When I first started to write a column for the Kelowna Capital News in 2004, I never imagined how my life would change over the next 10 years. Nor could I imagine that my writing would influence people beyond Kelowna to reach readers worldwide in seven different languages.
In my early columns, I would address everyday emotional challenges that people might be experiencing and demonstrate how to identify thought, feeling and behaviour patterns that could be keeping them stuck in their lives. I would elaborate on what it is like to step into the ‘curious observer’ of self and identify underlying limiting beliefs. I would also describe how to look at life through a different set of lenses and gave my clients practical steps to help them move forward in concrete and practical ways.
In later years this skillset would help me to convey information about how everyday toxins in our home or work environment can cause brain trauma that is affecting millions of people on a global scale. Eventually, my experience and recovery from a limbic system injury in the brain would attract the attention of both patients and doctors worldwide in seeking a solution to often mysterious, invisible and chronic illnesses. The program that I went on to develop called the Dynamic Neural Retraining System has now helped thousands of people in 35 different countries to recover from illnesses that have baffled the medical system for decades.
If you would like to know more, the entire story is in the book that I just released called Wired for Healing; Remapping the Brain to Heal from Chronic and Mysterious Illnesses.
The following is the Introduction from the book.
“In order to tell you where I am now, it is equally important to tell you where I came from and the influences that have brought me to this gracious place in life.
My partner James has also had a first-hand experience with neuroplasticity. He was profoundly deaf when we first met. He had lost some of his hearing at the age of five from a reaction to penicillin. His hearing started to deteriorate in a big way in his late twenties. By the time James was in his late thirties, he was classified as profoundly deaf. He was forty when we met, and, at that time, he could no longer use a phone or follow any live conversation due to his hearing impairment.
Approximately two years after we started dating, James became the lucky recipient of a cochlear implant, which gave him the ability to hear again. What this means is that sound was now being received through electrical impulses. In a nutshell, his brain had to re-learn how to hear.
Two years after this, I had my own experience with neuroplasticity. I had suffered from a chemical brain injury that affected my limbic system, and my life quickly took a turn for the worse. Eventually, I did recover, and I will tell you all about this in the next chapter.
Through it all, James was there. He stood by my side through my darkest hours, and, for this, I am eternally grateful. Now he works tirelessly at helping me deliver information to the world.
As I said, when we first met, James was profoundly deaf. Neither one of us knew sign language, and, because we were in a long distance relationship, we communicated mostly through emails to each other and used notes when we were physically together. I highly recommend this practice in general to get to know your loved ones. For me, it was important that James really knew me, and by that, I mean the inner me. As a core belief counsellor and as a person who deeply values personal awareness, I was accustomed to having conversations that revolved around these topics. Amongst my inner circle of friends, our conversations covered such topics as personal awareness, descriptions of our inner terrain, and an understanding of ourselves and the world around us. For me, this is still like poetry for my soul. For James, however, this was like speaking a foreign language. In order to share my world with him, I had to be creative and learn how to break down complex information about my internal world into smaller, bite-size pieces. I needed to convey my message in a written format that reflected common sense and describe my message with concrete and practical examples.
This skill set became invaluable later on when I started to write a newspaper column called “Emotional Rescue” for the Kelowna Capital News. In my column, I would write about general life challenges and describe their commonly associated inner terrain. I would elaborate on how to become an internal observer of one’s inner self – how to identify emotions, thought processes, and resulting behaviour patterns. I would suggest ways to look at challenges from a different perspective, ways to foster compassion for self, and ways, through understanding and practical steps, to break habitual patterns in order to create a different outcome and avenues for greater understanding. Soon afterwards my column was also picked up by an Internet newspaper called Castanet.net.
Readers of my column would often comment on how my articles spoke directly to them. They would go so far as to clip the articles from the paper, collect them, or copy them and send them to their loved ones. My counselling practice grew tremendously as a result of this, and I was also invited to be a featured guest on local talk radio as an expert in emotional wellness.
Needless to say, my skill set of identifying and describing my inner terrain was invaluable during the recovery process from a limbic system injury. This has graciously allowed me to deliver a pivotal message of understanding limbic system dysfunction, the impact of the environment on brain function, and most importantly, the practical tools for recovery.
At one point during my journey with illness, I never could have imagined that I would be healthy again or successful again, nor could I have imagined that I would be in a position to help facilitate global healing or convey the importance of environmental awareness in this way. It never dawned on me that some day I would speak at brain injury conferences or speak to groups of medical doctors, educating them about limbic system dysfunction and the environment. In fact, there are times when I still do not feel like a proficient writer or a very eloquent speaker. I just know that I am an example of what it is like to suffer from a limbic system injury and that my experience and knowledge of rehabilitation can help millions of other people recover. This, I believe, is what I was born to do.
As it turns out, having the ability to relate my internal experience in an easily understood language, allowed me to communicate a greater message. I am extremely grateful for this gift and for all of the struggles that have led me to this place. It is from this humble place of knowing the fragility and vulnerability of being human and from the liberation that comes from healing, that I offer this book and my experience to you.
May your own liberation unfold in magical and beautiful ways."
It is with great honour that I can still reach local people and know that the message always has a global influence. To pre-order your copy of Wired for Healing; Remapping the Brain to Recover from Chronic and Mysterious Illnesses by Annie Hopper, please click here.
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Rehabilitation Specialist and can be reached at www.dnrsystem.com
“Recovery is beyond anything that I could have imagined.”
For five long and tortuous years, Paula had suffered from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of depression started soon after her sons were born. But Paula did not tell anyone how she was feeling. She hid her feelings like a dirty secret. Often she felt shameful for feeling the way that she did. After all, shouldn’t she be happy? She had two healthy boys and really had nothing to complain about. Life was good - or so it seemed from the outside looking in. But inside, Paula felt as if she was dying a very slow and painful death.
Then bizarre physical symptoms started to happen. Weird symptoms that she couldn’t explain. Constant pain and aching in her neck and shoulders, headaches, numbness and tingling, loss of balance, feeling overwhelmed by the smallest of sounds and sensitivities to electro magnetic fields. It felt uncontrollable.
Paula saw a number of different health care professionals during this time, searching for relief and answers. At one point she was told that her symptoms might be Multiple Sclerosis and was followed by an MS clinic for four years. But the treatments that she received did not help. She was becoming increasingly more depressed and disconnected from life.
Paula found out about my program through a friend of hers and immediately signed up to attend the Dynamic Neural Retraining System. Paula describes the changes that have taken place since she took the program two years ago.
“Annie gives us the tools and the strategies to help heal our limbic systems from trauma. And when this underlying cause is addressed the rest just falls into place naturally. It's nothing short of a miracle.”
“The changes that I have experienced since taking this program and committing to daily practice have been beyond amazing and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I felt a shift immediately during the program and that just gave me the momentum and the desire to want to commit to this. The daily positive changes that were happening kept me on focus and on track.”
“I felt more awake than I had ever felt and my mental fog was lifted. I could hear the whispers of my heart - like my soul was coming alive. I was no longer living with all these negative thoughts in my head. Then my body was responding physically. Symptoms just started vanishing. I was no longer living in fear; I was like this kid. It felt like my eyes were wide open and everything that I was seeing was like the first time.”
“ I went into this program with the hopes of physically healing and the mental and emotional healing that occurred was the greatest side effect ever. The freedom I feel to this day is beyond amazing. My soul has been set free and I'm no longer held back by my limitations and my limbic system is running on a new program. I am available for all opportunities that come my way. This program stopped the financial bleed 100%. And really, it's the best dollars I've ever invested. It's given me the greatest return and you can't put a price on your health. Without it you really do have nothing.”
If you would like to experience this kind of freedom for yourself, please join us at our next program in BC. We have a few spots remaining in our August program at the Ocean Resort on Vancouver Island. Early bird deadline is June 30.
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Neuroplasticity Specialist. For more info email [email protected] or call 512-541-4580.
Did you know that it's possible to recover from chronic illness through rewiring the neural circuits in your brain?
I know, it almost sounds too good to be true! But just ask Sara about her recovery from illnesses that perplexed the medical system for over sixteen years.
Sara was only 11 years old when she suffered from a severe viral infection that started the downward health spiral. She had also been diagnosed with Lyme disease but could not tolerate the medications that were prescribed because she had developed so many sensitivities to medication. She also suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as extreme sensitivities to chemicals, food and the sun.
Hear what Sara has to say about her improved quality of life and health after working with the Dynamic Neural Retraining System DVD series and then attending the live 5-day program that we hosted in Austin, Texas in November 2013.
It's been three months since Sara attended the program and just yesterday I received an update from her.
"I had a WONDERFUL day today!! First I had a new patient appointment with a primary care doctor. (She was so happy for me that I'm recovering! She said as I was giving her my health history she was getting more and more concerned because stories like mine don't usually have a happy ending...AND THEN MINE DID! She really got it--it was wonderful. And she's interested in learning about DNRS--so I gave her a brochure! I haven't had a primary care physician in many, many years because I couldn't go into the doctor's offices. She even examined me after using scented hand sanitizer!) I'm so excited--I feel so normal! Then my mom and I went out to lunch! Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices! Yum, yum, yum! It was SO good! After lunch we went to Target (I'd never been in Target before!) and Ross! So FUN! And then on the way home we stopped at the market and I went in and bought fish for dinner (by myself)! I was out and about for over SIX HOURS today!! AMAZING! Life is getting better and better and better all the time!"
Way to go Sara! You are a bright shining light and we are so excited for you!
If your condition has baffled the medical system and you would like the opportunity to recover like Sara, then I would love to see you at one of our upcoming programs. My team and I are coming to the east coast and will be hosting a 5 day neuro rehabilitation program at the Garrison Institute in New York on March 31st -- April 4th. The Garrison Institute is 1 hour north of New York City.
For those of you who are closer to the west coast, we look forward to seeing you in Ojai, California May 18th -- May 22nd. (Ojai is 1.5 hours away from Los Angeles and 1 hour from Santa Barbara. Our venue in Ojai is wireless free, which makes it a great location for those who suffer from electric hypersensitivity syndrome).
And for those of you from closer to home, we will be holding to programs over the summer months in Canada. Alberta in July and British Columbia in August.
To start your registration process, please email us at: [email protected]
We look forward to assisting you in reclaiming your life!
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Rehabilitation Specialist and can be reached at www.retrainingthebrain.com
Here’s the story of a lovely lady with three children who met a man who was busy with three children of his own.
Together they formed a family - but this is not the story of the Brady Bunch.
Instead, this is a real life account of how perseverance prevails over hardship when two people use their love for each other to overcome heartache in their family.
When Curtis married Racheal in 2007 they thought they would live happily ever after because they loved each other so much. The newlyweds had a beautiful new home built for them to meet the needs of their expanded family of eight. They outfitted it with new furniture, decorative finishing touches and paint to make their new home picture perfect.
Little did they know at the time that mold had developed due to shoddy workmanship. Add to that the exposure of chemical compounds from new building materials and furnishings, and this indoor toxic stew was slowly starting to make Curtis’ wife sick.
At first, Rachael’s symptoms started with back pain. They switched out at least six different beds to find something that was comfortable for Racheal to sleep on – only to expose her to even more toxic chemicals.
Then Racheal started having heart problems. She noticed her heart was racing a lot of the time and was skipping a beat. They went to see a cardiologist but could not find anything wrong with her heart.
This was the start of a two year ordeal where Racheal and Curtis visited every specialist that they could think of. Eventually, they ended up at an environmental doctor, who confirmed that Racheal was suffering from toxic overload due to the mold and exposure to new textiles involved with their house. At that point she was diagnosed with severe chemical sensitivities and also had a battery of tests that confirmed that she was pretty much allergic to everything. Now that they had the condition identified, they thought that this would be the start of the end of their nightmare. Instead it was just the beginning.
The doctor recommended that Racheal move away from their unhealthy home and start a very strict detoxifying process at a facility that treated those with chemical sensitivities.
Racheal moved into a sparsely furnished, cold, sterile hotel room where other patients with similar conditions would stay while undergoing treatments. She was alone most of the time. Her husband tried to juggle his roles as husband, father and provider. Eventually he would lose his business due to the financial and emotional strains this illness put on him and his family.
Yet the worst of all of this was that Racheal was not getting any better.
“How come my wife is not getting any better?!” a frustrated Curtis demanded to know from the doctors who were treating her.
“She’s just going to have to get used to living like this,” was the best they could offer him in response.
That was not an answer that Curtis was about to accept.
While their kids cried for their mother’s return, Curtis scoured the Internet in search of an answer.
That is when he found my website.
As Curtis shared his story with our class, he fought back tears as he described the events that happened next.
“I loved my wife so much that I would do anything in the world to fix it… When I came across Annie Hopper’s website, I knew in my heart that this was the answer”.
“I went to my wife; she was in the cold sterile hotel room, sitting on the floor. I told her that I found the answer. She looked at me like (skeptically) ‘Sure you did’. I shared with her what I found and we both cried. We believed that there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.”
That was over two years ago.
Racheal did indeed attend my program in the Fall of 2011 and almost immediately started to recover. Today she is attending her kids’ school events, eating in restaurants, travelling in airplanes, staying in hotels, and socializing with friends – all of which she was unable to do for years.
Yet, most importantly, Racheal is back home being a loving mother and wife once again to her six kids and Curtis.
Chemical sensitivity is just one of many chronic conditions that is associated with limbic system trauma in the brain. Through effectively rewiring her limbic system, Racheal is now able to go wherever she wants to go and do whatever she wants to do. Other conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, anxiety and depression are also associated with limbic system dysfunction and can be effectively treated through rewiring limbic system function.
If you or someone you know is ready to embrace recovery in a new way, we invite you to attend our next seminar at Ocean Resort on Vancouver Island February 6 to 10. Our live program is now a five-day full immersion program facilitated by senior DNRS coach Candy Widdifield and myself. We are here to help you optimize your own recovery process. Sign up by January 20th and save $300. Meals and accommodations are provided.
Curtis’ riveting talk to our class can be found here.
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Neuroplasticity Specialist and can be reached at www.dnrsystem.com
More Emotional Rescue articles
- Can your environment affect your brain? Oct 6
- Living life beyond your wildest dreams Sep 8
- Over-activated stress mechanism Jul 14
- The miracle of the healing brain Jun 16
- Is it real or is it the placebo effect? Jun 2
- Trauma can lead to chronic illness May 5
- Dream home morphs into nightmare Apr 21
- The brain is vulnerable to trauma Apr 7
- What happened to the old me? Mar 24
- Emotional transparency - a powerful gift Mar 10
- Train the brain to transform health Feb 17
- Finding the silver lining Jan 13