I never sleep well on a full moon. Energy levels are an ally in this neuroplastic technique, when they’re high; a huge hurdle when they’re not. Unless you’ve lived with pain for years, it’s hard to appreciate that your fellow humans won’t have deep reserves of endurance to draw on in these situations. Already worn thing by putting up with pain for a number of years — a kind of emotional and metabolic “death by a thousand cuts” — on top of that the neuroplastic technique itself saps energy. The temporary relief one may gain does give a temporary boost at times, but in general we are intensively rewiring a large multiplicity of neurons here, in regions all across the brain.
It is well established that in periods of high usage the brain can be responsible for up to twenty percent of ATP (cellular energy) drain in the body . That’s a huge amount for something so small!
(OK, some of us have bigger brains than others ).
Regardless of one’s individual brain size, one can expect to feel drained when undertaking this kind of relentless brain training. I’ve personally made a deliberate effort to increase calories and essential brain nutrients like tryptophan and carnitine through nourishing foods (plenty of that!) and supplements. It’s also worth investing in a quality form of CoQ10 that can help boost production of ATP throughout your body including your brain (plus there are anti-ageing benefits to such a high-strength antioxidant that anyone can appreciate).
When choosing a CoQ10 supplement, avoid the standard off-the-shelf pharmacy brands — they’re not worth throwing your money at. You will literally excrete them unchanged. You want it in ubiquinol form, a bit more pricey but at least it is bioavailable to your system . Or if you’re feeling particularly Bank, the MitoQ developed at Dunedin University is “mitochondrially targetted”, meaning that 850 times the CoQ10 actually reaches your mitochondria where it’s needed for ATP production. I have taken a bottle dose of their standard supplement for the last month. I noticed a subtle but significant feeling of energy and endurance that I’d not had for a long time within five days of taking it. I kept taking it for a month before talking about it, afraid that the effects would wane. But they haven’t. I now credit MitoQ with stabilising a downward spiral of fatigue and making it even conceivable for me to begin the neuroplastic training regimen. My second bottle just arrived and well worth the $85 per month that it’s costing me .
(BTW I’m not getting any kickbacks for suggesting these things, just sharing what I’ve tried that works for me!)
Back to the full moon. That plus the collision of several worlds ended with me not getting even two hours sleep last night, plus currently at a stalemate vs the seasonal headcold and you could say I’m not a big dynamo of energy right now. I’m having a corresponding setback in pain today. Rather than individual pain spikes that I can neatly nip in the bud with a bit of visualising, I’m getting these non-distinct waves of pain. They change location but I couldn’t really say there has been a time at all today where the pain wasn’t intruding on consciousness. The technique which has been giving me no little amount of relief for the past week is in disarray. I struggle with focus when sleep deprived (I’m sure you do too!).
I’m not really doing anything today. Concentration is low enough that it’s not an option to visualise with closed eyes like yesterday, so I’ll feel pain and be forced to stop a task only to become distracted and lurch back into activity before realising that the visualisation wasn’t complete, at which point I’ll stop again and try finish what I was doing. As I noted back on day 11, the level of pain itself has an inversely proportional relationship to concentration levels, which is not exactly helping the situation today.
I know this will change though. I know it’ll get better. I’m just in a trough between two breaking waves. Many more will come, just as the glimpses of freedom, the vista and freshness at each crest, also come and go, only to come again. It would be so easy to give up now. A relief, to turn and run. But the relief is a trap — there’s nowhere to run except pain. So again, I find myself falling back on the Litany against Fear:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
When the fear has gone there will be nothing. These troughs, they resolve like a line drawn in water. Utterly ephemeral. But what we do during them, just like plowing the soil in winter, cultivates our habits for the coming thaw.
 Why Does the Brain Need So Much Power? Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/
 Ask a Neuroscientist: Does a bigger brain make you smarter? Stanford Neurosciences Institute https://neuroscience.stanford.edu/news/ask-neuroscientist-does-bigger-brain-make-you-smarter
 There are many well-established studies proving the effectiveness of ubiquinol and MitoQ at assisting cellular metabolism and ATP production. For purchasing MitoQ, see http://www.mitoq.com/nz/mitoq-5mg-capsules-60.html.
 If you’re in NZ, BioBalance is a good source of ubiquinol, available at many online pharmacies such as HealthPost.