Saturday, March 3, 2012

Skipping Steps The Untoward Consequences of Cross-Dominance (Part 3/4)

(This is part 3 of Frank's story)


Some of my worst traumas occurred after I left home to be on my own. Some may have occurred because of my cross-dominance and ADD, and it’s for certain that they all exacerbated them. Just turned 21, and just out of the Navy, working as an operating room technician, I woke up on a nice spring morning to discover that I could barely walk. My balls were swollen up as big as baseballs and feeling like they were going to explode. I got a friend to drive me to the hospital where I worked, and I cornered a urologist I worked with. He diagnosed me with bilateral epididymal orchitis, etiology unknown. He put me on Erythromycin and sent me home. I ran a temp of 104 and was in bed for 3 weeks. When it finally let up, my balls collapsed and atrophied, leaving them tender as boils at the poles. I was also left sterile. This was to me like NOT reaching puberty all over again. I felt humiliated, and have had to be very careful not to bump into things like the corner of a table, or get bumped or hit in the crotch area ever since.
The following March the police came to my house, tossed it and arrested me for all kinds of crimes: I was accused of being the Barstow Abortionist, the Cinderella Bandit, possession of illegal lethal weapons, dope peddling, statutory rape, leader of a teenage mafia, and just about anything else you can think of. I made headlines in the paper, lost my job, and thought I was going to prison (another worst nightmare. One that my parents had been threatening me with throughout my childhood – and my brother was already in prison at the time.) The sergeant who arrested me finally realized that I not only wasn’t his criminal and also that I was just a dumb kid that fell off the turnip truck, so he acted as my lawyer at my arraignment, negotiated my bail down from $50,000. To $500., helped me get a bail bondsman, and then in court got the D.A. to stand up and say to the judge, “We demand in the interest of justice that the charges be dropped.” And the judge said, “Okay, kid, get out of here.”
The following March (no longer an operating room technician, but a hod carrier) I got hit by a cement truck that crippled me for a year. It was my fault, and I got the ticket. I jumped out of a company truck and ran around the front of it to cross the street to my truck, when along came a big ready-mix concrete truck to meet me half way. I turned, looked, and knew I couldn’t make it either way. This was really because of my ADD and cross-dominance. It occurred because: As my foreman and I left the Yard to go to a job, I remembered that I forgot my cigarettes. My foreman said, “You ain’t gonna be bumming cigarettes from me all day, you little bastard, so we’ll stop at your place so you can get some out of your truck, but by God you’d better make it snappy, ‘cause we’re on company time.” Well, I run around like a chicken with its head cut off anyway, so naturally, I didn’t see the cement truck coming until it was too late.
Then when I was 25, the worst one of all: I got trapped in my brother-in-law’s attic, while helping him install a cooler, and suffered severe electric shock. I woke up in the hospital emergency room with the doctor pinching my eyes to see if I could react. I sat straight up, and he pushed me back down, saying, “Whoa, lay down, your heart’s not beating.” The after effects were terrible. I couldn’t move my jaw for 2 weeks afterward. And that’s how long the diarrhea and vomiting lasted. After that, I had a permanent case of the whips and jingles. I couldn’t touch a light switch without a big thick towel in my hand. All anyone had to do is say hello to me and I’d damn near jump over the moon. That one still dogs me. Those electric shock Primals are every bit as painful as any of my Birth Primals. But it was those Primals that normalized my startle response.
Probably of equal importance is the fact that I had 3 LSD trips and smoked grass regularly for a number of years. I’m sure it could not do less than aggravate my leaky gates, and further incuse the lack of coordination between my right hand and left eye.
It’s harder to get by with money and no drugs than it is to get by with drugs and no money (Old hippie saying)

Well, unlike Mom and Gramma, Art didn’t just leave me hanging with all this. He was also doing his own research, looking for other kinds of treatment.
One treatment that could hold promise is called transcranial direct current electrical stimulation. The military is using it to amp up learning in order to teach Air Force pilots who guide unmanned attack drones. It helps the recipient to be alert, focused, and more able to find anomalies on the computer screen. It also cuts learning time in half. I have ambivalent feelings about it, because of my experience of severe electric shock. I’ve relived a lot of it but much of it is still there and vulnerable to restimulation. I fear that it might nullify the positive effects. I was almost relieved to find out that it is prohibitively expensive.
There is also a similar treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation and another that is chiropractic called BioCranial Technique designed to adjust the bones in the skull to allow better distribution of spinal fluid pressure.
But then Art suggested pharmaceuticals. He thought we should try a neocortical stimulant given along with something to quiet the brainstem. Along with a psychiatrist, we settled on Adderal extended release and a low dose of Inderal as an adjunct to my Primal Therapy.
This was at first a bit of a problem to me. Early in therapy my therapist suggested something along those lines, but the very thought of speed struck a nasty chord. I also feared it would interfere with my therapy. Instead I took Strattura, and outside of a placebo effect at first, it did nothing for me so I quit.
Now I had used speed before. Back in the early 60s my favorite self medication was one of my wife’s diet pills (Dexamyl Spansules) along with a whole lot of beer. The problem, when you are young, desperate, and ignorant, is that titration is replaced with saturation. So what might have been helpful and useful went undiscovered. I also had a restaurant in the early 70s, and in order to work 20 hours a day, I took whites (these little pills were the first street manifestation of methamphetamine). By the time my restaurant collapsed, I was in the middle of the blind staggers and a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t even say a compound sentence without getting lost. In fact, that is what got me into therapy in 1973.
Nonetheless, Art’s suggestion was the most promising. Of course in treating all this we want to get to the origin of the symptom in order to feel the pain the symptom is defending me from. Drugs don’t do that. But wait. Drugs used as an adjunct to Primal Therapy might open some doors. So I agreed, even though I was still apprehensive about the possibility that it would prevent me from getting to my feelings. What I had not considered was titration of dose, starting with a 5mg extended release capsule and 20mg Inderal (a sympatholytic non-selective beta blocker). The Inderal dose was fine and I titrated the Adderal up to 15mg, i.e. to a point of alertness without the whips and jingles that can come with speed. Then WOW!


  1. Good Grief,

    If I say I didn't have it as bad as this (incredibly resilient) man, I am probably correct. But, on the other hand I've only scratched the tip of my iceberg.

    How did he survive so many traumas without dying? He hasn't mentioned suicidal feelings once, has he?

    If Art has helped this man there's hope for us all.

    Paul G.

  2. Oops... wow... wow... Do I have any problems? I do not think "small" problem is less than great if it blocks feelings that otherwise are to benefit awareness… we just don’t know the dignity of the small at the time.
    When I was eleven I had a surgery for appendix inflammation without having the symptoms... I lied about stomach pains to avoid going to school… at the hospital… they find it “better to be safe then to be uncertain"… so they made the surgery.
    I remember trying to get out of the leather straps they tied me on to the bed with. I pulled and tugged in an attempt to escape as the ether mask was pressed down over my face to put me to sleep... an experience that immediately gave me nightmares… nightmares about the surgery room's window… they grew thicker and thicker while I was on the inside with a sledgehammer in an attempt to get out... I had to give up... everything went black and I woke up operated... an operation that was not needed.
    Death cannot be more present and also be experienced as such. If they thought they do well… they should known how much pain they gave me. Death is experienced in our anxiety attacks... buried at the time when we could not escape it.


  3. Listen, Frank.... let me guess: whenever you tell anybody even a snippet of your story, their hair either completely falls out from trauma, the trauma of simply trying to imagine the horrors you have endured, or, like Janov, the hair just goes white and more and more curly. As you go along your narrative, I just keep thinking, My gawd, that can't be true! You are quite an astounding character. I was going to say thank-you for sharing but it would be a lie. I can barely endure just hearing what you have survived. So, I can't figure out what to say to you... the last of my hair has fallen out. Will I survive part 4?

    1. An answer from Frank:
      Hi Brian,

      I think you will; I did. Of course the story isn't over yet, but it looks like it is headed for a happy ending. I'll know more about that in a few months. Thanks for your interest.

      My best,


  4. >>Those electric shock Primals are every bit as painful as any of my Birth Primals. But it was those Primals that normalized my startle response.

    So there are some adult traumas that can equal the magnitude of Birth traumas. Interesting, indeed.

    >>One treatment that could hold promise is called transcranial direct current electrical stimulation. The military is using it to amp up learning in order to teach Air Force pilots who guide unmanned attack drones. It helps the recipient to be alert, focused, and more able to find anomalies on the computer screen. It also cuts learning time in half.

    I have been reading about this on the subject of mind control and hypnosis. The alpha state of the mind, suggested as 5-10 hz and upward to a certain point, as the range of alpha state. I have transcranial devices. If you get the FDA sanctioned ones, you’ll pay $2,000-$3,000 easy. But if you go with unapproved and un-guaranteed ones, you can get it for $200. Guess which route I went?

    Alpha state is the state “programmers” need for their programming to work best and last longest. In fact, if “subjects” are on special missions, “they” keep the subject in a continual alpha state, having various multiple personalities, which they call “alters,” take turns minding the body and mind while the other personalities sleep. But it is not the deep 0.5-1.5 hz you would sleep in. Scary stuff. But things can be hidden away in minds that can not be retrieved, once placed and “sealed” off. Only the one who put it there can get it out.

    I like using a 10 hz stimulation to get me alert and “high.” A strong magnetic field around the head can wipe out pain and anesthetize you as long as it stays on. I don’t have one of those and doubt I could afford one and I am sure they would be dangerous. There are places even I won’t go ;-) But not many!

    >>But then Art suggested pharmaceuticals. He thought we should try a neocortical stimulant given along with something to quiet the brainstem.

    Ah, notice that relationship between the stem and cortex. One has to quite the stem as well as stimulate the cortex. Art, that seems to support my theory a little more than yours. I say the stem has a lot of control and influence over the function of the cortex. You say the cortex can completely and utterly dominate the stem. I say one alone, the cortex, can not do that. The stem must cooperate. Evidence seems to favor my view. Just saying.

    Nevertheless, I am impressed with Art’s use of drugs to compensate for inadequate brain structures and functions. In the face of such obstacles, there seem to be no other options. Incidentally, “programmers” also are very fond of using drugs, too. Specific types, of course. So like anything, therapy can be healing or harming, depending on who and what objective.

    1. Apollo: You can quote me but don't quote me incorrectly. If you want to quote me find the quote and use it, then you can disagree. You have built up an idea that is not mine. Be more careful. art janov


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.