt the people they care about.

Before support groups were established for brain trauma, Facebook pages or other types of support, people were on their own to find coping skills to establish a new normal. It is only in the last 6 or 7 years that people have finally understood more about brain trauma, and designed effective programs to move recovery forward.

When I write about this, I think about the many people around the world who have experienced brain trauma in the past (brain trauma is not new) and were left to their own devices to find a way to cope the best way they could.

Understanding, patience, the willingness to ask questions and wait for the answer, and including the person with the brain trauma in the discussion, can be the key to making recovery different.

The willingness to separate the symptoms of brain trauma from the person takes compassion, understanding and the willingness to realize that brain trauma is permanent and there is no magic pill that will take it away.

I dedicate this article to the caregivers, friends and children who have shown up with compassion, you know who you are, and this brain injured person thanks you.

 

There are lots of people who live detached lives who don't have PTSD, but the thing that makes people with PTSD different is the awareness of the detachment.

The awareness of being emotionally detached can sometimes feel "less than human" however.....that is not true.

Being aware of emotions is a gift....and each and every human has the choice whether they react to an emotion (good or bad).

For people with PTSD having the courage to choose not to react is the strength that keeps people working towards a new normal.

It takes strength to know that people will judge the "detachment" or "label it as wrong" when needing some time to "regroup our emotions" can be the first step to dealing with the symptoms of PTSD.

Think of a world where “being aware of emotions” of yourself and others instead of a world of “reactions to emotions”

Detachment starts out as a “coping mechanism” throughout recovery from PTSD and other types of brain trauma that can turn into “an awareness” that can take recovery in a different direction.

Detachment is sometimes labeled as “not being interested” or “burying emotions” however it is really choosing how to react to emotions as they come along.

There is strength, courage and wisdom in a conscious decision not to react to “emotions” but it takes practice, patience and most of all celebrating the choice.

Brain Injured people never have a good day, each day is either better than the day before or worse.

The only factor that can make a worse day better is sleep.

People with brain trauma struggle with sleep patterns and it directly affects day to day living.

There is a buzz in the news surrounding how the lack of sleep affects people, but people who live with any type of brain trauma, already know how lack of sleep can make the difference between a better days or worse days.

The science of neuroplasticity tells us that we can train our brains to overcome the effects of brain trauma.

Is this true?

Yes indeed.

Putting into practice the science of neuroplasticity takes work but is certainly possible. Anyone who has been living with any type of brain trauma for a long time already “unconsciously” uses neuroplasticity to learn to live with their new brains.

After a diagnosis of brain trauma if people “consciously” use neuroplasticity, recovery could move in a different direction from the beginning.

If you have any type of brain trauma or care for someone who does, you must insist that everyone involved in the recovery process “consciously” uses neuroplasticity.

The education learning curve will be steep but worth the climb in the end.

If you are a medical professional involved in recovery options for people with all types of brain trauma, educate yourself in the practice of neuroplasticity….your patients will thank you.

If you are a brain trauma organization you can initiate a change on how mental wellness programs are delivered at every level of recovery by including neuroplasticity in every institution and learning institutions…society will thank you.

 

Throughout recovery there have been many things written about managing triggers when dealing with the symptoms of brain injuries and PTSD.

From personal experience it might be more important to manage the “reaction to the triggers” than the triggers themselves.

I remember my first experience when “my damaged brain had had enough”, and there was a strong emotional reaction, that happened so fast and without warning, there was no time to prepare.

I was alone! I was scared! And first thoughts in no uncertain terms were “I was going crazy”

Since that first emotional outburst almost 20 years ago, I have drawn some conclusions based on learning to live with my new brain.

Emotional outbursts happen whether there are people around or if someone is alone.

The brain is trying to communicate that there is “information overload happening” in the damaged brain.

Emotional outbursts are less scary when there is someone around that truly understands what needs to be done.

Very few people show up with the compassion needed to separate the symptoms of brain injuries and PTSD from the actual person during an emotional outburst.

Understanding what is happening in the damaged brain, and telling someone what you need, can make a difference.

These emotional outbursts are manageable with patience, understanding and gentleness.

Getting to the root of why the “damaged brain reacts to triggers” and including the science of neuroplasticity in the process, could make the difference between “living on the edge”, and finally “relaxing” with the process of recovery.

The option above sounds more progressive than just focusing on triggers.

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5 Answers to New Brain Living – The First Step to Learning to Live With Your New Brain

5 Answers to New Brain Living: Answers for Creating a Personal Recovery Path After a Brain Injury

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