I was warned that repressed feelings can surface when using Neurofeedback, and I seem to be riding the wave of an emotional tsunami of insecurity, fear, anger, jealousy and sadness after my first full week of sessions. But instead of viewing this as a setback, I see it as a path to true healing. Therefore, it’s my second breakthrough.
The first breakthrough occurred on Wednesday, and here’s why: Since my brain takes a very long time to calm itself, my therapist decided I might have better results upping the typical 33 minute session to 40 minutes. Her instinct was spot on because during the last ten minutes of Thursday’s session, I was relaxed enough to enter what may have been a hypnagogic state. I was so excited I took to twitter:
The best way to explain the moment: Thirty or so minutes into the NeurOptimal session, I observed the typical blobs of color (when I close my eyes or when they’re open in a pitch-black room) transition to a solid, bright yellow. I could sense my body getting warmer either by the energy itself or possibly due to nerves. Then it seemed as if the music moved from my ears to all around me, as if I was moving into it. The experience was all so new to me and a bit overwhelming I had to open my eyes for a second to see where I was. I don’t recall any smells, but I did have a sensation of floating limbs.
If I had a setback at all, I’d have to blame it on over-ambition. I wanted so desperately to recreate Thursday’s experience, I put too much energy toward achieving bliss, and completely missed it. I know I still got something out of Friday’s session, just wish I hadn’t wasted the opportunity to fully relax. Lesson learned.
After expressing my disappointment in taking myself out of a hypnagogic state and frustration with not being able to repeat it, my therapist reminded me the point is to relax, and not focus on achieving anything during the session. As their website states, “The main point is that transformation with NeurOptimal® happens according to the brain’s own intrinsic wisdom, with no conscious effort from the user.”
Before heading home, she handed me a book called “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics,” which led me to my third breakthrough. I used a few of the tips described in the book to take control of my dreams, and by the second night it worked! I was in my dream, fully aware that I was dreaming. For fun I created a small dog out of thin air. I could see it take shape, and then was able to touch and play with him/her. I’m so looking forward to flying, shape-shifting, and perhaps using my dreams to find the answers I seek regarding my chronic headaches.
I wish I could report a change in anxiety or my headache or migraine patterns at this time, but it’s too soon to tell. I did experience more than usual pain due to detoxing off of caffeine and lowering carbs, on top of hormonal fluctuations. Let’s hope things go smoother this second week migraine-wise, so I can completely relax during retraining.