In 2012 I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). Four years later I experienced PNES (Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures). The seizures lasted from 45 minutes to 5 hours. My C-PTSD stemmed from years of childhood abuse, neglect and confinement.
When the seizures started I, along with my health care professionals did not know what was happening. After considerable searching but not being able to find answers, I took the matter into my own hands and started doing research. Thankfully, I was a counsellor for 25 years, prior to my mental health diagnosis which has left me unable to work. It took months and a lot of stress but I finally came to the realization that the seizures where similar to the TRE that I had learned a number of years prior, particularly the trembling.
After a disastrous and stressful visit to yet another psychiatrist, whereby his unprofessional treatment of me (kicking me out of his office and accusing me of “faking it”) caused more seizures, I had a moment of clarity in which I wondered if I started doing TRE again would it help my seizures.
The PNES reminded me of The Exorcist movie I had seen many years ago, in particular, the “exorcism” part in the movie. This was the closest analogy I could use to describe what was happening to me and, over which I had no control.
After suffering with C-PTSD and now, PNES showed up I was desperate to find help. It came in the form of countless hours of TRE in the loft over our garage…just me and my blue gym mat. A man (whom I will be forever grateful to) who had been in the military where he learned TRE, showed me how to do it. This was all I knew but something inside me was telling me that I needed to give it a shot.
I kept notes about my TRE sessions. They were long and intense. Their duration averaged 1.5 to 2.5 hours. My body rocked and shook violently. I screamed so loud that my throat was sore; I cried; I babbled and at times I felt like my movements and sounds were primitive in nature. There would have been a time in my life that this intensity would have scared me but, for some reason (probably my education, therapy, etc.), I felt very safe. Almost daily I would retreat to the loft.
After a month of daily TRE, I had a session which left me completely overwhelmed and at a loss for words to describe what had happened. It felt as though a “guiding force” did acupressure and then guided my hand to a lump in my breast (which was benign). Again, the research began. I learned that this phenomenon is known as myofascial release.
Gradually my body began to release the fight/flight/freeze which was stored in my nervous system from the horrific abuse I endured as a child. There were TRE sessions in which I could relate to the screaming, tensing of muscles and cursing; it was in those moments I knew my body was healing and taking back control.
It’s been four years since I stated having PNES. Seizures are rare now. They happen when I am triggered or have a lot of stress. But, with regular TRE (every few days for short periods), I can manage them. Although I am not cured from C-PTSD and PNES I am on the road to recovery.
Newfoundland & Labrador