I just turned 50 at the end of last year, and have several things against my nervous system.
In 1995 my children and I ran away from domestic violence. When we ran away I had been married for 15 years with an incredible and increasing amount of emotional abuse. My husband was clinically insane. He was torturing our pets, practicing to kill us. From 1995 till 2005 my daughters and I were in confidential address programs, hiding from an incredibly genius man who never moved on. His motivation was to kill us then kill himself. He is dead now though, and we are free.
Also, in 2001 I had an accident, where I had a concussion and had to relearn everything. I am an artist and writer, and I've been a musician and an athlete. I was great at since and math . . . Most of these I have gotten back. I've had to work through each one, but they have returned. The music I haven't worked at, so I haven't gotten my instruments back. But, they are a good example of what happened. For example, I played guitar. When I was able to sit up and hold my guitar, I wanted to do everything backward. I couldn't remember how to hold the guitar and broke strings trying to tune it. I remembered the music in my head, but couldn't play it. Speech was similar. I knew what I thought I was saying, but my children couldn't understand me. I am ambidextrous, yet one hand will be used to doing one part of a thing and the other hand another. My hands completely switched what they wanted to do. My youngest daughter stayed home from school sick one day and it took me another whole day to write her a two line note to get her back in school, so she was out two days instead of one. It was the first time I had written after the accident. Stories I had written, I read as if another person had written them. Yet, later I COULD remember them as a writer would, after reading them. Other things too, if exposed to them again, came back. Still, sometimes some weird word that was appropriate when I was 8 or 10 will come out instead of one that has become more appropriate over time.
There is also some kind of neurological disorder that runs in my family. I went to a neurologist in 1995. The doctor told me that it was inherited, and that, if I could get away from all stress, it could go away. It resembles restless leg syndrome, but the whole body is affected. It makes us jerk, get a heavy fatigue, etc. I've chipped bones in my hands while asleep, and had my knees have gone out, waking me suddenly. My oldest daughter, who has had the reactions the worst, has been diagnosed with mioclonic (sp?) seizures.
I found that during our most trying times my brain met the challenges and worked more than incredibly. But now, it seems to struggle just to function normally. I forget things, loose things . . . details get lost. I had an incredible mind, but now feel inadequate.
I also struggle with depression. Oh, and communication has become difficult withing the last 6 months. Explaining things comes out chunky and chaotically. I teach, so this is really bad.
I found a drink that helps a lot, but doesn't work completely. It is the 5 Hour Energy drink. I have been trying to research why it helps, and also what else I can do to help my brain. I know that the drink has phenylalanine in it and vitamins, especially B6 and B12. 6 Hour Power also has these. The first time I drank this it was an incredible change. I felt like I had gotten my brain back. It still helps, but not as much as before, or else I am used to the change enough to be aware of what is still missing.
I have never been a conscious user of artificial sweeteners, and actually, when I started researching phenylalanine, I thought the phenylalanine could be what was helping me so much.