When I started Brain Highways, I was operating with about 35% of my lower brain developed. No wonder I was so easily stressed out and would yell. No wonder I was so overly clumsy and would literally trip on air when walking.
No wonder my coordination was so off. No wonder I was so easily distracted and had a hard time finishing things or would procrastinate. No wonder I would have mini panic attacks if a semi truck drove too close to me and no wonder I couldn’t seem to keep information in my head—even if I just seen it or heard it.
K-Lee Atwell-Stoltz (45 hours)
Yet, just this week, I played one-on-one basketball with my very tall 13-year-old son. I was making baskets, stealing the ball, and really playing. I didn’t fall once!
I now remember numbers and information. I don’t get freaked out when a semi-truck passes me, or I have to pass it. I yell a lot less and am able to use my words more often. I just finished my Nutrition Coach certification.
I am so excited that I am no longer trapped in my own world or have to work so hard to manage everyday life. I have my new highways working for me.
I am thankful that I wasn’t too proud to start doing the work. It is the best investment I have ever made for myself, and I plan on creeping and crawling until I am operating at 100% because I am worth it.
In my late teenage years, my life began to grow hazy. The confusion set on slowly enough to deter a response, but by my early twenties, I was in its grips. My “alpha” personality seemed to help me in my professional life, but not in my personal life.
For too long I was teetering on a razor’s edge of compensations, hardly aware of my own exhaustion and the impact it had on my actions toward others. It wouldn’t be until I had distanced myself from the world, run myself ragged, and hurt someone very close to me that I would realize my callous and aggressive ways.
But then the fog was lifted! Brain Highways granted me a perspective on my actions, and then gave me the power to change them. Thus with changing my brain and nervous system, I have replaced my cynicism with optimism. I am now calmer and more mindful and am able to quickly adapt to situations that previously would have made me “snap.”
These changes will surely aid in my ongoing pursuit of a doctorate degree in the field of exercise physiology. I already notice quite a difference. Not so much in my “smartness,” if you will. I still understand things about the same. But I notice I retain information more quickly and can recall it faster and more accurately. I can also hold a train of thought and follow ideas without getting distracted.
But the biggest thing I notice is how I no longer feel so overwhelmed and drained and volatile after a long day—even though I’m now working at a much higher level—and I get more done in less time. I just looked at a project that I completed in my undergrad, right before I started making these changes. I remember the entire event seeming like such a monster, such an enormous undertaking. And looking back, I now easily produce much higher quality work with much less investment (both emotional and cognitive).
And most importantly, Brain Highways has established in me a clarity and peace of mind that allows me to approach every person with empathy and each day with gratitude. I can’t thank Brain Highways enough for giving me back my smile!
"Something is wrong.” I often thought to myself as a child. But I could never clearly describe what was wrong. I could only feel it or sense it. I now know it all started with obsessive-compulsive fears at around the age of four or five. There was a toxic drip of fear in my mind that would manifest itself in fear of the kitchen oven blowing up or cars exploding or being electrocuted to death.
These fears were compounded by physical struggles, as well. I didn’t know it at the time but I didn’t have peripheral vision. I had tinnitus in my right ear and poor balance from the ear problem. These struggles slowly got worse as I grew up as they impaired my learning and maturity and relationship skills.
Despite these issues, I was able to compensate and appear functional to the outside world. The fear-based compensations even helped me to appear very impressive at times. My grades were average, if not good at times. But by the time I finished high school, my grades often slipped, as the pressure to keep up with reading got overwhelming.
Another indicator that there were problems was that I would have out-of-character outbursts, such as tearing up an English test in front of the class and walking out of the room. These reading struggles were affirmed by a special test I took in my first and only year of college. I was tested at the 11th percentile for reading speed, with low comprehension and a high probability of ADHD.
In frustration and hope, I joined the Marine Corps. Boot camp and active duty were initially perfect for me. But as I was allowed more freedom, I needed more energy to control the conflicting parts of me. I turned to the only thing I knew, which was fear and worry. Despite the destruction the fear and worry caused, they were dear to me, for they produced the energy I needed to survive in this overbearing and overwhelming world. One of the deepest compensations I had was the use of fear to induce shots of adrenaline for myself as an energy source, if not the only energy source I had. By the time I was 30, I could induce a shot of fear-based adrenaline within three thoughts. From a certain point of view, I was very clever; I didn’t need drugs, as I had my own mind.
I progressively burned out my mind and heart from this false form of energy. Because of complications that arose from these compensations during my time in the Marine Corps, I was diagnosed with mild dysthymia and was put on Wellbutrin. This helped even my mood but did not help with the core mental issues. I was then switched to a high dose of Effexor.
I had come off the medication and turned to alcohol. I had a few bad incidents with alcohol and fighting and was put on Prozac for a few weeks. It was becoming obvious that the medications weren’t really fixing the core problem. Though I loved the Marine Corps, it was once again apparent that I needed help because “something is wrong,” I thought again to my great disappointment.
After my contract was up with the Marine Corps, it was obvious to me that I still needed help, and I sought professional counseling. “You’re punching the air again,” my counselor would say to me with a smile, though I was not smiling. Or, “You’re spinning your wheels in the mud,” he would often remind me.
The counseling was crucial for understanding my past and working through the events in the Marine Corps. The counseling was excellent, though after four years and over 10k in costs, I was backsliding, and it was not sticking. I ended up in the ER at the VA, knowing I needed something stronger to calm my deteriorating mind.
They put me on an atypical anti-psychotic drug, which truly helped with sleep, and it helped release me from the fear and worry. But the medication subdued me so much I had about 1/10 the ability to handle details at work, and the shift of abilities was staggeringly slow as I lost the fear-based energy.
I continued on the medication and after six months, I slowly realized my mind was working against the medication and the fear was returning. I was losing the ability to sleep again. The symptoms were getting worse, again.
This was among the hardest times in my life, as I was starting to truly lose hope for the first time that anything would work. Suicidal ideations were returning in this newfound hopelessness as they had in the Marine Corps, where I had turned to a humiliating bout of self-mutilation through cutting. I still have scars on my body as daily reminders of the mental jail cell I lived in.
At this point I didn’t know where to turn anymore. For years, in faith, I had been praying for the right answer. So many good parts of understanding and healing and medication had come together, but none of the pieces were sticking.
On a particularly dark and depressing morning at work, I was losing it mentally. I was riding a rollercoaster of bad sleep, medication and energy drinks to try to keep myself awake and operating at corporate efficiency. That morning, I had one simple thought: “There has to be something wrong with my mind. Something is not wired right.”
I felt like my mind could either spin endlessly, and I could get thousands of details done. Or, if I was challenged with something that I didn’t like, it was like all decisions would get backed up, and I’d have to wait in line and go through a one neuron-wide pipeline at a time. I felt like I was stuck in 2nd gear, going 60 on the highways, burning up the engine of my mind at 7000 RPMs.
That morning I typed “adult brain underdevelopment” in Google and immediately found Brain Highways. I started reading the list of symptoms and was in disbelief of the similarities I was experiencing.
The 8-week class I took was the glue that finally stuck together the pieces of what I was learning, and for the first time, I felt rubber-tire mental traction in my life. I could actually drive forward.
Yesterday, I was thinking about how much my life has changed. I am very different. I have better friendships. I get along with co-workers. The panic and fear are diminishing. I can't believe how much mental stress and pain I was in for so long. I now do 1/4 of the work with the same or better results than before. Even in my workouts, I feel like I can actually access the deeper muscles when I am lifting weights.
I feel like my mind is neurologically sending the right signals to my body. I know how to guard my heart and mind. Before, I had no filter, and it took all my effort just to keep my mind in check from "doing something stupid or childish.” I feel like I am maturing again. A whole new life is opening up for me.
The biggest joy is slowly having my reading change, both in speed and comprehension. For the first time in my life, I can get truly lost in a book. The stories are better than the movies. I am starting to be able to understand complicated ideas in both reading and sports. I can mentally hold onto multiple complicated theories or ideas the way “normal” people must do. I can watch and learn about sports like soccer and football, and it sticks for more than an hour.
The private counselor didn’t know about Brain Highways, but what he taught me was a perfect pairing with it. The neurological work through the Brain Highways exercises was the essential glue to stabilizing my mind.
I now believe that we simply are not designed or built to live under the constant oppression of false fears. We are truly made for rest and love. Then from this place of rest, we can make real, sound decisions and move forward with life and who we are created to be.
As a new mom and trying to run a business, things can get overwhelming in your brain, especially if your lower brain is underdeveloped. So many things to do, so little time, and you are caring for your new little one.
The smallest tasks can seem like nothing else can be done and you don't even know where to start, well at least that is how it was in my brain.
Now I have a more positive outlook to what the true situation is, where to start and how to tackle it all. I can handle more things on my plate without getting overwhelmed and stressed out. I am able to prioritize the most important things. I know there are still more areas for me to work in my life, but I am so grateful for the experience and knowledge of how my brain works and how I can improve how it functions.
I was originally looking for a way to help my daughter with her focus problems at school. But when I saw the Brain Highways website and watched the videos of the children, I saw myself. I was in tears because all my life I thought I was defective.
For example, my brain would often freeze, and I would stare into space for minutes, actually more like hours. When I was in this fog, I would get lost in my thoughts, always searching for words or memories. But it was like looking for your lost dog. You hear him in the distance, but as soon as he comes closer, you turn around and he vanishes. I was also full of anxiety, and I was overwhelmed much of the time.
So, I enrolled myself in the adult program. While I’m not completely out of the woods yet, I finally have a path to walk down, instead of living a life in muck and mire.
When I first started creeping, I’d have moments of clarity, like the fog had lifted, and I could see more clearly. With more floor time, I’m happy to report that I can now recall ideas quicker, and my anxiety and stress is much lower. My brain flows more easily. I speak clearer—and with less effort. I’ve stopped getting so overwhelmed, and I’ve started completing tasks, like organizing my office!
I’m still continuing with the brain work, and I’m excited to create more pathways!