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The day my life changed completely
Trauma work and attrition
My life changed completely on February 7th, 2018, at exactly one second after 2:15 PM Pacific time. That’s the timestamp of my SPECT brain scan, conducted by the famous Dr. Daniel Amen.
I got the scan on a whim. My friend Joe Polish runs a group called 100x that costs $100,000 a year to join. I was a member, and Dr. Amen was coming as a guest speaker. Joe thought it would be cool to get my brain scanned and then talk about it in front of the group. I was game, so next thing I know, I’m filling out paperwork and taking cognitive tests online to prepare for my brain scan.
After my brain was scanned, I was sent to Dr. Amen’s office to wait for him to come in and explain his findings to me.
“You’ve been through a lot,” said Dr. Amen upon entering his office.
He knew this because there was a section on traumatic experiences in the paperwork I filled out.
“Nah, not really any more than anyone else,” I replied.
“Listen. I’ve done this thousands of times, and let me tell you - you’ve been through a lot.”
Instantly, I knew he was right. 34 years of denial shattered.
“You have PTSD,” said Dr. Amen. He recommended EMDR therapy, and within a week, I was doing my first session.
Dealing with my trauma changed everything in my life. It helped me recognize and remove myself from abusive relationships, it allowed me to better connect with my children, and it improved my work.
It was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Many times, I wanted to quit. Trauma work takes effort, and usually, you feel worse before you get better. It seemed like I’d have to give it everything I had to make a few inches of progress, and then something would happen, and I’d be back where I started.
“When you’re going through hell, keep going,” is a quote from Churchill that I often repeated to myself during the toughest, darkest hours. Another quote that helped me: “This too shall pass.”
I think most of success comes down to not quitting. You suck, but you show up. You lose, but you show up. You make mistakes, but you show up. It takes longer than you’d like, but then happens faster than you can imagine.
I went 35 years freezing when my mom would scream at me, like the time we were at Disney World, and she got upset and yelled and cursed at me in front of my kids and any tourist within earshot.
I was taught many times how to assert my boundaries, but I never could… until ONE DAY I did.
“The way you’re talking to me is not okay. You have to leave now.”
When Dr. Amen sat down with me to discuss my brain scan, I could see a sort of twinkle in his eyes. He could predict my life without even knowing me because he knew my trauma and my responses. He knew that if I worked through the trauma, my whole life would be flipped inside out. But he also knew that if I stuck with it, it’d be worth it.
And it is.