I always start my story with "I went to sleep as LeaAnn and woke up a total stranger."
On September 2014 Labor day, I suffered a bleeding stroke and brain aneurysm, followed by brain surgery to relieve the pressure in my brain. This was due to a blood infection that went straight to my mechanical heart valves after some routine dental surgery. The doctors told my family if I survived, I would never be the same. After 3 months in the hospital learning how to walk, talk, chew, swallow, read and write, kidney failure due to the antibiotics I was on for the blood disease, the doctors were right about one thing. I will never be the same.
("Give me the beat boys to free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away..")
I was raised on music. Its true. There was always music in my house growing up. Country music mostly, my dad played the guitar and had a voice that could make you stop in your tracks and melt. My brother played the guitar, I played piano in my early teens.. There was either someone singing or a radio playing while growing up. We didn't even own a TV until I was in my teens. Who needed tv when you had music.
After my open heart surgery I woke up with a breathing tube in my mouth, my hands strapped to my sides, and more pain than you could ever imagine, unless you have open heart surgery yourself. I began to try and pull my tubes out and my blood was rising to a dangerous point when my brother began to sing. My 7 foot brother stood in the ICU, held my hand and began to sing to me. He said I calmed down immediately and smiled and nodded. I don't remember much other the sound of his beautiful voice sing " Amazing Grace" blocking out the immense pain and fear, and immediately lowered my blood pressure.
("Amazing Grace how sweet the sound. That save a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see .
Music has a powerful effect on the brain. More and more music therapy is commonly an integral part of the rehabilitation process for people who have had strokes, brain surgery or a traumatic brain injury.
( " Rhythm and rhyme and harmony, you've helped me along, making me strong.. Give me the beat boys to free my soul.")
Music connects with 3 out if 4 lobes in the brain ( skipping the visual processing Octipal lobe. It is also easy to get lost in it and forget everything for awhile and drift away.
I ran a little poll in my group beautifully broken. I asked if, due to lights and sound sensitivity music had a negative or positive affect on them. Only 3 out of the 20 survivors I asked said it had a negative effect on them, that it was to much stimulation and they could no longer enjoy music.
I have some suggestions for you that I will share at the end of this blog that has helped me, as I to struggle with noise and music being overstimulating.
Music expresses what cannot be said. Music therapy can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between the isolation we often feel as survivors of trauma and interaction.. Between chronic pain and comfort.. between demoralization and dignity.
(" I got a peaceful easy feeling.")
Musical improvisation is a increasi recognized rehabilitation therapy for people who have experienced a traumatic or aquired brain injury initially thought to be " unreachable or unresponsive."
Music and the brain
The studies I found and read suggests that musicians have better understanding of non-verbal communication.
Coordination and dexterity
Understanding of cognitive and emotional aspects of information
Planning and strategizing skills.
(" We are the champions my friend and we'll keep on fighting till the end.. We are the champions, we are the champions we are champions of the world.")
Playing and listening to music works for several ares of the brain.
Nucleus accumbens and amygdala: involved with emotional reactions to music.
Sensory cortex: controls tactical feedback while playing and instrument or dancing.
Auditory cortex: Listens to spunds, perceives and analysis tones
Hippocampus: involved in music and memories, experiences and content.
Visual cortex: involved in reading music or looking at your own dance moves.
Cerebellum: involved in movement while dancing or playing, an instrument as well as emotional reactions.
The healing powers of listening to music and decrease anxiety, increase optimism and decrease pain.
(" In my darkest she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.. Let it be, let it be, let it be there will be an answer, let it be.")
It can Give incredible Memory for sounds in Alzheimer's patients, many can recall and sing songs long after they have stopped recognizing names and faces. I read that there is growing evidence that listening to music can help stimulate seemingly lost memories and some cognitive function.
Music not only connects to 3 of 4 lobes of the brain, it gets all those lobes working together at the same time with one simple thing.. Music. Nothing else out there gets our minds working with such amazing sync, that is why music therapy is so highly recommended after brain injury. It gets our brain working in sync after injury.
Fact: One of the only activities that activates, stimulates and uses the entire brain is music.)
I have frontal lobe damage and big time cognitive issues. Which means I go from zero to Bitch in a matter of seconds. I also suffer from PTSD shock just adds more gas to the flame.
Along with my counselor I have trying to find ways to recognize my triggers, and calm myself down before I explode. So.. don't laugh but what I discovered calms me almost immediately.. Is singing. Yep you heard me righ.. Just I begin to feel that panic build up.. I sing. I can't listen to music for long amounts of time due to overload, but I can sing! I won't win any awards with my voice, but I haven't chased anyone out of the room screaming for mercy either.. Yet!
I sing whatever comes to mind. When I was a caregiver for hospice and for the developmentally disabled adults, I would sing to them.. " Zip de do dah.. CC oh playmate come out and play with me.. Oh my Darlin oh my darlin".. Anything that came to mind! And it works for me now.
I can't always handle music playing anymore.. Only if if nothing else is on and only in small doses.. But I can sing all day long.
Music occupies the mind with something familiar and soothing when your in pain. Singing and playing my guitar really helps distract and calm me when I'm in pain.
Music alters patterns of pain, disability and depression.
Music acts as a distraction, focusing your attention away from the negativity that fills our days as survivors, to something pleasant and encouraging.
Music works great for altering and lowering my heart rate.
Music has the power to improve your state of mind. This keeps things like depression and anxiety at bay.
Music can also help reduce the perception of pain.
(" Don't stop believing hold on to your dreams, streetlights, people whoaa!")
Try music therapy at home.. Its free!
1. Choose your music based on on the purpose of your therapy.. for example, choose soft instrumental music or ocean sounds for relaxation. for pain management look for music that focuses on things other than you discomfort.
Nora Jones, Adele, Sia, old country, stronger Kelly Clarkson, The climb by Mylie Cyrus, Stand by me, I'm a survivor Reba Mcentire, Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas. Just keep breathing by We the kings, Bullet proof by La Roux, I got a feeling by Black-eyed peas, Don't stop believing Journey, White flag Dido, anything Lyndsey Sterling.. This is some of my "pain" playlist.
2. Sit back, relax.. Take deep breaths and close your eyes, let the sound of the music take over your thoughts. Keep the volume at your comfort level.
3. Listen and concentrate. Enjoy the music for 10-15 minutes as you allow your mind and body to relax and rejuvenate.
Music therapy can involve: Making music, listening to music, writing songs, talking about music and lyrics. Add a little music to your day, in a way that works for you.
I hum all the time, I read that humming is often recommended for calming your mind and relieving stress. It really works for me in stressful situations.
The experts believe that rhythmic drumming can aid in health by promoting a sense of relaxation, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. It absolutely works for me.
Playing an instrument for just six months can improve memory, verbal fluency, cognitive function, planning and organizing abilities. I have been learning guitar for 2 months now and I have noticed some positive changes.
My anxiety playlist: Warrior by Demi Lavato, Breathe Faith Hill, Fight song by Rachel platten, Drops of Jupiter by train, Invincible by Kelly Clarkson, Chandelier by Sia, Take me home country roads John Demver, Three little birds by Bob Marley.
Did you know? Music helps repair damage, music helps you get rid of addictions, music helps your immune system, prevents seizures, and can return lost memories.
Health benefits of singing:
* Reduces stress and mood
* Lowers blood pressure
* Boosts the immune system
* improve breathing.
* reduce pain
* provides comfort
* Motivates and empowers
To discover more about neurological music therapy visit the center for biomedical research in music at www.cbrm.colostate.edu
Music therapy, or just listening to music helps people with:
* Chronic diseases
* Terminal diseases
* Developmental disorders
* Psychriatric disorders
* psychological trauma
* dementia and Alzheimer's
* grief and loss
* anxiety and depression
* Every day stress
* emotional/ spiritual crisis
* Neurological disorders
* Chemical dependency
* Labor and delivery
For people with a TBI ABI , music therapy can be instrumental to rehabilitation. Thrapists use evidence based techniques to stimulate speech, movement and cognitive emotions in patients.
Benefits for TBI survivors is an opportunity for people suffering from TBI ABI to express emotions, promote insight and awareness and strengthen neuropathways, to restore memory, attention, concentration and multitasking.
As I close, just a friendly reminder that everyone is different. Every brain injury is different. You may not care for my music choices, please listen to music you enjoy, mine are just suggestions. I encourage you to try music therapy at home, caregivers also, or go to music therapy.. Don't forget to sing!