For Episode Two of “Brews With a View”, I want to focus on the question of can the brain heal after trauma?
Yesterday morning, July 13th 2019, I woke up knowing that I haven’t spoken to my brother in 365 days. 365 days without a piece of me. Something that gave me life and joy died unexpectedly. I’ll never be the same. My family will never be what it use to be. One day he’s here and 16 years old and the next day he’s not. How can someone actually comprehend something like this? You can’t.
Today, my brain is working double time. Each task I do, every conversation I have, every step I take is coupled with an array of thoughts of my brother. Brushing my teeth, washing my face, texting people back. It can be difficult to focus sometimes because instead of a linear thought, it’s two-pronged. I don’t know how long it takes to heal from a traumatic event. I know I can’t recover from this, but I do know that the brain is plastic and I can control and change some of what’s going on. Yesterday morning I understood that I needed to do something that would make me happy. That’s what he would want and that’s exactly what my brain would need.
So, I went to the mountains.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, thank you for making me smile and cry. For letting me feel my brother around me and next to me. Thank you for being there, little man. I love you.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 958ft
Temperature: 75-80 degrees
Summary: This was an incredible hike. I would do it again tomorrow. It was the perfect balance of challenging and calming with views of the canyon and eastern plains. When I got to the top I plopped down on a rock and ate my birthday cake GU Energy. This was especially fitting because July 13th is actually my boyfriend’s birthday as well. My mind hasn’t made sense of this yet, maybe one day.
After sucking down my GU, I felt the urge to try and meditate for a few minutes. I’m not into meditating without my Headspace App, but I figured I would give it a try and challenge myself. After a very short period of time, maybe 2 minutes, I was in a complete sense of relaxation and euphoria. I literally had nothing on my mind it was incredible, I can’t even explain it. Meditation is shown to shrink the amygdala– the “fight or flight” center. A traumatized brain has an extremely over activated “fight or flight” center (the amygdala). In this moment, my brain was healing. I was healing.
After completing the 3.7 mile hike, it was time to open up Google Maps and find a random brewery to try near by.
Brewery: New Terrain Brewing Co. (Golden, CO)
Beer:Terra Firma v.6 – Sour
Brew Review: For only $6, you can get a delicious 12oz cocoberry sour beer with tastes of blueberries and coconut. This was the perfect drink after a hot and sweaty hike and you’re looking for something refreshing and light. The location made this beer taste even better. Surrounded by mountains, dogs, and people in tank tops and yoga pants, you get a calming atmosphere with happy vibes. There are plenty of seats inside, outside, and around the bar. The rotating local food trucks are also a nice touch.
“Healing is an art. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes love”. Each day I know I’m becoming more resilient. If you’re going through something immensely difficult and confusing, you’re going to make it, you’re going to be okay.
When you’re grieving, a flood of neurochemicals and hormones dance around in your head”, says Dr. PhillipsHenry Ford Health System