So there we were gathered in Boston, 20 eager participants gathered from different countries—Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Canada.
The one thing this group all had in common is each person had suffered from an illness that was related to limbic system function in the brain.
Many had severe chemical sensitivities, along with chronic pain and disabling reactions to everyday common chemicals.
Chemical sensitivities know no borders.
Most of these people are also depressed, and rightly so. Who wouldn’t be depressed when you live like a caged bird and can no longer participate in life?
With little social interaction or connection to the outside world, it can get pretty lonely.
And equally with little help or answers from the mainstream medical system it can feel like you have been forgotten and left behind by the rest of society.
Most have had to give up their jobs, and often suffer a great deal of additional loss with the constant diminishing of relationships, friendships and social activities.
Their friends and family cannot understand why they seem to live with overly protective behaviours that seem out of proportion.
That’s what it’s like when you suffer from a chemical brain injury.
But today is a new chapter for them.
Today, they have embarked on a new journey of recovery through neuroplasticity.
They are all eagerly awaiting to find out how to rewire the circuits in their brain that have been keeping their body in a chronic state of illness.
Today they are meeting others who suffer from the same condition that they do.
For the first time in a long time, they feel a sense of belonging—a sense of being understood.
And soon enough, their postures begin to relax as they realize that we have created an environment that allows them to be with each other with ease.
Even the most timid members of this group begin to open up and interact.
And it is palpable—there is hope in the air.
It is hope filled to the brim that asks the question that they have not dared to ask in a long time. Is this the treatment that is really going to work?
Over the next three days we explain the science behind a chemical brain injury and they are given the tools they need to rewire the disorganized circuits.
For some, rapid changes will already be happening within these three days.
For others, it no longer becomes a question of “if” it works, but “that” it works.
The group bonds quickly and the respect, compassion and love that they develop with each other moves me to tears.
You see, this is the beginning of a new life for them and they are as excited as children on Christmas morning.
In fact, the energy of compassion in the room was so great that one of the participants offered to purchase each of the other 19 participants a copy of the DVD version of the program (valued at $250 each) while another person had paid for everyone’s meals during the whole three days.
They were all in shock and giddy with excitement.
Someone in the group even commented: “This is like being on Oprah! What’s next—a new car?”
We all laughed in excitement and of the new hope and the divine energy that was created in that room.
I am truly one of the luckiest people on the face of this planet. Nothing makes me happier or makes my soul sing louder than sharing hope and happiness. And I get to see that time and time again.
Annie Hopper is a limbic system rehabilitation specialist in Kelowna.