22 thoughts on “Neurodiversity and Fight-or-flight Response: How Occupational Therapy Saved My Life by Teaching Me to Regulate My Nervous System and the 16 Things I’ve Learned

  • May 10, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    Wow! You never know how you impact people. You have come a long way- it’s taken a lot of hard work on your part and it is my honor to be there with you along the way! You are so brave and because of your courage to share your story you are also going to impact so many people who are struggling. Xox

    Reply
    • May 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you so much, and thank you for reading!

      I hope I am able to help people by sharing my experiences — that’s the goal 🙂

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • May 11, 2019 at 3:01 am

    Your article was very helpful. I am wondering who is your OT?

    Reply
    • May 13, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Monica,

      I am so happy to hear my post was helpful 🙂 Thank you for reading!

      I would like to check with my OT prior to sharing her information. May I ask the nature of your inquiry?

      Please feel free to email me privately if you would like to so we can continue this discussion.

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • May 11, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Loved reading this Jenna, what a great explanation of how your OT helped you. I have taken a few tips for a client of mine I am treating at the moment! Great post. Cheers, Jayne OT

    Reply
    • May 13, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Jayne,

      Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment 🙂

      I wish you and your client luck while working together!

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    By OT, do you mean Occupational Therapy?

    Reply
    • May 22, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Jake,

      I use OT to refer to my occupational therapist in my post, “I’ve been going to occupational therapy for close to one year now. I was referred to an occupational therapist (OT) by a psychiatrist,” but I’m sure many use it to refer to occupational therapy too.

      Thank you for reading!

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Don’t agree with Nr. 8 – it should say Proetein and Fat and Omega 3s. When you are a Fat burner, you will no longer have those sugar spikes and hunger crashes. Your body will recover. EAting carbs is like kindling, it fizzles out quickly. Eating more fat is like using a log for a fire, it keeps ya going for hours. Intermitted fasting has proven to be very beneficial. Since I am fat adapted, my moods are much more stable, I have way less anxiety, and less sensory issues. Also I have such a stable energy level, I never feel faint anymore. That’s amazing. Can only recommend it. It is so worth it. So worth it. Nr. 14: check for channelopathies. For me Magnesium was not as important as potassium and sodium.

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Ayani,

      Thanks for the tips!

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you for writing this Jenna a very clear understanding of what OT can do . I shared it with my OT department as you don’t often see OT mentioned in articles but we all know how much our profession can actually help our patients.
    You sound like you had a great therapeutic relationship which is a major factor to healing
    Well done in your growth and for writing this
    Mary OT

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for reading and for sharing!

      I hope more people begin to share how much occupational therapy helps them. It definitely saved my life 🙂

      Thank you for the work you do!

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • August 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    I am grateful you wrote this. I learned a great deal. When I was younger my symptoms were very similar to yours. I grew up in a dysfunctional home, so I always blamed my health/behavior issues on that. Most of which is partially true. I have always said, since I was a very young child, I could never deal properly with stress. After a few recent very stressful events, due to my aging “parents,” I developed Graves Disease. Through this autoimmune journey, I again learned more about me. Recently, I found I have a genetic mutation which contributes directly to my stress response. It was by accident I found out about this, but after genetic testing my entire life is beginning to make sense. I am homozygous for the COMT gene. This gene is refereed to as the stress response gene. According to research only about 20-30% of the population (more specific with ethnicity) are homozygous. Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) is one of several enzymes that degrade dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Having a homozygous mutation, the enzyme breaks down these stress hormones slowly leaving my body in fight or flight for longer. This leads to more anxiety, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, and a whole slew of other problems. As I have recently learned this about myself , I am working at changing things to better live with this dysfunction. I wanted to share this with you, just in case you too have the mutation… ( I was also tested for the MTHFR gene – I only have one mutation there). The MTHFR and COMT work together-so to speak…..

    Reply
    • August 12, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Kris,

      It sounds like you have been through a lot, and I hope you continue to find ways to feel better.

      I never heard of the COMT gene, so thank you for sharing that with me; I will be sure to look into it!

      All My Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Thrilled that OT has helped you so much!

    I am an OTR using sensory processing treatment approaches, and the use of a therapeutic listening program may be beneficial to you, as may the use of an ocular-vestibular protocol and compression garments/kineseotape for calming input. These could be added to the olfactory, tactile, and proprioceptive input already in your sensory diet.

    Yo may also be interested in reading material from Janina Fisher on dissociation. The reasons that sensory input helps you become or remain embodied are becoming better understood as the neurobiology of trauma is more fully researched.

    Good luck in your treatment!

    Your psychiatrist was very open-minded to make this referral. Much of their profession thinks that OTs just run craft groups.

    Reply
    • October 31, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you so much for the recommendations! I’m always looking for new ways to help myself 🙂

      Yes, I was very fortunate to get an occupational therapy recommendation. After 20 years of trying to get help, I finally have.

      Thank you for the work you do!

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • February 6, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you, Jenna!
    You share tips that are aligned with what I teach my clients.
    I always appreciate hearing about the success of applying these tools.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Ingrid,

      Thank you for reading! I am happy to hear that you do the same types of things. You’re clients are lucky to have you 🙂

      Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • February 6, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    I have ptsd and chronic migraine, which makes my nervous system highly sensitive. All of these tips were helpful. How did you find your OT? I have had similar therapies with somatic therapists but no insurance coverage. How did you find someone who deals with sensory issues?

    Reply
    • February 7, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      I am so happy to hear my tips were helpful, and I hope you feel better very soon.

      It took me a while to find someone to work with. I was eventually referred to my OT from an integrative medical center I was visiting for my sensory issues. In my experience, you’ll need a referral from an MD for insurance to cover you. What makes it even more complicated is how they code it. My OT uses: “disorder of the central nervous system, unspecified,” code G969.

      My suggestion for finding someone would be to ask your general practitioner for a referral. If they are unable to, you could try asking a psychiatrist to connect you with an MD who does referrals to occupational therapy for sensory issues.

      I wish you much luck finding someone to work with, and I’d be happy to hear when you do.

      I wish you light and love on your journey.

      All My Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
  • August 4, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I just wanted to let you know how much reading your blog is resonating with me and some of my experiences. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and allowing others to relate, cry and learn along with you. <3

    Reply
    • August 7, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Mary,

      What a lovely message to receive 🙂 Thank you for reading. It helps me too to know that I am not alone 🙂

      I wish you light and love on your journey to heal.

      All My Best,
      Jenna

      Reply
 

Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *