January 12, 2009

Inviting Neuroplasticity Part 1

I used to be able to write and speak easily and eloquently.
It was effortless and actually really enjoyable. So was thinking.

No longer. Now those are challenging and frustrating - writing the most (ironic that I recently I chose to begin a blog).
At times, I feel that that ease of cognitive function is one of the things I miss the most from my life before MCS.

My cognitive symptoms/challenges (I don't like the words 'dysfunction' or 'limitations' even if they are true) are by far the worst during or after an exposure but there is a certain level of difficulty I experience all of the time. I have not had a neurological assessment, SPECT scan or MRI and I have no idea if I have 'brain damage'. I don't really care to know. I know my brain works differently than it used to as far as cognition is concerned. Maybe certain neural 'pathways' or areas are damaged or blocked.

I used to think, write, speak and communicate at a certain 'level' and now I do all of those things at a far lower level... yet still high enough that I am painfully aware of all that I have lost. I don't feel I'm expressing this well. It is a deep grief and a daily frustration - especially when I have all sorts of ideas and viewpoints that I would love to be sharing in this blog.

For inspiration and hope, I look to stroke patients and patients with various types of brain injury. Among them are people who have relearned far beyond what anyone predicted they could.
Our brains are miraculous, amazing things.
Neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain to 'rewire' itself after damage (or more scientifically: the process by which neurons create new connections among themselves) - is itself a wonderful, exciting thing. It is now known that activity in the brain that is associated with a specific action or function can actually move to a different area in the brain!
I imagine a horde of happy little neurons coming to the place that they normally 'cross the river' only to find the bridge is missing. Instead of giving up, they decide to actually build a new bridge! A bit cheesy but inspiring.

The mind-body connection is not well understood yet but many health care professionals accept that it does exist and can greatly effect the outcome of injuries, illness and disease.

With this in mind, I have decided to try regularly talking to my brain(when I remember). Yes, this may sound 'crazy' but I figure I have nothing to lose (unless I talk to it in public :)!

I am going to invite my brain to heal, let it know that I love it, that I honour and cherish it and marvel at how amazing it is! I'll tell it that I'm so glad it exists, and that I trust it to find new ways to communicate. I'll let it know what I want - to communicate easily and well - and tell it that I will be open to whatever ways it can provide.

My old, 'normal' ways of thinking, writing and speaking simply aren't working well for me anymore. When I try to use them, I get totally jumbled up, confused and frustrated.
It is doing me no good to keep holding onto those old ways. So I will try to let them go to make space for new ones.

To Do List: Send love and encouragement to my brain

Photo Credit:
Casey Hodge


  1. Your intuition on neuroplasticity and curing MCS is correct. Please go to my website at www.anniehopper.com

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Hi Annie,

    Thanks for the link.
    It's very inspiring to hear that you have healed!
    I'd love to know to what extent if you feel comfortable sharing.

    I read through your site but I couldn't figure out what exactly it was that you did to heal MCS. If I missed it, can you direct me to the right page? Thanks! :-)

    I'd love any suggestions for self-healing for people with MCS who cannot attend your workshops for whatever reason (funds, travel etc)?
    Finances and safe travel are both big barriers for many with MCS.

    Thanks Annie!

    take care,

  3. annie@anniehopper.comFebruary 09, 2009 3:07 AM

    Hi Liberty,

    Please contact me directly on my personal email at annie@anniehopper.com and leave me your phone number and I'll call when I get a chance. I have other people from Ontario who are interested in taking the training and I know that finding appropriate accomodations is important for this.

    I recognize that funds and safe travel are barriers and I'm doing what I can to assist people. Perhaps at some point I can teach this training over the internet somehow...maybe...in time. For now I will do what I can.

    To Good Health and Freedom

  4. Hi Annie,

    Thanks for the invitation to get in touch privately. I will do so :-)

    I'd really love for readers here to be able to know the answers to the questions I asked above.
    I think we'd all love to read how much you have improved from MCS and what methods you used to do so (although I realise you can't give the exact methods - protecting your business :)

    The more stories of healing that we read, the more inspired we may be on our own healing journeys. If you have any suggestions for people with MCS who are trying to heal that do not cost, that would be especially helpful.
    Money is a very big challenge for most with MCS and it can be so disheartening to hear 'such and such can help' and have it be something they simply cannot afford.

    thanks and take care,

  5. Hi Deb,
    Great website! I'm healing through Annie's methods, through Brainstate technology, yoga, reiki, EFT and a great meditation I just started: METTA MEDITATION which is incredible and gave me the idea that we really can heal our brain and anything lowering stress hormone contributes as long as we do it consistently. Avoidance of chemicals is key though to not sabotage any good we do.

    My blogs are www.mcsrecovery.blogspot.com and www.graceofreiki.blogspot.com

    You may wish to add Dr. Sherry Rogers's books to your list. She had MCS and healed herself and became a holistic MD and wrote great books about MCS. She's brilliant.

    Check out Brainstate Technology too; it's helping my brain work better (even if it hasn't yet helped my MCS) but I feel much less amnesiac, have my long term memory back and feel much more present.

    All the best,

  6. Hi Lisa,

    It's great to hear that you are finding help from those things! I've tried some on that list and also found benefit.

    I look forward to hearing how you progress after more time doing the stuff you learned from Annie Hopper. I hope you will share updates on your blog (or here).

    Thanks for sharing your blog - I had read it months ago and then lost it! I'm glad to have it again :)

    Take care,

  7. Hello. I am wondering if you learned anymore from Annie Hopper about her program. I read somewhere that she uses manual/physical exercises to rewire the brain, yet I do not see this on her website. Her website implies that it is more about one's thinking (not that there is anything wrong with this, but I can probably figure this one out on my own!). I noticed that she is doing a workshop in my area, and I would like to know about this before signing on. Thank you, and thank you for your blog. Please feel free to contact me personally at aselkie@earthlink.net.

  8. Hi Sarah,

    I will send this to you privately but also post it on the blog in comments in case any other readers are interested.

    A while back, Annie replied to me suggesting I speak with her on the phone to learn more because it was too much information to type. I felt frustrated that she would not commit any actual details either to her site or to a private email and I haven't pursued this further. I react to the telephone.

    If you are okay with the telephone, perhaps she could give you more details that way.

    You also might try contacting Lisa Cherry - a woman with MCS who blogged that she went to one of Annie's workshops. She also has a comment above on this post. Here is a post on her blog where she mentions it:


    I will say that my personal feeling is one of distrust when practitioners do not publicly disclose what exactly their treatment is.

    However some of the testimonials are very positive so please don't let my feelings on this sway you one way or another ☺
    I think Annie will have a much more positive response from the MCS community if she gives details explaining what her process actually IS.

    The Phil Parker Lightning Process and Ashok Gupta's Amygdala Retraining Program may also both be similar to what Annie does. It appears that Annie had success with the Lightning Process. You can read her inspiring testimonial here:

    (Thanks so much to a UK reader for sending me that inspiring link! :)

    There is a man with CFS who has blogged a bit about the Lightning Process here: http://wikrok.blogspot.com

    and then you can get a feel for some of the types of wording shifts used which may be an NLP technique. I've been trying to practice this myself in various ways.

    A really important thing to note here is that I believe, especially based on the research done by Dr. Martin Pall PhD., that there are a number of factors involved in the biology/biochemistry of MCS. I don't believe the amygdala is the only part so find it hard to believe any of those three neuro retraining programs could be a complete solution but rather may be a valuable *part* of a recovery program.

    You can check out Dr. Pall's theory here: http://thetenthparadigm.org/

    best of luck to you on your healing journey!

    take care,

  9. i have tried to contact Annie without much luck either. seems like it would be of great help. i dont quite understand her secrecy.

  10. hi Anonymous, Julie from PlanetThrive.com recently did an interview with Annie that may answer some questions and she said she also sent Annie some follow up questions as well.

    if interested, it can be seen here:


  11. Hi - Has anyone taken Annie's class?


  12. hi Laurie,

    I haven't taken it but there are some people on Planet Thrive that have. I noticed that you've joined there and I hope you like it :)

  13. Been doing mindbody work the past year. Been reading Sarnoff, schubiner, Abigail steidly (anamsong.com), Ashoka Gupta & his amygdala program. Now I'm starting Joseph ledoux's work. I've had some BIG stressful events cause severe dips but I am having improvements. Been sick almost 15 yrs, been

    1. I'm so glad that you have been experiencing improvements, even if they are slow.
      Mine have been slow but steady and I feel fine with that :)
      I appreciate you sharing some of the things you have been reading and working with! thank you :-)

  14. Housebound housebound almost 2 years. Been improving slowly and not linearly but I see hope :)


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