I received a text message a few weeks ago (June 2016) from a client's wife celebrating that her husband was now "one-year seizure free."
After years of battling crippling seizures, debilitating day and night terrors, and multiple other physical and emotional symptoms, in only "one counseling session," this young father and loving husband discovered the deep emotional splinter or "seed" that was robbing him of life.
The seizures that started during his 7th-grade year came on with a vengeance in 2011 right before he was married.
On one occasion he reported being flown to Arkansas Children's Hospital and "flat lined" on the way. A seizure almost took his life.
Since that Seed Digging counseling session in June 2015, his seizures have never returned. He is now freely enjoying life as a father and husband.
Please take a moment to read the powerful testimonial letter below from his wife, who courageously battled alongside her husband and never gave up.
Although humbled to read the kind words that she says about me in her letter, I can assure you that there was nothing spectacular that I did in that session. There are many other mental health professionals and counselors who see these same "miraculous" moments often during sessions like these.
I strongly believe the reason we see these moments occur frequently is because we choose to see people at the heart of who they are and with a "new set of eyes." We also understand that symptoms are simply the brain's way of telling us there is a "seed" or splinter...so we look deeper and help them "pull it out!"
If you or a loved one are experiencing seizures, addictions, or mental health issues that you have not been able to overcome, please don't give up! There is hope!
Seed Digging sessions occur at the Seed Digging Wellness Center in Harrison, Arkansas, Youth Bridge School Based Mental Health Programs (scattered throughout Northwest Arkansas), and at Grace Fellowship in Cabot, Arkansas (www.gfcabot.com).
There are limited slots available for adults at the Harrison clinic because we primarily work with children. However, there is a team in Cabot who specializes in working with adults and are ready and available to help.
If we can help you, please don't hesitate to reach out!
....testimonial letter written approximately one month after the "session" (August 2015)
Our story began in 9th grade. We started as friends and our feelings quickly grew. By the end of 9th grade we began dating. We really fell head over heels for one another. By the time we were 17 year old juniors, we knew we wanted to get married someday.
We went on a vacation to Italy right after graduation and he proposed. I of course said yes. It was my dream come true.
The following fall we headed off to college together. We were so excited – we had ourwhole futures ahead of us. We had a blast our first semester in college. We did a great job of allowing each other to have our own experiences while still growing together. We began wedding planning and everything was going as just as we hoped.
Then in our second semester of college, February 2011, everything changed. My husband had seizures for a short time before we started dating, but he had not had them whole time we had dated. One day we were having a discussion and he started to seize. My whole world stopped in that moment. I honestly didn’t realize what was happening at first. Once they started, they hit hard and heavy. The seizures happened daily from that point on. Sometimes it was once a day, sometimes it was 12 in a day. We never knew what to expect. I fell apart. I was so scared – the seizures were awful. They were violent and they caused him so much pain.
The man who had been my rock was crumbling in front of my eyes. One my scariest memories was when after one of his seizures he quit breathing. I called 911 and watched my best friend laying on stretcher being escorted into an ambulance. This was not how I envisioned our lives going – in fact it could not be further from what we thought we would be doing.
Soon enough the seizures escalated and were taking over our lives. He could not attend class as regularly as needed. I even found myself skipping classes to watch over him. I was so scared that something would happen to him if I was not there – as if I could control any of it. I would rush to class when I did go and rush right back when it was over to check on him. I slept as little as possible at night so that I could monitor him. I did not understand the seizures and what effects they could have on his body. We first sought out a neurologist for treatment. They ran tests and everything came back normal. Normal? My fiancé was having seizures and yet nothing was detected on a test. I could not tell them why they were happening, but I could tell them without a shadow of a doubt that what we were experiencing was not “normal”. We accepted that for a bit since it seemed there was nothing we could do. I prayed knowing that only God knew the cause of the seizures and the cure. I was so emotional during that time – my heart was breaking as I watched the man I loved experience such excruciating pain while he convulsed and seized. The longer they continued, the more confused I felt. I was angry at my fiancé for not being able to be the rock he once was for me. I was angry with myself for feeling that way towards him when he was in such pain and it was clearly not something he could control. Lastly, I was angry with God for not taking these awful things away and restoring our lives.
One day I was studying one of my psychology textbooks and another hope was sparked. I read about emotional trauma resulting in physiological reactions and thought maybe that was a key to our problem. We called a psychologist and made an appointment. We had several months of sessions with this psychologist – he helped my husband with stress reducing practices and coping techniques that reduced the seizures somewhat, but did not by any means get rid of them. He helped my husband to sometimes prolong the time between them happening – but we did not know the cause. Stress induced seizures was the guess, but my husband was not stressed. Things could be perfect and they would still come. After a few months we quit going to that psychologist as we felt he helped as much as he could.
We got married in May 2012. My husband was able to be fully there for our wedding ceremony and reception and for a day it was like the seizures did not exist…it was a fairy tale day. We left for our honeymoon and we were blessed that he only had one morning of seizures while we there. We had the best time celebrating. When we got back we were blissed out for a bit and the seizures seemed to have reduced in number. That did not last long. By the beginning of the fall they were back and stronger than ever. We ended up completely pulling my husband out of school and he had to quit the job he had gotten right after we got married. We also found out were pregnant that September. We were both overjoyed that we were pregnant as we knew wanted to have a baby someday – the timing was not perfect, but that did not take away from the excitement we felt. While the pregnancy brought me joy, it also made the impact of the seizures heavier than ever. Now it was not only my life that would be impacted by these awful things, but my baby’s life as well. It broke my heart to think about.
Things got tough at this point. I was pregnant, working, and in my 2nd to last year of my bachelor’s degree. I was so busy and I felt so alone trying to figure out how to put our life together for the three of us. My husband was so debilitated by the seizures at this point. Again, I prayed for God to take these seizures away and to restore our life, but nothing changed. My husband came to the doctor’s appointments that he could, helped setup the nursery, and gave all he had. I remember crying on the way to my child birthing class because he was having seizures and I had to go alone. I was so upset because I was supposed to have my husband, the father of our daughter, with me for those experiences. I could not be upset with him for not being there – but I was. Half way through the class his seizures stopped, so I left long enough to pick him up and return. I could tell he was in pain and struggling, but it meant the world to me that he wanted to be there regardless of what he had been through that morning. He cared so much for me and for our child. I would love to say that my husband genuinely trying and caring made it easier, and in some ways it did, but it also left me feeling so confused. What kind of person is upset with someone they love for experiencing painful debilitating seizures? Me - that is who. I tried not to get upset, to feel disappointed with our life, or to resent him. Those feelings naturally surfaced and I would get so mad at myself for not being able to stop them. It was not his fault they were happening and he was doing the best he could. If anything, I knew I should have loved him for trying to push through and not just giving up. He had lost so much and was experiencing pain daily.
In 2013 our little girl was born. During labor I looked up and noticed that he looked like he could have a seizure at any minute – I sent him home to rest because I knew that I had to choose whether I wanted him there for my labor or for the delivery. He missed the hardest part of my labor and my mom held me while I cried wishing he could be there to comfort me. However, he did make it back for the delivery. He saw our little girl be born and was able to stay with her in the nursery. I am so thankful for that.
Things continued to be rough for a while after she was born. We were so incredibly in love with our daughter and she brought so much joy to our lives. While we were so happy to have our precious baby here, she made the reality of the seizures harder to handle. There were times when my husband could not hold our daughter – I watched his heart break as the fear engulfed him that he would have a seizure while holding her. I could tell he felt so helpless. It was hard to watch how limited he was at times with her. In the times where he was limited, not only was I sad, but I was also frequently a little overwhelmed. I knew that for our daughter’s sake I needed to push forward – I had to finish my last year of school, I had to work to provide for us, and I had to be there when she needed me at all times, because he may not be able to. It was so much to handle.
With time we adjusted to the demands of parenting and we began to accept our life with the seizures. Our daughter gave my husband a new purpose and joy. She did not see her daddy as a man who had his dreams ripped away from him and who was limited by seizures – she saw him as the man who loved her unconditionally, who laid in the floor to play with her, and snuggled her every chance he got. Watching my husband love our daughter so passionately gave me something positive to focus on. No, he could not do many things that I wish he could, but what he could do was love my daughter and help me to raise her to be all she could be – and he was. I started accepting the fact that I prayed and God had not taken the seizures away. That meant that God had a plan that was different than mine and I knew I needed to accept that He knew better than I did. I began reminding myself that many other people have it so much worse than we did. I began remembering that if I looked for the blessings in my life, I would find them. So I did. We accepted a new level of normalcy and learned to be flexible. The times we three spent together were treasured and loved. When he was having seizures my daughter and I would have girl time. We were going to be fine. Yes, we would live on one income and that could be tough. Yes, our future would be different than if the seizures were not a part of our life, but at the end of the day we had each other and our daughter and that is all we really needed.
In May of 2014, I graduated with my Bachelors Degree.
In fall of 2014 while we were functioning fine with everything, I could see my husband’s self-esteem really dropping. At this point he had been having seizures for 3 ½ years and felt no hope for progress. I think it was hard for him to watch my life changing and growing as we always planned and his was stopped. He was happy for me, but it was hard for him to accept that his future did not seem to hold a lot of options. So, I began searching out a more specialized psychologist hoping that maybe we could find someone better equipped to help him. Around this time my husband was experiencing an increase in night terrors so we really felt like it would be a good time to seek out more counseling. We found another psychologist who seemed to be the perfect fit. She dealt with neurological psychology – I thought this is it – this is who we have been looking for. She saw my husband once, administered some tests and said she really felt she knew what the cause of the seizures was. Upon his second visit with her she confirmed that she did indeed think that the seizures were caused by a repressed memory, but that she was uncomfortable trying to treat that. She referred my husband to yet another psychologist. Unfortunately this psychologist had an extremely long wait list. They could not give us a projected timespan on when he would get in. Once again, we accepted defeat and that our lives were going to forever be tainted with these seizures.
Then, a few months later in 2015, my mom told me that she heard about a counselor, Shawna Burns, in our hometown of Harrison who
had some incredible success stories. She recommended we give her a try and since we had nothing to lose, we did. I was honestly skeptical upon taking this option – we had been experiencing the seizures for four plus years and no one had been able to help. You can imagine how surprised I was when my husband called me after his first appointment. He sounded like a different person. He talked about how different he felt, how such a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Shawna was able to help him process through his night terror, connect to his childhood memory, and heal the wounds that happened as a result from the traumatic experience he had as a six year old. I could tell in that moment that something was definitely different. I was honestly shocked – the outcome was not at all what I was expecting.
My husband has been COMPLETELY seizure free since his first appointment well over a month ago. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but for us, this is such a blessing. My husband has never been this long without seizures – he usually had them at least 25 days out of the month. On the days when he was not having seizures, he was experiencing migraines and other symptoms that indicated a seizure was coming. He has not had any symptoms, seizures, or night terrors – not even one.
I am so happy that we gave Shawna a chance. God has blessed this woman with a gift and I am so thankful that He used her in our lives. Everything has changed in such an amazing way since my husband’s visit. We are in the process of rebuilding the dreams that we once had as two 19 year old kids that never knew of the seizures. My husband has been given the ability to dream again of what he can do with his life. He is 24 and for the first time in a long time, his potential is sky high. He can do whatever he wants to do – the seizures will not stop him. Our daughter never has to see her dad disappear to bedroom for “alone time” because he cannot be around her while he is seizing. He will be by my side at all of her schooling and sporting events as she grows up. I have my teammate back, my partner, and my rock. He can consistently be there for me and I never have to wonder if the seizures will get in the way of our plans. In one counseling visit Shawna gave us our futures back.
I now see that God was answering my prayers in just the right way. If my husband’s seizures had stopped when I first petitioned God, he would not have received the healing he needed. Without the many doors closing and not resulting in our desired outcome, we would have never kept searching for the right answer. My husband’s repressed memory would have remained buried and he would have never addressed what was causing him so much emotional turmoil.
I am now more grateful to have a normal life that I ever have been. My husband and I have a stronger relationship than ever before. Lastly, both of our relationships with God grew. God is good and He really does have the best interest of His children in mind. I will always have faith in that."