“Hugo”, Nourishment For Your Lost Inner Child

Hugo

Hugo, A film directed by Martin Scorsese, written for film by John Logan and based on the book “The Invention of Hugo Chabret” by Brian Selznick

I’ve often heard that “inner child work” can be or actually is an important part of your healing journey from past trauma or other injuries to the bodymind. Well, telling from my very emotional response to this and other movies, apparently stories of lost, orphaned or otherwise left behind children touch me deeply and I feel their pain as though it was mine – because it actually is! (my pain just as much as theirs – and, I’d reckon, yours for the most part as well). In particular, this one here gets me hard for a number of reasons: Story, actors, the “steam punk” setting in a Paris train station of the 1900s (I once visited Paris as a high school student on a Europe wide student ticket, so there are some more memories with that), a “mad”, but actually just broken toy booth owner and former filmmaker and his – fittingly – broken toys. And the orphaned boy who continually steals parts because his young, single and killed in a fire accident father left him an “automaton” that the boy believes to be capable of fixing and in doing so hoping for the man like machine to deliver a written message from his beloved late father. I mean… the story’s idea in and of itsself can have the more sensitive ones among us already tear up. And the meticulous, most dedicated and masterful rendition of it … well… it drove the message home with me like a 100 piece freight train hammering down its destination station, much like that incident depicted in the film (that apparently borrows the idea from a real event in the 19th century in France, which the entire movie is set in).

And then… the music! Absolutely celestial orchestral genius, at times as delicate as that falling feather in the intro scene of “Forrest Gump“, at other times majestic, powerful, eerie or with a proverbial twinkling eye – it is gorgeous! (for the movie buffs and music experts amongst us: Penned by Howard Shore, the music, that is)

In particular music – and film music as of late, my latest and new passion as it seems – may have been like my “guardian angel”, always and forever being with me, speaking to me in profound ways, nourishing and consoling me, when no human would, offering a temporary reprieve and escape from pain that often felt unbearable and had me freeze in my tracks. I’m so grateful for music and that I was bestowed some talent in regards to it so that I got to connect to a “better world” – a perfect world, in fact …  without the need for words, without anyone else looking out for me when things went south and without any demands of its own – it was there and it spoke to me and luckily, I was given an opportunity to learn some musical instruments from early on, so that was good.

In fact, now very much later in life, I’m deliberating giving it an earnest try, i.e. getting my toes wet in all things film music. I have friends (this one as well) living and working not too far from me, who have been very successful in making a living from scoring for film for the past 20+ years. I got to visit them in their studios now and then and was allowed a peek over their shoulders and into their work every now and then. And after I had to find that I could no longer strike up the same passion for contemporary and live music after 2008 that had fuelled me in younger years, I think I began to take a liking in all things film score.

Recently and from one of the newsletters I’m subscribed to I learned of a film scoring competition for a cause, called #scorerelief2021. So that’s what I’m doing now: Taking part and giving it a serious shot (again, as I had previously applied with film academy Ludwigsburg in Germany, whose teaching professionals and alumni often get bookings from major Hollywood productions when they need to outsource some work they themselves can’t pull of or are too swamped with otherwise. The school initially encouraged me to apply, but then turned me down for formal reasons, the nature of which they claim they hadn’t been in the know of prior to my application).

So… wish me luck again, if so inclined (and in particular, if I don’t get noticed at all or don’t make the tight deadline as I learned of this opportunity only 2 weeks into the roughly one month long application process). And treat yourself to that movie behind the first links above! I get a feeling you won’t regret it 🧡

“It was an Unbelievably Beautiful Lightness“ | Heike Sucky’s Near Death Experience (via Thanatos.TV)

I’m pleased and honored to report that I’ll get to conduct interviews on behalf of Thanatos TV and their playlist of English productions on topics like e.g. near death experiences (NDEs), reincarnation/past life therapy, deathbed phenomena, out of body experiences, post–mortem communication etc., both from the perspective of those who have had a personal experience of this kind as well as legitimate scientists and experts in adjacent fields doing serious work and research in trying to better understand what circumstances and parameters facilitate such experiences and what their nature is and what their implications might be for the rest of us.

As I have experienced an NDE myself at age four in the context of surgery and have long repressed the memory – or rather: dissociated from it, I suppose – and as there is also an ongoing and profound history of trauma that I’ve been trying my best to live with, I have set out with this blog to look for the root cause(s) of my manifold … shall we say challenges I’ve been experiencing as well as looking at and for possible treatment options. Here’s to hoping that what I’ve collected so far might put me in a position of being an open minded and alert listener and moderator to the accounts I’m about to hear. I am honored and glad that I got asked to contribute as it provides me with a sense of purpose and might possibly be an opportunity to share and use some of what I managed to unearth for myself and from others in the context of trauma, NDEs and the likes so far.

Take a peek at Thanatos.TV’s playlist “Thanatos EN (productions in English)” , if so inclined. Above embedded video might serve as a starting point to get an idea of what their work is about.

Was sich Menschen mit psychischer Krankheit am Arbeitsplatz wünschen › ze.tt | DE

Foto: Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash |(https://unsplash.com/license)

Respekt, Vertrauen, Wertschätzung – es gibt Dinge, die wünschen sich wohl alle am Arbeitsplatz. Wie ist das bei Menschen, die psychisch krank sind? Drei von ihnen erzählen von ihren Erfahrungen.

Source: Was sich Menschen mit psychischer Krankheit am Arbeitsplatz wünschen › ze.tt

Clinical Trial: Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects

Original Article (in full) | Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) induces profound changes in various mental domains, including perception, self-awareness and emotions.

Abstract of a clinical trial in Basel, Switzerland

Source: (PDF) Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects

So, I did it! I signed on to undergo two to four sessions involving the administration of LSD at a fairly high dose (this is a first for me, I have zero prior experience with psychedelics other than my own NDE or NDE–like experience at age … four). There is evidence that the fear regulating circuits in our brain are less active when under the influence of LSD and the researchers hope to establish a therapeutically viable treatment model in the long run from conducting these trials.

Frankly, I would have preferred getting accepted into a trial that investigates MDMA as I’ve become convinced that MDMA–assisted psychotherapy is some kind of ‘gold standard’ when it comes to treating symptoms of (complex) post traumatic stress disorder, which I’ve been living with for … well, my entire life. (I’m 55; and oh, I just found that MAPS.org are also funding LSD assisted therapy…) But I’ve carefully deliberated my participation, had long and thorough prep talks with one of the scientists, who is also going to be my ‘sitter’ on the days involving the substance and I now have their go on it (and my inner critic and sceptic approves as well…).

Needless to say that I’m kind of apprehensive, too. After all and like I said above, I have no experience with so called ‘hard drugs’ at all, zero, zilch, none! But there is a reasoning behind this for me, next to the anticipated outcomes that the researchers hope to establish from these trials.

So here’s to another chapter of my life’s journey! (Not only in this regard, but pretty much and ‘coincidentally’ on all other levels and in all other areas of life as well… I don’t seem to understand ‘moderation’… it’s always all or nothing at all with me… 🙂 )

Neural Dysregulation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or (my words): Why CBT/ DBT Therapeutic Approaches Definitely Won’t Work

Source: Neural Dysregulation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence for Disrupted Equilibrium between Salience and Default Mode Brain Networks

I came across this very interesting research by Prof. Dr. Sarah Garfinkel, holding a position in Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex, with particular relevance to people suffering from PTSD. Basically her findings corroborate what most patients will have experienced throughout the course of their condition, which is that even in resting state and absent of any immediate real threats there is a constant “noise” of feeling alarmed. She measured activity in certain brain areas in subjects who were experiencing post–traumatic stress symptoms (for the most part returning veterans from wars in Iraq and “tours” to Afghanistan) and control groups without PTSD symptoms with the results clearly showing that the so–called default network mode of the brain was significantly fragile and more vulnerable to triggers from the salient network, which is responsible for identifying potentially harmful stimuli, than in healthy individuals. She calls this a disequilibrium in the brain meaning that it is harder and less frequent an experience for patients of PTSD to achieve the equilibrium as experienced in default network mode. (in my understanding; feel free to correct me should I have misinterpreted her findings).

If I read her work correctly, this would prove that therapeutic modalities like cognitive behavioural therapy or dialect behavioural therapy have it all wrong when it comes to symptoms of PTSD. And in that vein I’d go as far as suggesting one needed to rethink the effectiveness of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy), which – in all fairness – has been a controversially discussed approach anyway.

What is more, further work of hers shows that signals sent from our bodies even determine our overall sense of self (–awareness). Again, this is something I’ve been pondering for quite some time and coming from my own history of lifelong PTSD as well as plenty of research into available literature on the subject/condition.

So far, I think our ‘best shot’ in having symptoms relieved are MAPS.org’s treatment modalities, which have entered phase III in clinical trials the world over and are expected to be approved by the FDA as a conventional therapeutic modality as soon as possibly 2021 or 2022.

What is a K-Hole? Researchers Think it Might Actually be the Brain Going Offline (via VICE)

IMAGE VIA WIKIMEDIA

A team of scientists at Cambridge may have accidentally discovered why k-holes feel so much like near-death experiences.

Source: What is a K-Hole? Researchers Think it Might Actually be the Brain Going Offline – VICE

Cambridge scientists discover the potential neurological reason for the experience commonly known as a “K–hole” in users of the recreational as well as anesthetic drug Ketamine. This experience also known as “ego death” or ego dissolution is often likened to phenomena experienced during a near death experience.

Breakthrough psilocybin study uncovers neurochemical origins of human ego

graphic representation of a psilocybin experience also showing a (female) face from the left side perspective
A new study offers novel insights into how psilocybin may be generating the beneficial therapeutic effects seen in recent clinical trialsagsandrew/Depositphotos

New research asks, how does psilocybin create a feeling of ego dissolution, and what chemicals in the brain create our subjective sense of self?

Source: Breakthrough psilocybin study uncovers neurochemical origins of human ego

Here’s a very interesting article on the findings of very recent research into the phenomenon called ‘ego dissolution’ or ‘ego disintegration’ as frequently reported by people having ingested psilocybin mushrooms or similar psychedelic substances.

What’s new in this study that the researchers were able to establish the significance of glutamate levels in two critical brain areas, the medial prefrontal cortext as well as the hippocampus. Based on the changes of glutamate levels in these areas, the sensation of ‘ego dissolution’ was reported as either negative (for changes in the medial prefrontal cortex) or positive (for changes in the hippocampal areas of the brain).

The goal of this and similar studies is evaluating the therapeutic benefits of the compounds found in psychedelics on various mental and emotional disorders like treatment resistant depression, PTSD, even schizophrenia. All conditions are said to be associated with an impaired integrity of the sense of self or ego. The authors see a possibility for psychedelic assisted therapy to become a mainstream conventional treatment modality in only a few years based on the fact that the FDA approved research into psilocybin a breakthrough status twice.