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It’s been one week since I went on leave (now have the BNL song in my head of course and side note, I loved this band in the late 90s but had never seen that music video on the above link or known what they looked like…I don’t think I missed much). Well a little over one week if you count me going into work on Friday for an hour and then home after telling everyone I needed to stop. It feels like I’ve had an eternity of sleep and yet I still am having bad dreams about work and feeling wound up like a whole bunch of stuff is going to drop on me and I’d better be prepared. This unwinding is going to take some time.

On the weekend I baked a pie, watched half of Hamilton, hung out with some friends to watch a movie (Project Power…2.5 stars, mainly for Joseph Gordon Levitt), did music at church live for the first time since February, and had dinner for another young friend’s birthday. In between each of these relatively minor things I slept. It’s nice to have feline companionship (as pictured above); I’ve often thought it would be nice to get as much sleep as my cats and now…I am.

So much sleep. It’s like when your lithium battery finally runs out and can’t hold a charge for more than an hour or so (That reminds me, need to put my old MB Pro in for a battery replacement). My body and mind are so used to clinging on that even when I try to let go, I can’t. It’s like when I am giving a massage and pick up a client’s foot or hand and tell them to drop it and let me take the weight; with almost everyone they think they are dropping it but they are still holding their limb up, unconsciously. It’s really hard to let go.

I did my first session of neurofeedback therapy with my psychologist on Friday. In some ways it didn’t really feel like I was doing anything, but I guess it’s all in the brain right? She attached electrodes, which were connected to a computer, to points on the front part of my head. She asked me to choose a movie from a list and I picked Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because it was the first one my gaze landed on (and probably the HP I like the most because that’s when it started to get a bit more visually gritty and it has a great score).

She explained that when she started the movie, the electrical activity in my brain would control what I could see on the screen. When my brain activity was going nuts and trying to process what it was seeing, the screen would go dark and I would be able to hear the movie but not see it. When my brain was calm and relaxed and just taking it all in the screen would be normal so I would be able to see the movie. I realised when we started that it might not have been the best movie choice because it is quite dark already. But anyway, she left me there and said the training would go for 10 minutes and then rest for 20 minutes.

The screen went dark for a lot of it, which was really frustrating. It sort of faded in and out and I felt like I had to DO something to fix it. But that only seem to make it worse. I tried to force myself to calm my thinking down but that didn’t help. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t until I just let go that it became visible, and of course that sort of coincided with the end of the 10 minutes which meant then I just had 20 minutes of watching Harry Potter. But I was surprised by how much it tired me out!

After the half hour she came back in and unhooked me, and showed me what my brain activity had been doing throughout the 10 minutes of training. On every reading I was way above what the normal pattern should be, so one part of my brain was trying to make me relax by going to sleep, while another part of the brain was so hyperactive and trying to get me to work out what was going on. So I was basically expending all my energy fighting against myself and getting nowhere. This could really not be the way of explaining/processing the data at all, but that’s what I took away from it 🙂

She asked me how I felt before and after and initially I was surprised thinking, how could that have made any difference? But on reflection later that day, although my brain was still foggy I felt calm. It was a benign fog, rather than threatening, panicky fog where I didn’t know what was going on and felt like I could stumble off the edge of a cliff at any time. So I guess that’s a good thing? Anyway we will continue the sessions over the next several weeks and that is meant to help me train my brain into being able to maintain calm and wind back the effects of burnout.

Today, although I am still in bed writing this, I feel like I actually want to be outside in the sun, moving. That’s a good thing!