Social Anxiety Case Results
“We now find that when the brain is put in touch with itself (the elemental principal of biofeedback), miraculous things begin to happen. Among other things, it is eminently capable of modifying itself without chemicals or mechanical help. Aberrations such as depression and anxiety are not ‘things’ (symptoms) to be ‘eliminated’ but suboptimal conditions of the nervous system when it isn’t working so well. When functionality is restored, and the system begins intelligently to self-regulate, the ‘symptoms’ drop away by themselves.”
– The Neurofeedback Solution by Stephen Larson, page 37
HPN High Performance Neurofeedback and Craniosacral therapy are not exactly the first things people try when they are in trouble. Although I don’t know why, the combination is so beautiful I think everyone should be doing it, even when people aren’t in trouble. Especially when they are not in trouble – that way they can enjoy the benefits without having to wait for it to fix something. It’s like massage. I have clients who come to me for repair, and clients who use HPN and Craniosacral as preventative medicine and enjoy the benefits.
When I was first learning HPN I practiced on my friends and optimized their brains just for fun. They experienced heightened mental acuity, clarity, and relief from social anxiety. But when people find me it’s more often because they are in dire need of help.
Then there are my “easy” social anxiety cases. They are great fun. They move through fast because their brains tend to reset fast. Most of them hear about me through word of mouth and are curious about HPN, worried enough about being worried enough to give it a shot. Their only “suboptimal condition” as Mr. Larsen puts it, is anxiety. They complain that if they weren’t so anxious their life would be better. Which is good news because they are getting their functionality restored before the anxiety takes hold and starts to wire their neurons into something worse.
The neurons that fire together wire together. Anxiety breeds anxiety. It builds on itself. For example a panic attack – people can feel it coming on, something is triggered, the brainwaves cascade in the direction of the attack, the heart pounds, cannot breathe, hyperventilation, a feeling of dying, and the fight or flight system takes over. Or anger. Left unaddressed anger turns to rage turns to violence turns to crime. The sad thing is that many people with rage have been upset for so long that the neurons that fired together wired together, and they had no control over what they did since it started out with anxiety and some brainwaves that could easily have been reset back when the anxiety was manageable. How much nicer would the world be without ragers? Then there is social anxiety disorder. People turn down invitations because parties are torture, or drink and drug themselves into a stupor to not feel the anxiety of being around others. Some cannot handle grocery stores or restaurants. I have had clients tell me they enjoyed a gathering for the first time in decades, their brains now able to sustain a feeling of ease throughout social events, when before they could not bear to be in a cluster of humans without alarm.
Anxiety causes sleep and digestive issues. The nervous system has two settings – sympathetic and parasympathetic – fight or flight and resting state. Sympathetic is geared toward action and survival, Parasympathetic toward healing, restoration and digestion. Humans are the only animal that has this stress button that we keep punching. It triggers the sympathetic nervous system into action and suppresses the parasympathetic nervous system – turning on the fight or flight and suppressing the body’s innate ability to rest, restore, and digest. Over, and over, and over. The brainwaves respond to the stress state and the neurons that fire together wire together. The brain gets stuck in fight or flight, and depending on your genetic predisposition you’ve opened yourself up to a host of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, digestive disorders, inflammation responses, and other complaints, from psychological to autoimmune. All because of anxiety.
Anxiety can drive more serious conditions. Add anxiety to any situation and it is a danger when it’s spinning out of control. For those with addictions, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum, lack of impulse control and emotional hyperreactivity, anxiety is an absolute hazard. I find that when people come to me in trouble, once the anxiety subsides after a few HPN and Craniosacral sessions, they are able to manage their condition more effectively. For some it is a matter of whether or not they can get and keep a job or stay in school. Will they be a contributing citizen or a ward of the state? Will they go back to rehab or will they stay clean? Will they hurt themselves or others? Who will make it? These clients take more time than the ones I want to share with you today, but their results are tremendous when we keep working.
Here are quotes from some of my easy anxiety clients. They were all successful in their lives before they came to me and they continue their success with more clarity and less stress. They came to me to rewire their social anxiety before their anxiety rewired them, and they all had fast results with me. One is going through a divorce, all of them have high pressure jobs, some of them have small children, one is in a 12 step program.
Here is what they have to say about my protocol of HPN High Performance Neurofeedback and Craniosacral therapy.
“I don’t overthink things as much as I used to, I feel like I am more normal. I didn’t go to a group thing this week and didn’t feel guilty that I let people down and felt good about it. I used to worry all the time. I used to ruin whatever I was doing by feeling guilty or worrying or doing something wrong. I had a good reason for not going and felt ok with it. I honestly feel like I am more productive because I am not frazzled. I just do now instead of worry. Headaches are much better. I always get headaches during rainy time and don’t now.”
“This feels like when you do drugs – what people seek is relief. I feel focused and relaxed. This clears out anxiety, stressful thoughts, my mind gets more aligned, I can think more clearly. In terms of what I am going through stress wise, it helps me not get overwhelmed by emotion, disappointment, sadness and turmoil. It helps me feel like I can deal with the turmoil that is going on in my life. It’s helping me compartmentalize the way I am doing things. I am making better boundaries. I am being very sane about things in an insane time of my life. I also started running every day.”
“I used to lose my temper with my daughter and now I can handle her and her tantrums from a more calm place. I decided to do this just as a mom for my stress. You want to be able to handle your kids from a calm place. Kids don’t deserve to get yelled at and they push you to your limits. This makes me be able to honestly handle them calmly. Before I could literally feel my blood boil and I would erupt. I don’t now. And my daughter knows I am calm.”
“I used to have panic attacks, I drank to feel normal, on the edge of my seat, road rage, insomnia. I am in clean in 12 step recovery, but the nerves never went away. Since doing this I don’t have panic attacks, social situations are easy, I don’t get mad like I used to, I don’t take things personally like I used to. I don’t fight life anymore. My brain doesn’t work that way now.”
“At first it seemed very subtle, but I always relaxed at the end of each session. I am an antsy person. But as time went on I began noticing that my memory was improving, and more profoundly lately, my attitude is changing. I was antagonistic with my bosses as they were thrust upon me at the beginning of the year as replacement of the old regime. Lately I actually like them and feel comfortable in my job. I was ready to throw in the towel, and that scared me. But somewhere along the line I didn’t have any qualms or upset with them. I have more energy lately too. I don’t get so upset with myself when something goes wrong. Old cringeworthy memories have ceased to bother me. Each thing has come up in my sessions with Rachel as hot topics, then afterwards never to be a subject of shame again.”
“Stress feels like a tunnel and when you come out of it it’s like it opens up. I definitely experience the clean windshield effect. I’m falling asleep better now. I have less of the worry creeping in at night. I’m definitely not feeling anxiety the way I used to. I approached business contacts easily that I was previously nervous about. That helped my self esteem.”