Perhaps like many other American families, my family’s most steadfast Thanksgiving tradition is to go around the table before we eat and invite each person to share something they’re thankful for. My mom this year shared, with teary eyes, how thankful she was that I’m feeling better. It was a sweet moment because my mom has invested A LOT in my healing – she was the one who researched my symptoms and pushed me to get a Lyme diagnosis – and it feels like all our collective hard work is paying off. It was also sweet for me because, before my mom shared her gratitude, I wasn’t really present to just how much my energy had shifted. Healing had snuck up on me. 

I've historically found holidays difficult. The travel, socializing, and food traditions all presented their own set of challenges. I made them work, with lots of rest and support requests, but they still always felt like a big energy investment that I’d pay for afterward. Even with recent positive shifts in my healing, I was anticipating some challenges with year’s festivities, as I mention in this Huffington Post piece about how spoonies prep for the holidays,

My recent refrain has been that I’m not quite 100%, but feeling better than I have since high school. That has been true but just in the last couple weeks, I’ve been feeling so good that I’m not sure I can fairly call myself a sick person anymore.

What produced this miracle? I’ve gotten a big boost in the last six months from getting Ondamed treatments and doing a lot of intuitive work (solo and with support) but it’s the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS) that really took things to another level. I started the program on the 11th, just an hour after chatting with the writer of the Huff Post piece. This past week, starting on the 20th, I went on a serious bender. I didn’t do any drugs or alcohol but I did a BUNCH of things that would have previously landed me on my back, potentially for a couple days. I drank coffee. I stayed up ‘til midnight two days in a row. I ate everything that people brought to my partner’s birthday potluck, including a slice of cake with buttercream frosting (made with a bunch of foods that usually make me sick), I did more than half the driving on two 10 hour car rides, I went for a hike, I won a game of Scrabble, and won a game of darts. And not only did I do all those things, but I didn’t worry much about the consequences.

I have to give a little credit to the tiny amounts of caffeine I had, as well as activated charcoal capsules, which seem to keep me from having my usual reaction to gluten. But, for the most part, I credit DNRS. I have also noticed a profound change in my sound sensitivity. I was able to listen to loud music in the car yesterday and today without feeling like someone was poking sharp sticks in my ears. In fact, it felt pleasant.

If you haven’t heard of DNRS, look that sucker up. It’s a drug-free treatment program that can completely reverse symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), chronic pain, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, ME/CFS, anxiety, depression, POTS, and PTSD. DNRS creator Annie Hopper suffered from severe MCS and discovered that these illnesses are a result of limbic system impairment and that, through repetitive neuroplasticity exercises, they can be healed.

As a refresher, the limbic system in the brain deals with motivation, emotions, and arousal and it includes the amygdala, which regulates our fight or flight response. It is closely integrated with the immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems. A limbic system impairment, caused by trauma (chemical, emotional, physical, or otherwise), can cause our bodies to perceive threats everywhere in the form of pain, anxiety, food allergies, and more, even when we’re perfectly safe, and it can last for decades. Hopper says the impairment is simply a cross wiring in the limbic system and by practicing the DNRS exercises an hour a day for six months, you can rewire your brain and feel TOTALLY NORMAL.  

If you’ve been living with treacherous symptoms for years, or most of your life, that sounds way too good to be true.

I have a couple buddies who started the program a couple months ago and even though they were raving about the results, I was resistant, for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to add yet another thing to my long daily self-care routine. Second, I felt like I might need to feel all the feels and dig deeper into my emotional baggage to heal fully. In reference to the first worry, doing DNRS has allowed me to cut things out of my routine. I no longer feel the need to do daily coffee enemas and while I still want to meditate and do yoga every morning, I don’t feel like I have to do 40 minutes of it to have a pain-free day anymore. That’s nice because I feel freed up to do other kinds of exercise. The DNRS training rounds can be split up into two 30-minute chunks and they’re mood-boosting, so it really doesn’t feel like a chore. Regarding the emotional work, DNRS has helped me see clearly just how many negative emotions and behaviors I was still holding on to. It has been good to be aware of them and a relief to see that I can train myself out of them.  I probably could have had the same breakthrough on my own but it would have taken a lot longer for me to get there.

If you want to learn more about DNRS and hear from someone who’s a couple months into the program, I’ll be on Facebook Live this Friday at 1pm EST interviewing my buddy Eli about his experience. After just a couple months of DNRS, he went from living in a tent in his mom’s backyard because of crippling mold and chemical sensitivities to getting on a plane and enjoying a trip to New York City. You can get the link to join us and sign up to get a reminder when we go live on Facebook here.