Thursday, June 21, 2018

Father's Day Success Updates!

Guys. Guys! Today was amazing, and I wanted to share to give you hope! 💖 
(posted on Facebook on 6/17/18)
 
➡️ Was able to stand and cook surprise breakfast in bed (with my kids help!) for my sweet husband for the first time on Father's Day! We had a great morning celebrating at home and I had energy after. Wow!




➡️ Went to the beach! I got to go to the beach today, and actually *got in the water*!!!
😁😁😁 It's been over 8 years! No PICC line or mediport keeping me from full contact beach fun with my family! Felt so good! Walked all over, was in the sun for hours, splashing in water, feeling wonderful and present and joyful the whole time. Zero symptoms. None! What a huge change!





➡️ Gardened in the sun and heat earlier today, snapped a few pics or new baby birds and butterflies. Again, walking lifting, carrying, etc...no symptoms, just enjoyment and lots of sweat! Which leads me to.....

➡️ I'm sweating again! My sweat function was impaired for years (autonomic small fiber neuropathy), and I was freezing all the time (Raynaud's). I started noticing this months ago, I'm not cold anymore (unless stressed!), and now I'm sweating normally! Yay!



➡️ I ate Vanilla Chex tonight! Have no clue why, but about a year ago they started bothering me. I've been tapping a ton on the roots of food fear and reactions, and just did it! Woohoo!

➡️ Posted some pictures of my awesome father, and reflected today on how incredible it is to be hanging out with him in "normal" situations now. He's been a rock for our family, and has dropped everything time and time again to help us when my health went south (which happened quite a bit!). Very grateful we are past that after all those years!



Yay for today! If you are curious about the 16 years of severe chronic illnesses I'm healing from, and how, check out this FB live about my background: https://bit.ly/2LXhjhE

Happy Father's Day and much love!
- Claire

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Background and Healing HOPE Update Videos!

Hi there!

This past week, I had my first attempts at using Facebook Live! As you can see, I was a bit nervous.


I'm embedding the videos below. Part 1 is mostly my background, and then my phone died! There *may* be a naughty word at the end that I don't know how to edit out when it happened - LOL. Part 2 is the hopeful updates with healing success and some info about what's coming down the road.

I am not a professional, do not have fancy with head shots or professional videos, and I think I'm going to keep it this way. This is me, take it or leave it! I hope these help, and please comment if there are topics you'd like to see me address on videos!

Thanks and enjoy!
--Claire

      

Monday, June 4, 2018

What's in a name? SWING your way to healing

SWING stands for Serenity Wellness & Integrative Neuroplastic Growth.

 

Sounds fancy, huh? It's really not! There is meaning behind those specific words, but also the image and feeling of swinging.

The Swing:


I have used the "swing" concept since beginning this healing journey, because healing is not linear - it happens with back and forth, up and down, sometimes even spinning sideways. Healing can twirl us around in the same way I see my kids wind up the swings on the playground before letting go, fearful at first, but then full of joy and delight in the movement!

Before the many swings forward I've been experiencing, there has almost always been a back or sideways swing. A few times I've fallen off the swing! And that is okay. If we can embrace that swinging motion and make peace with it, riding it gently, with loving self kindness and compassion, knowing that after it passes we will swing forward higher than before, the non-forward swinging fades to the background as we focus on the truth in the future highs. 

Swinging evokes an image of children playing, working first at pumping their legs, needing a push from a parent, trusted friend, or another child. But then, as they practice, they learn to swing on their own, tilting their head back and feeling the wind on their face, giggling with enjoyment, choosing to swing gently, slowly, savoring the motion... or choosing to swing higher and faster when they feel ready. 



The Acronym: 

 

Serenity Wellness implies making peace with where we are at, using mindfulness in our daily lives to recognize our emotional states, without judging them. Learning to calm our thoughts, our responses, our nervous system, and journeying towards serenity. The goal is to find serenity and wellness no matter what is going on around us, or what happened in the past, empowering us to move forward. 

There is a ton of neuroscience behind the idea of mindfulness, explaining that when we simply recognize our emotional state, our brain is able to calm down just through that process of recognition. Learning this and how to do it is part of what I'll be teaching and providing coaching and resources for. It's been a game changer for me personally, as doing activities like meditation actually calm the limbic part of the brain and shrink the amygdala - the part of your brain that sounds an alarm when triggered.

"MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress.
As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker."
(Article - Scientific American) 

Win-win! Lower fight or flight, aka the stress response, and increase our awareness, concentration, and ability to make decisions. 

Integrative Neuroplastic Growth is simply using various forms of neurplasticity, the brains ability to change, for our own growth and healing. We are integrated, whole people, with a mind, body, and a spirit (or consciousness, if you prefer), and true healing takes place when we head to the root causes of our problems. The cool thing is, with practice, we can change our brain! We can get "unstuck" from old patterns, unhelpful thoughts, and even illness. We can change our past references and memories so we react differently to triggers that use to bother us! How neat is that? We can integrate new, positive, and helpful ideas and thoughts into our lives, take back our power, and swing forward into health and happiness.

This approach changed my life! I now live free from syndromes/diseases/labels, and am joyful again, engaged in life after 16 years of debilitating chronic illness, pain, and anxiety. As I continue on my own journey of brain retraining, mindfulness, tapping, and reconditioning after years in a wheelchair, the swings have become gentler, and that giggling child inside me is enjoying kicking her feet and swinging with delight at this new found freedom.

Who wants to head to the playground with me?

Cheers!
Claire


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Happy Healing Update (on my old blog)

Hello there!

If you are interested in the details of where I came from, check out this update post over on my old blog. I didn't want to post all those potentially triggering details here, but felt it was important to share where I came from - I know it gave me hope to read other people's 
journey from rock bottom to healing!

Here's mine:

A Happy Healing Update! Finding Freedom with Neuroplasticity

 More coming soon! I'm going to start with January 2018, and share my healing happy journal updates with tips of what worked for me, book reviews, program reviews, and more!

Thanks for stopping by! Love and peace,
Claire

Monday, May 28, 2018

Neuroplasticity Ninja is Here! Yeehaw!

Hi there! Welcome to my temporary blog while my fancy pants website is under construction!

I'm Claire Downey, founder of SWING Healing, and self proclaimed neuroplasticity ninja! Find out more about my education, certifications, & healing experience below.
What's my purpose here? Well, in short, to help you find the same healing that I did! My journey was long, messy, and involved a ton of research, trial and error. I'm here to provide you with inspiration, direction, materials and free guides that I've developed so that you can find relief from chronic illness, anxiety, depression, and blocks that may be holding you back from your own healing.

This site, SWING healing, and I am a work in progress, as I transition from severely ill for 16 years to out living life and coaching others. More services, programs, and resources will available soon (and a fancy pants website!), when the time is right. For now, please take a look around, and I hope you enjoy reading about my incredible transformation, as I want the same amazing healing that I've found for each of you! 

PS - I reserve the right to not have polished pictures and staged branding. Expect humor and sarcasm, as laughter truly has helped me survive and now thrive, living with joy and passion.   

My husband and I on a recent trip (May 2018) where we hiked and walked a ton! Wooohooo!

What I'm Healing From & How:

I've found healing after 16 years from severe POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Vertigo, Migraines, Gastroparesis, IBS, Histamine Intolerance, Anxiety, Suicidal Thoughts & Depression, Raynauds, suspected CFIDS (afer a prolonged mold exposure), Autonomic Neuropathy, chronic blood clots/DVTs/PEs, daily infusions of IV fluids for 7 years, often bed bound and home bound, and needing a reclining wheelchair, unable to feed myself at times. I'm sure I forgot a few, but you get the point! 

And the point is that now I'm out LIVING, LOVING, and FREE!
What am I doing? Neuroplasticity! I've used a combination of techniques that I want to share with you! No medication. No side effects. Read more HERE.

BEFORE: In 2017, when I had sepsis twice, multiple ports/PICC lines, and a new giant DVT that left my blood flow blocked and me in bed for 2 months, in and out of the hospital a ton. Had to use a wheelchair at home, didn't go out much, and then in October toxic mold I was allergic to (notice the past tense) was found, and we moved 8 times in 2 months while our home was remediated. 


AFTER: Me hiking in March 2018, after just a few months of neuroplasticity and tapping! It's been amazing. My doctors, family and friends all freak out when they see me, which I enjoy, lol!

  
My background:

I have been dealing with the ups and down of chronic illness since 2002, so that makes 16 years. I had to leave graduate school when POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) first showed up, while I was pursuing my doctorate in marine biology and living my dream, researching in the Florida Keys.

Since then, I've been a scuba diving marine biologist & research scientist turned science teacher turned floral designer and creative business entrepreneur turned chronic illness advocate & nonprofit founder turned traveling mold refugee (in 2017). I've had both traditional and online businesses for over a decade, been published in national magazines for various creative projects, and have gained and lost a lot a over the years, as have many who have had to adjust to ever changing symptoms, new diagnosis, and flares in varying severity. 

In late 2010, I went from "functionally chronically ill" with the ability to push through and still run my business part time and raise my young son, to severe and in the hospital for 9 months. There is a ton of info on my old blog, feel free to read up if you like. It was bad, so I'm not going to recount it all here. 

In 2015 I had a mini-remission that only lasted about 8 months, and I was put back into a wheelchair after making huge gains with a botched mediport surgery, where I was given medicine I was severely allergic to. Again, it was bad, and traumatic, and from fall 2015 until Feb 2018 I was severely ill again, most of the time. 2017 was exceptionally bad. I'm still retraining my brain, so I'm not going to expand too much on here about all that, as I'm focused on the future, and the health that I've been blessed with! 

Education/Certifications

I fell in love with the neuroscience behind the various types of healing programs and modalities I've been plowing through this past year, so I'm getting certified in a few things to better help the chronically ill community heal. SWING Healing will officially launch soon (with the fancy pants website!) and I'm SO excited to share all this with you! Please stay tuned and hit that subscribe button, you can also follow me over on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

The first time I went swinging again - what an amazing feeling! I'm enjoying things that used to make me pass out!
Thanks for reading! 
-Claire