My family has been my greatest teacher. Helping me to solve the mystery of my own Brain Health and showing me my purpose.
Mental health challenges and learning disabilities were on both sides of my family growing up. Some of what my loved ones struggled with was epilepsy, Parkinson's, depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Starting at an early age, I too, had sensory processing issues, ADHD, and depression and suicidal thoughts. Not understanding what was wrong with me, I kept these struggles hidden, feeling ashamed and developed unhealthy coping mechanisms. In my teenage years I mainly abused food, alcohol and cutting to cope with the pain, sensory overwhelm and in an effort to control my brain.
I was impacted by the medical intervention in my family. One grandmother was lobotomized for manic depression, leaving her in a childlike state, with more not less emotional outbursts. Another family member was prescribed a highly addictive drug for anxiety that led temporarily to greater addiction.
In the '70s, my father was given amphetamines and barbiturates to calm his grand mal epileptic seizures. At the tender age of 48, he died from a damaged heart.
These experiences broke my heart and influenced me deeply.
In the midst of these trials, several family members also taught me courage and perseverance. They were my earliest mentors and hero’s as they explored many alternative pathways that made a difference in some of their symptoms.
My own and my family’s experiences sparked a desire in me to alleviate suffering: physical, mental and emotional.
In my 20’s, I graduated from WCCMT, the top school in North America for massage and hydrotherapy, and became a Registered Massage Therapist. Now after 26 years, I am still practicing my craft, and am currently the Director of Education at the Rexburg College of Massage Therapy and teach several classes.
Over my 26 years since becoming a massage therapist, I sat on the Board of the B.C. Schizophrenic Society and taught with a team on mental health awareness and help.
In my 30’s I ran a catering company that made special meals for doctors and cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
In my 40’s recovered from a Pulmonary Embolism (Stroke), and nursed my husband through Pancreatitis and GI feeding tube.
It would take several blog articles to even discuss the food sensory and allergy issues of all my children.
Several more articles to go over our experiences with bowel movements and literally it is no laughing matter when it becomes life or death. Parents going through this will know what I am referring to.
Real knowledge and healing for me really came through my 5 children and their challenges.
First child--a delight: active, social--also has ADD and struggled in school. In her late teens, she suffered two serious concussions and spent two years unable to go to school or work. She became a hermit in her bedroom, depressed and suicidal. Today, she finished a semester at university. She got almost all A’s while taking a full course load. And then served a full-time mission for our church.
Second child--was normal until 18 months, and then regressed for two years. He was diagnosed with PDD autism. He worked through the standard therapy in school, as well as the extra therapy I did with him. He graduated high school in 2018. With extra help, he can attend college. He was recently retested and taken off the autism diagnosis.
Third child--was “failure to thrive” from the time of in vitro. He had so many health struggles that I wasn’t sure if he would live past seven years old. He was diagnosed with global developmental delay autism and will need someone to care for him for the rest of his life. We’ve had much success over the years, going from only eating cheerios and chicken nuggets to enjoying green smoothies. After years of severe constipation, his bowels are now working correctly. He continues to progress slowly academically and emotionally.
Fourth child--was pregnant with her when I had my life-threatening stroke. She is a delight to my soul, sensitive, detailed and service orientated. She struggles with anxiety, ADD, reading disability and sensory issues. We teach her healthy coping skills and use the many tools that are making a difference in those areas.
Fifth child—is smart, kind and sensitive. He drives all the other siblings crazy with his ADHD, anxiety and obsessing. Like a human pinball sometimes bouncing around the house. He is the most verbal, active and physical of all my sons. He is also progressing well, progress is when he can stand still and allow us to hug him and him back.
Thanks to my children, my greatest mentors, I am intimately acquainted with the following:
How to give an enema
Massage to calm the nervous system
Detox off medications
Rages and meltdowns
Sensory processing issues.
It is not just autism or sensory integration problems that are escalating, but all brain disorders are on the rise. As an educator, I have seen more students entering our programs diagnosed with panic/anxiety disorder, adhd, dyslexia, and PTSD.
On further research (2018-2019) I discovered that this phenomenon was being seen in all Universities, Colleges, and Technical Colleges. The average is high, 45% of students struggling with these issues.
My heart also breaks reading Facebook posts from parents and families that are desperate, even falling apart over these issues.
I felt I couldn’t be silent anymore, or just work within my small sphere of influence.
This has been a labor of love, research and experimentation for over 20+ years, inspired by my family and children.
My desire is to share with you the tools that go to the heart of the problem and not just Band-Aid the symptoms.