The following emails from Angela Stanton I wish to share with you. Angela has given me the go ahead to share this information with the hope that it will help someone else. I have found it very helpful indeed.
Sorry for the delayed response but I caught a bug yesterday and was quite useless. Not that I am more useful when it comes to dyslexia. I do not believe that dyslexia is a learning disability the way it is defined. In other words it is not a lesser IQ representation. Some of the highest IQ people can be dyslexic. It is a cognitive brain disorder in which the part of the brain that translates the reading and translation of what you read into meaningful words or sentences is damaged. This part of the brain is not in the region that we use to make executive decisions with so it is independent from the type of disorders that cause disability in terms of comprehension. One of my PhD friends who specializes in speech therapy has dyslexia… it is not a disability albeit makes it harder to read. Sometimes it is associated with speaking as well and can cause stuttering. It is though not an illness and definitely not a “mental disorder” the way we talk about that.
PTSD is interesting because it comes in “levels” of damage and is a hormonal change of a brain part by some tragic or scary event. Many people have some form of PTSD but each is different in depth. For example, PTSD from a war field is a hormonal change in the brain that makes it more sensitized to noises or smells or things that allow the person to recall any part of the events (though perceived now but is very real for her). When a body is constantly forced to release anxiety hormones for a long time in larger amounts than it normally would, the brain, being as adaptive as it is, modifies its receptors to be able to deal with the flow of anxiety (adrenaline) hormones and to release the appropriate decision-making hormones (dopamine) for a fight-or-flight situation. Thus people with PTSD respond to less of a stress with a bigger response than expected and hence this reaction – being different from a brain that has not experienced such – is called “different.” But let me give you an example that will surprise you.
As you know I specialize in migraines. Migraine is not a disease as current science holds but based on my discovery 5 years ago and application of all that I have found, it is a different brain. Envision it as an ancient brain that has a somewhat different setup from the brain of regular people. This brain is very similar to a brain of a person with PTSD albeit a PTSD brain is not necessarily a migraine brain by genetics but it sort of behaves like one is some respects so you will be able to connect the two as I explain (I hope).
Let me explain what a migraine brain is and from that it is an easy jump to a PTSD brain.
A large percent of the population has migraine brain. In the US it is estimated to be 15% but it is also estimated that up to 30% of the people have migraines at any one time. Since only migraine brains can have migraines, I propose that about 30% of the population has migraines. This includes children (the youngest I dealt with was 2 years old) to over 80 years old and both genders albeit more females admit to having it than men–this does not mean that more women have it only that more women seek help. Let’s travel back in time to the primitive human who lived in caves. People then blessed with a migraine brain could smell a predator from several miles, could hear the rumbling of the ground from wild animals that were 10 miles away and could smell diseases on people. Most likely these were the shamans of the time. They had these abilities because in their brain they have what is now understood (and seen) to be multiple receptor connections of the sensory organs. Thus these brains could smell, hear, see, taste and feel better. Today’s migraineurs are like this.
Since I am a migraineur, I can tell you some of the “features” a migraine brain possesses so you know what I mean. I only give you my own specialties:
1) hearing: There is a construction several miles from my home (building a bridge over a railway) and they only work at night. No one can hear them where I live. I can hear even when a truck is backing up with the beep beep. I can feel the vibration of some heavy machinery they use to flatten the ground that literally gives little shakes to my brain (I ended up with a flash aura from it the other night). But an even more striking example perhaps is the 1994 Northridge earthquake. We lived in the middle of the earthquake zone and as we were coming out of the house I heard a shssssssssssssss. It was a gas leak; the cap blew off. It was over half a mile from our house. It took my hubby a long time to find it because he did not hear it. He only heard it when he was 5 feet from it. I heard it from over half a mile.
2) smelling: I smell bacterial infection and diabetes 2. Bacterial infection has to be pretty direct–meaning the person has to be close to me–but with diabetes 2 I can smell if a person with diabetes 2 was in a room the day after! I can also smell the different ingredients in a meal without tasting it and give you a list of what is in it.
3) sight: I have poor sight for both near and far. But I love to photograph and get amazing shots of very fast moving creatures. My peripheral vision is more precise than my straight-on vision. I will notice the movement in a leaf when someone has not even seen the tree yet. A good example for this was in Costa Rica last year. We were in the rain forest and were looking for howling monkeys. Of course they knew we were looking so they were hiding but a leaf moved about 300-400 feet up in the canopy. I aimed my camera to where the leaf moved in my periphery of vision. I did not see the monkey though I had a 400 mm long lens. But I shot anyway. Back in the hotel I developed the pictures and dead center of the picture was a male monkey looking straight into my camera. I also have incredible night vision. As it happens migraineurs are hurt by bright light becuase our pupils do not close as tight as for people with regular brains. We are like cats. But if you had to hike on the side of a cliff at night, you’d want to have a migraineur with you!
4) variation of hearing: I have perfect pitch. Drives me nuts so I cannot attend live music because if one instrument is slightly out of tune or god forbid the singer is not hitting the tune I am out of there! So again, with sounds too, a migraine brain is tuned to detect differences from the norm! (This is important to PTSD)
5) tasting: I am a super taster. If you wanted to know if something was going to kill you, in ancient times you would have given that to a shaman to taste it. I would be one
6) feel: I am the proverbial princes on layers of mattresses with a pea under the bottom one.
7) touch: The other day I tested this on me. I was in the shower with closed eyes to see if I can locate everything as if I were blind. I can. I am also extremely full of electricity. I can walk in front of a TV and by my sheer presence it sometimes will turn off when it was on or turn on if it was turned off. I kill my keyboard regularly when I touch it–it takes 5 minutes for it to recover. last week I did the same to our thermostat. I can spark a wall!
So this is a migraine-brain in short. The importance of this to PTSD is that in PTSD some of the same sensitivities come alive without the type of brain. Migraine-brain notices something out of the ordinary and releases adrenaline, gets irritable bowel syndrome (used to simply be the dumping of food both top and bottom as digestion was not important to save one’s life and run away), the increased adrenaline brings more oxygen to we can run faster (this is restless leg syndrome today), we had to make instant decisions about whether to run or hide or climb a tree (this is fight-or-flight with dopamine release since we get sharp as a tack during a perceived danger).
Note I use “perceived”. This is where migraine-brain and PTSD part. A migraine brain will react with anxiety to actual things that others cannot detect but are there in real time–like the gas leak or the construction or the monkey in the rain forest or a diabetic in the room–whereas in PTSD it is perceived because it is the memory that triggers the same based on something that triggers it in real life. Thus migraine-brain and PTSD become equal in how they react only what they react to differs. The other difference is also that a migraine-brain’s anxiety manifests is pain caused by the use of all energy (voltage) that can be replaced (salt) and the brain is designed to handle this whereas in PTSD there is no mechanism in the brain to signal the energy loss.
This is turning into a long email but I hope you are seeing what I am trying to say: PTSD is the overuse of one part of the brain relative to others as a result of what happened in the past whereas migraine brain is overuse of one part of the brain as a result of what is happening now. In migraine brain, the solution is to increase voltage nutrition before the particular brain region goes “dormant” i.e. unable to generate action potential, which is seen in scanners as a dark region of no voltage. This region is called cortical depression (CD) in a migraine brain. I have not studied up on PTSD brains but I suspect that since the particular region is working overtime to reenact the fear, it too is running low on the same energy as migraine brain.
I found that doing a few things in my life can prevent and stop migraine. I opened up a migraine group and wrote a book about it and now we have over 4000 people who went through my migraine group who became migraine free and also stopped all medicines. There are some PTSD members in the group as well. The things that seem to irritate migraine and likely PTSD is sweets of any kind because they disrupt the electrolyte homeostasis, simple carbs of any kinds for the same reason, not enough salt, out of balance with salt and potassium, and not enough water. Every single member in my migraine group is placed on a healthy whole food diet rich in fats, low in carbs, no sweets, juices, smoothies or shakes permitted, most of us also stopped all grains because they are just glucose for the body and not much else–they also block mineral and vitamin absorption, and all members only drink water and milk and max 1 coffee a day, nothing else. There is a lot of customization for each person of course but in general I found that sweets cause anxiety and migraines so if you have PTSD you need to stop all sweets (sugar of any kind, honey, maple syrup, all sugar substitutes, fruit juices, shakes, smoothies, alcohol), all teas (even herbal), and need to increase fats (butter, healthy oils like olive, coconut, grape seed oils, fats on meats and fish, cheeses, whole milk, etc.).
I hope this helps!
This is Angela Stanton’s response to my question about SSRI medication to help my PTSD.
Oh wow Louise! What a story. I am very sorry. You are very right and an SSRI will not help you for various reasons, one of which is that it really doesn’t work for most people for anything and secondly becuase your depression is situational and not clinical. If an SSRI works, it only works for those with clinical depression. Clinical would be one in which you do not know the reason for your depression. But you do know! So no medicines will help you since it is the cause that needs to be removed and that is not possible with drugs.
I have many psychologist contacts and I had a very interesting conversation with one the other day. He deals with people with PTSD and he was telling me how he was going to have them envision that they are on a calm beach .. etc., you know where I am getting at.. then you take a 1-second flight home and back into where you started so I recommended to him to instead have their PTSD patients find strength from what they have experienced. Many people have PTSD who managed to overcome without the need for any medicines………………It is impossible to forget what you went through so don’t eve try. You also cannot reverse time and bring back the more pleasant times or redo things differently. We sort of have to accept the cards we were dealt with and make the most of that.
To my psychologist colleague I explained this very same thing and he found success with the new method because one gains strength from falling and getting hurt and not from a beautiful life without any troubles. It may strike you odd that I write about making a positive out of such negative and you may not find the way right away! But dwelling in the past will not bring about relief only deepens the scares. So envision yourself as the winner on whatever grounds, be it philosophical or physical or fictional. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you realize that you cannot undo the wrong so might as well enjoy the right. I remember reading about some of the injustices that was against you several months ago–I do not have the time now to revisit but I think it had something to do with your family taking everything away from you… or something similar. There is probably much more to the story but even if rape or physical or psychological abuse (mine were these last two) one can overcome by looking in the mirror every morning with a smile.
Why a smile? The brain has “mirror neurons” that kids use immediately after birth. They actually test these to be sure they work. If you put your tongue out to a newborn, it will put his tongue out back right back at ya! I captured pictures of my new granddaughter a few days after birth as mom was holding her and made faces. Whatever face mom made, the baby made. So when you look into the mirror and you smile, your own neurons will smile back and you will be releasing a feel good hormone “oxytocin.” This hormone was subject of my dissertation and helped turn economic theories up side down because it showed that we can manipulate how people will behave by manipulating their hormones. Smiling into the mirror is one way to manipulate this hormone! So smile every morning! It will help you!
And tell your doctor to smile into his/her mirror… it looks like your doctor needs it too!
I hope you found this as helpful as I have. Please come over to my google+ page to see more on PTSD. www.google.com/+LouiseFowlerVancouver