Although I didn’t have the language to name it as FND, I experienced a range of confusing neurological symptoms the better part of four years before finding Dr. Moenter. The worst of it was constant tremors, difficulty walking, extreme fatigue, dizziness, poor memory and concentration, muscle spasms of all kinds, chronic pain, dissociation, and near daily seizures, some of which lasted hours. I reluctantly gave up all of my favourite activities so that I might have the capacity to at least get to work each day. However, I ended up taking leave from my job after an especially severe seizure landed me in the ER — and I tried working part time later on but was calling in sick more often than not. Within a matter of weeks my symptoms escalated, and I reached out to an OT for resources. She got me a wheelchair which greatly increased my mobility but came with its own challenges, to say the least. I was feeling pretty hopeless by the time I found Dr. Moenter – ready to accept that I’d be at the mercy of my body, continually declining, for the foreseeable future.
Dr. Moenter’s keen ability to read someone’s story, their emotions, and their very nature made it easy to trust and be comfortable with her. In our first online consultation, she helped me put into words all of the conflicting emotions I was feeling, and reassured me that this was “workable”. I believed her, despite my inner cynic, well-developed after years of living with illness. Her calm, warm, and assured gaze gave me hope. It was easy to share with her my deepest truths, the contradicting emotions, the parts of my experience I would have been hesitant to share with anyone else – because she understood , she listened without judgement, and she shared insights that few others would be able to share.
I invested in the trip to Boulder to do intensive outpatient therapy, and it was a transformative experience. She taught me to sit with my uncomfortable symptoms, to trust the process of my body, and quite literally held me – grounded me – when my body was violently shaking, when I was a hair away from completely dissociating and having a seizure. Through a combination of learning to understand the neurobiological workings of my body, and how my emotions and environment fed into it, I gained agency and autonomy over my body. I’ve been seizure free since the start of the outpatient therapy. I am able to walk, and I am feeling my strength come back to my body, and my confidence is improving with it. Although making space in my life for healing has been difficult, Dr. Moenter has been supportive every step of the way. With the improvement in my quality of life, I’ve been able to dip my toes back into the things I love: ice skating; my job; writing, and art! Managing my symptoms and well-being is still a difficult balancing act, six weeks out of the intensive treatment, but I am confident that I have the tools and resources to continue doing so. I meet with Dr. Moenter weekly via video calls, and slowly but surely I am making progress – moving from survival mode, to being able to live my life again.
Dr. Moenter is an incredible human, and an astounding practitioner with a wealth of knowledge. Her holistic approach to healing is a refreshing departure from the constraints of conventional medicine. She is kind, and gentle, and fiercely believes in the resiliency of her clients. There is no question that she is 110% there to support you. She is approachable, and funny, and has so much wisdom to share. I cannot say enough about her and the very welcome change she has brought to my life!!
About five years ago I suffered a head injury. A year later, I had my first seizure. During my first seizure I broke and dislocated both of my shoulders. I also developed anxiety, agoraphobia, memory issues and a speech stutter. At first I would only leave the house for doctor’s appointments. My relationships suffered and I couldn’t work. My seizures continued frequently. I was having multiple per week. Every seizure would dislocate my shoulders and I could not get them fixed. Once the doctors finally diagnosed me with FND, I found Dr. Moenter.
Dr. Moenter immediately made me feel at ease in her office. I remember learning breath control that very first day. I use those breathing exercises every single day. In addition to learning the correct way to breathe, Dr. Moenter has helped me further my meditation learning. I meditate every single day, and it has been the most helpful tool I have. Today, I have been seizure free for approximately 5 months. My stutter is still there, but a lot less frequent. I was able to finally have surgery on my shoulder a month ago and it feels great. I have become more active and social. I even have a job interview coming up. I have gotten my life back. I know that I had to do the work myself, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Dr. Moenter. Her insight, compassion, knowledge, and intelligence are invaluable to any patient lucky enough to have her for a doctor.
As a healthy, active, 31 year old, and mother of a 2 year old, one day I suddenly had very intense DeJaVu, and then “passed out” in my office. A few weeks later, it happened again- this time at home in front of my husband. A trip to the ER determined nothing, and I eventually convinced my family doctor to refer me to a neurologist, who diagnosed me with epilepsy (a misdiagnosis, it turned out). My ‘seizures’ continued off and on for several years – I would feel very intense feelings of dejavu for several minutes, and then pass out. I have a few on video – and watching them is absolutely terrifying. Having them was scary, although they lasted usually less than 5 minutes, and were much more likely during times of stress. I saw another doctor who diagnosed me with hormone deficiency (my seizures were more frequent around my period, and I was having trouble getting pregnant). I changed my diet, and I had another child, which seemed to stop my seizures – for about 6 months. They came back even worse than before with increased frequency and duration. I was getting desperate – how could I run triathlons but not be able to beat seizures? Then at a professional conference I met someone who told me he had been diagnosed with “PNES” – a term I had never heard. I got home, googled it, and pretty quickly decided that was probably what I had after all, and through this found Dr. Moenter.
My name is Samantha R. and it has been a LONG and miserable ten years. I have had PNES that long. The seizures destroyed my life. I was unable to drive, lost my job, became isolated from all of my friends and family. I had a miserable existence. My episodes would be from very violent to absence seizures. I would be trapped in my body at times, I could hear and see, but not move or speak. I think those were the most frightening type. They would happen up to 10 times a day. And they would last up to an hour or so each time or be as short as 5 minutes. They took over my life.
It took me almost a year to get to Boulder to see Dr. Moenter. I was worried and quite doubtful that she could help me. I mean, no one else was able to. When I walked thru her door the first day, I was skeptical. The first day, she took one look at me and was able to read what I was feeling about her! Ha! She summed up my fears and validated me. I knew then that I could trust her. I mean she read me like a book, so why not?! After I walked thru her door, I have never had a seizure again. She taught me how to live in my body. To pay attention to the messages that my body gives me, to acknowledge my emotions and let them come to the surface and exit my body. It sounds simple, and the techniques really are! It is not easy, and it is uncomfortable to be with the emotions I haven’t felt in years, but I AM FREE!
So today I am 17 weeks out. I will never have a seizure again. I recognize the warning signs way before it gets close. I AM SYMPTOM FREE! I am working hard to recover my life. I’m 46, but I feel 20 again! The world is mine. I now can do anything I want to do! It’s time for me to live out my dreams! My anxiety and depression are so much more manageable. I think I will be able to get off all of the anxiety and depression drugs in six months because I know how to manage the feelings inside my body. It is quite amazing. I would never have believed this possible unless I experienced it myself! I am back in the game of life. I am having dinner with friends, going out with my family, and I am being invited to events! This is huge, because people quit inviting you places when you have seizures.
Dr. Moenter is one of the kindest humans on the planet. She is so insightful on my body and my mind. I video chat with her weekly still, and she is only a text away. I have never had a doctor that cares as much as Dr. Moenter does. She is so empathetic. She can see when you need a hug. Dr. Moenter is always available for me. When I struggle, she is just a text away to walk me thru my struggle. Even though she is my doctor, I know she cares so much about me as a person, I consider her my “friend”, and I don’t throw that word around lightly. My life is so much better for meeting Dr. Moenter and using her plan to rid myself of seizures. I owe my recovery to her!
I had a plan for my life, or at least an outline. I had an idea of how things would go, hopes and dreams. I learned very early on that my vision of what life would be like would be derailed. Back before it all happened I saw trauma as something soldiers came back from war with, nothing more, nothing less; oh how wrong I was. In February of 2018, I was just starting to get my life back. I was fresh out of my 8th surgery, the last 6 for a congenital sternum deformity, with the initial surgery going bad and landing me in the ICU with a systemic infection. I had looked death in the face and lived to tell the tale. I thought I was on top of the world or at least hiking towards it. Then one day, while in the midst of recovering from one of those surgeries, I had an ovarian cyst burst. This had happened to me before, multiple times actually, once every month for the past 3 months, so I knew the drill… The pain would be excruciating and they could help numb it with medications, but nothing would take it away. I would have to go into the ER to make sure there wasn’t anything dangerous going on like: ruptured appendix, twisted ovary, burst ovary and so on. Once they had confirmed that it was in fact a burst ovarian cyst I would be on my way back home to wait it out.
The thing is that plans get derailed. I remember it so clearly, when I close my eyes it’s like I’m still there. I was laying in the ER bed, there was only one other person in the room, the ER doctor. He was trying to bully me into admitting that I had had sex, threatening me with the thought that I would never be able to get pregnant again. The thing is that he was wrong, I had never had sex, in fact I had only had my first kiss a few weeks earlier. You see the doctor believed that I was having a tubal pregnancy and that I was lying about being a virgin. The next thing I know everything goes fuzzy, all of a sudden my parents are back in the room. I had passed out. It wasn’t more than 30 seconds before it happened again and again and again. Something was wrong, but the rural doctor was grossly mistaken about what it was. The second he learned that I had been treated for anxiety disorder and PTSD, he completely abandoned any attempts to treat me, even took my mother into his office and told her that she was enabling me by entertaining the idea that I was indeed losing consciousness multiple times per minute. After being discharged from the ER and having received more harm than help, arrangements were made for me to be transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado, but this wasn’t until the ER doctor had finished accusing me of faking it all, pretending to be sick to get attention.
Anyways, within 24 hours I had my first seizure. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before and so much worse. I spent a week at CHCO just to be discharged without any answers, my longest seizure lasting 4 hours. By this point I was having upwards of 20 seizures a day and had presented with an array of other symptoms including but not limited to: intermittent paralysis from the neck down or the waist down, involuntary muscle movement, loss of speech, loss of ability to swallow, severe cognitive deficits, and extreme fatigue. I required 24/7 supervision for my safety and daily activities of living.
Without anywhere else to go, we went home and my mom started researching. There was not a single business hour that my mom wasn’t knocking on every door trying to find answers and on top of that she was taking care of me in my deteriorating state. We finally got the diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder, but of course they had no plan of treatment, no idea of how to even start helping, and no referral to anyone who could maybe help. Over the next few months, as I continued to get worse and worse, we traveled all over the U.S. trying every method of treatment we could find to no avail. My mom had to quit her job, I had to withdraw from high school, I had lost or strained almost all of my relationships due to my medical condition, and I didn’t know how much longer I could hold it all together when we were rounding on a year of FND.
That’s when we heard about Dr. Moenter. A friend of ours knew someone who Dr. Moenter had helped and within a week or so we had a video meet. At first I was very skeptical, I felt like I had tried everything, I had lost hope, but there was something that Dr. Moenter said during our video chat that struck a chord with me. She started talking about how she and I needed to have a good connection for us to make any progress, and while that is 100% true what got to me was the fact that she talked as if we were in it together. I had my first appointment with Dr. Moenter and for the first time in a year I had hope, real hope! Living about 6 hours away from Boulder, CO where Dr. Moenter lives and works meant relocating for 2 weeks. I saw her for 90 minute sessions 8 times in those first two weeks before we headed home. At first I didn’t notice a difference with my symptoms, but I did have hope. After another 2 weeks at home we headed back to Boulder. I had two seizures the day we drove over, that was February 24, 2019. I haven’t had a seizure or FND symptom since!! Now don’t get me wrong, it was hard work and it still is, but I am getting back to my old self. Actually no, I am becoming my new self. I am stronger than I ever knew possible and I have Dr. Moenter to thank for that.
So if you are reading this that probably means you or someone you love is where I was, and here is the truth: no matter how hard it gets there is always hope. I walked into Dr. Moenter’s office for the first time scared, upset, and surrounded by a billion walls, but her empathy broke down my walls. She met me right where I was and always let me set my own boundaries. She pushed just enough to get me better, but not past my breaking point. In her office I experienced zero judgement and 100% compassion. Dr. Moenter is so beyond wise and talented in working with people who experience FND/PNES, her work is gentle and subtle yet profound. She is absolutely amazing and I don’t know where I would be today without her. My name is Hailey H.-G., I am 17 years wise, and today I am 72 days seizure and FND symptom free. Thank you Dr. Moenter for giving me an even better version of my life back!”
I had lived what I would have considered a normal healthy life, full of energy, ambition nothing was impossible to do. I’d always tell my family I’m made of titanium and unbreakable, I had an addiction to work and get things done. Well life has a way of throwing obstacles in your way, there would be days were I had trouble speaking, walking, focusing on task, remember simple things. My legs would start jerking and twitching while I was trying to relax, my arms and legs felt like they would fall asleep, times it was hard to breathe, stomach felt like it was on fire, blurred vision, tunnel vision, I would get very irritated over noises or even what someone was doing. Three and a half months prior to meeting Doctor Moenter I had a seizure on January 14, 2018 at my home where my wife and youngest daughter witnessed. My wife, son and daughter took me to the ER to be examined, we thought it could’ve been related to an old head injury, so the doctor had a CT scan done and then sent me home. The next day I couldn’t hardly walk, my legs felt weak, I was stuttering, my mind felt like it was on over load. One of my co-workers came by my office and realized something was wrong, so we made our way to the HR office. At which point my body didn’t even want to function, I was wheeled out of the office to my wife’s car in a chair. Made it until January 16, 2018 and had another seizure. My wife took me to a different ER to hopefully get some answers, as the nurses were getting ready to release me, because the doctor said I’d be okay, I had 3 more seizure where the nurses were able to witness. At that point the doctor decided to keep me over night for observation, not sure how many more accrued but the doctor decided to do a 24-hour EEG. Where he was able to rule out Epilepsy, he didn’t tell me anything else other than he was sending me to a Neurologist who specializes in seizures.
That’s where I was diagnosed with PNES and FND, which she explained to me what it was and that it would help me if I would go to CBT. Neurologist told me I couldn’t drive or work until I went two weeks without out an PNES event. She was trying to help me out by sending us to the closest Therapist, to where we lived. Long story short it was a total disaster with the Therapist, would tell me one thing and my Neurologist another. I asked my Neurologist to refer me to the very best she knew, and I didn’t care how far I’d have to go. The PNES events were short in time frame and happening 1-5 times a day, where they would leave me paralyzed feeling helpless, vulnerable, weak, tired and embarrassed. It was strange after the PNES events it took awhile to come around you could start to hear sounds then my eyes would start to focus, sometimes taking up to 45 minutes to recover enough to move again. With the PNES, it became hard on my family, they used up most their vacation or sick time to take me to the doctor visits (MRI, Blood Test, Neurologist and CBT appointments). There were times where it felt like I was having an out of body experience, could feel my legs and it felt like I was floating, it was very scary and put me in-panic mode. My wife would say there were days that it looked like there was nothing there in my facial look. It became hard for me, because I had always been able to go not stop, always doing something and now all that my body wanted to do is lay on the couch and do nothing. I grew distant from everyone I knew, not knowing how to handle the disruption in life. I’d never had to cope with anything like this before, my emotion where all over the place.
I still remember the first time going to meet Doctor Moenter, it was a 1 ½ hour drive to her office. Where it gave my plenty of time to think while my wife was driving us there, I was nervous while waiting for our appointment with her. When Doctor Moenter, invited us into her office. I remember her greeting us with a firm handshake, warm smile and a soft eye. She asked a few questions where I became extremely guarded, so she asked my wife a few questions to help her to be able to start helping me. I got butterfly feeling in my stomach, to the point of almost being sick. Though Doctor Moenter, when she spoke with a warm caring voice that let me know she truly cared. I’m a person that has a major trust problem with people, but I could feel it in her presents that she was truly a caring person that wanted to help me. After just the first meeting with Doctor Moenter, I went 5 days with out a PNES event. During the first few visits she started to build a trust with me, understanding that I didn’t trust people. She diagnosed me with Chronic PTSD to go along with the PNES/FND which I didn’t understand why I’m a normal person, she explained it to me in a way that I could understand it. Doctor Moenter worked with me on how to tell or feel when a PNES event was about to happen and how I could keep in from happening, some of these exercises grounding, breathing techniques, awareness of where I am. These exercises I continue to use still today. After the second visit I went 30 days without an event. Doctor Moenter has a unique intuition into a person’s inner being, she would key in on the slightest change in my physical appearance or the way I would talk. When she noticed any change, she would ask what is happening or how am I feeling. She also could tell when I was checking out during a conversation and bring back to the present. While working with Doctor Moenter, I came to realize that I had put myself in bondage due to past experiences/trauma. Doctor Moenter has help me break the chains of bondage and begin to experience what true freedom feels like.
Doctor Moenter was able to help me get back to driving and part time working within 2 ½ months and 5 months was able to go back to work full time. I still have a few spasms in my legs occasionally, but they are becoming fewer with each passing day. I’ve been PNES free for 4 months now, due to the coaching Doctor Moenter has done. Starting to get my life back. The burden is lighter to bare. The triggers are becoming less frequent. Relationships are becoming less strained and able to get back to our previous hobbies and lifestyle. I have learned to grasp the present and enjoy the simplicities of life. I appreciate more the wholesome relationships I have built. Understanding the use of habits as coping mechanisms has helped me gain a better quality of life. One of the things that I truly value with Doctor Moenter is her being there for me in my most frustrated times.
Doctor Moenter values me as an individual. She is very approachable, caring and sincere in her efforts. She always has my best interests in mind. Her availability is one of her strengths and something I really value when I’m needing some assistance. She is persistent in the best way to find the solutions to help alleviate barriers. Even when I’m not vocal or feel inadequate in my words she can read and understand my body language and intents. Meeting Dr. Moenter has been a life changing experience, the words don’t begin to capture how much she truly has changed my life.
I had been suffering from uncontrollable nightly spasms that kept me up all night (every night) for about two months before I started working with Dr. Moenter. In those days I was so sleep deprived that I would go about my day like a zombie. I remember being completely distracted while driving, to the point that I missed stop signs. I was so exhausted I could barely focus on my work. My emotions and moods were all over the place both because of the feelings of helplessness I had about my condition and because I was so fatigued. The only way I had managed to quell the spasms was by taking an anti-convulsant medication, but it led to many unwanted side effects, both physical and emotional. I couldn’t imagine continuing to take that medication for the rest of my life—it would not be a life. I then tried doing Neurofeedback, but to my disappointment it didn’t help. It was thanks to a neurologist who assessed what these spasms were all about that I was referred to Dr. Moenter.
At the beginning I was very skeptical. How could something so clearly physical, something that I feel I have no control over, not be purely physiological? It seemed far-fetched to think that changing my way of thinking could have any effect over the spasms.
The first meeting with Dr. Moenter was very memorable for me. I have seen several psychologists throughout my life, and feel like I “know the drill.” But with Dr. Moenter I realized she was paying attention to much more than what I was saying, she was looking at the way my body was moving, she was paying attention to my breathing, and she knew when I was speaking but checked out. It felt a bit overwhelming but in a good way: I realized I was finally working with someone that was looking at the whole me.
It seemed incredible, but after only 4 sessions, the intensity of the spasms subsided. I was finally able to get rest and be functional during the day. I learned how disconnected I usually am from my body, how I cut off the signals it sends so that it has no choice but to speak in seizures! I learned that I needed to check in with my body several times a day, to learn how to allow emotions to pass through me with acceptance, rather than block them with resistance.
I still experience the night spasms, but no longer every day. I am learning to be curious when they arise and to stay calm. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but I have so much more freedom from what I felt was the bind of my body than I did when I first started. I know that I will continue to improve with Dr. Moenter.
Dr. Moenter is highly skilled, and in my darkest times has been very accessible and generous with her time, which I did not experience with other psychologists I’ve seen. She is warm and understanding, and makes you feel like you can share anything with her. At the same time she knows when it’s time to challenge you, to ask you to go beyond what you think your constraints are so that you can find your way to freedom, and to a better relationship with yourself.
My ﬁrst seizure was in November 2017 after a reaction to pain medication. After taking 1/2 of the prescribed dosage over 24 hours, I attempted to prepare dinner. During that process I passed out. When I came to the paramedics were there asking me questions that I was unable to answer because I had lost the ability to speak and move independently. My ﬁrst seizure lasting 2 1/2 hours started while being transported from the house into the ambulance in a wheel chair. I was unable to respond but I could hear everything that was going on around me. I remember hearing one ER nurse saying “Oh, she’s just stoned” and walking away.I was admitted to the hospital and was in ICU for 4 days. During this time I experienced multiple lengthy violent painful uncontrollable exhausting seizures. Once the CD diagnosis was conﬁrmed, I then spent 2 weeks in rehab working with an occupational therapist and physical therapist relearning how to walk independently and care for my personal needs. I needed to use a walker. I needed assistance bathing. I needed to relearn how to prepare meals for myself.
My seizures were violent and lasted between 2 and 3 hours. I was unable to control my body movements voluntarily. Even though I could hear, I couldn’t talk or respond to commands, couldn’t open my eyes, couldn’t swallow, had diﬃculty breathing and it felt like electric shocks were going through my whole body. During each seizure, it felt like my body didn’t belong to me. I had NO mind/body connection. While my body was convulsing, I was some place else in my mind. I had completely disconnected. I was unable to feel pain no matter how hard someone tried to get me to respond to a stimulus. I had ‘checked out’ physically and emotionally during each episode. I had no control of my body. I could’t make the jerking stop. While each seizure felt like a release, there was never any relief.
The real challenge came when it was time for discharge. It was recommended that I go to a psychiatric hospital as there were few options of qualiﬁed professionals that knew how to treat PNES. Most of the people in my world (family, friends AND my primary care physician) never heard of CD/PNES. Finding someone to treat me was a long process. Then Dr Afra Moenter came into my life. After several Skype sessions with Afra, I ﬂew out to meet with her and start the hardest journey of my life. She told me that the easier part of PNES is getting the seizures to lessen in duration and frequency (and she was so right!) However, I was beyond skeptical. I was in denial. I was scared. I felt lost. No one understood how I felt or what I was going through until I started regular sessions with Afra. She listens. She understands. She truly ‘gets it’! She helped me to acknowledge the pain that I had pushed down throughout my life. She has taught me to how to pay attention to my body. She has taught me how to keep breathing when I start feeling stressed. She has taught me to be kind to myself. She has a unique way of listening to my issues. She has helped me get to the core eﬀectively with empathy and compassion.
I continue to work with Dr. Moenter. She is my ‘lifeline’. I know that she is there to help, support and guide when needed. I no longer feel the need to be ‘comfortably numb’. I no longer feel like I am sleepwalking through my life. I am able to deﬁne and acknowledge my threshold of tolerance. I am learning to let the thoughts that tend to ‘activate’ me, pass through while remembering to be kind to myself. I have come to understand that the ‘body keeps the score’.
Seizures ripped through my world when I was 18, in my first month of college. From doctor to doctor, I was first misdiagnosed with epilepsy. I was diagnosed with PNES 8 months later. The seizures were off and on for 8 years. I had up to 15 a week, lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes each. That wasn’t even the full extent- the seizures were accompanied by paralysis, loss of speech, blurred vision, back spasms, and cloudy thinking. Going to work became torture. Driving was out of the picture. I avoided friends and family, because I didn’t know when I would cry, scream, or fall into an episode. When the seizures returned in 2015, I was beyond distraught. I was desperate to work with someone who had even heard of PNES. Finding someone who knew how to treat it didn’t even cross my mind until I found Dr. Moenter.
I remember walking into her office on the first day- I had a seizure on the plane that morning, and another was starting when our session began. We spent the next 90 minutes making sure that didn’t happen….I never had another seizure again after that first day. I’ll never forget what she said to me. “You never have to have another seizure again.”
Dr. Moenter taught me to calm my physical self, be compassionate to myself, and not suppress my emotions. We did meditations. She taught my me about why they were happening. She empowered me to be happy. Truly happy. Working with Dr. Moenter was a great experience. Not only did she share her knowledge of PNES with me very patiently as I asked over and over, but she was so compassionate. When I had angry days, she would stay firm but could always see my pain lurking under the anger. She makes herself available to her patients. I wasn’t just a number to her- I was a hurting person whom she truly sought out to help. I always felt that she had my best interests at her heart- how much she cared was so obvious in every interaction. For someone as lost and as in pain as I was, how Dr. Moenter developed her relationship with me is likely a good chunk of why I even ever decided to start listening to her sage advice.
I now live a seizure free life. I changed careers for a job better suited to my newly discovered self and LOVE going to work. I’m no longer afraid to drive. Not only have I reconnected with old friends, but made new ones. (And managing relationships isn’t an exhausting chore anymore!) While I still have the occasional bad day of anxiety or low-level activity, I feel lighter, happier, and more myself than I have in well over a decade. It feels like a miracle to love myself and my life again. This program changes lives.
I had my first seizure in September of 2015 and was fortunate enough to get diagnosed in November of the same year. The diagnosis and explanation of it was about the shortest you could ask for. The doctor walked into the room and told me I had “pseudo seizures”, explained that they were most likely stress induced and told me he would send a psychologist in. This exchange was done in no more than two minutes. After the diagnosis, the seizures would continue to invade my life for the next two years. It left me unable to hold a job, I could no longer drive, social obligations were difficult to keep, and it strained my marriage. My seizures varied a bit in how they would present themselves.
Typically, I would lose the ability to walk, talk, see, and most other movements as well. They almost always showed up in clusters, it was never just one seizure and I was done. I could have a set of three, which was common, or I could have up to 16 in a week. They could last anywhere from 25 minutes to 5 and a half hours per seizure. I was never injured from them, but the level of exhaustion and pain that your body is in afterwards lasts for days. After a couple unsuccessful years of different doctors, therapists, medications and treatments I finally came across Dr. Moenter online and decided to contact her. I was so impressed with the fact that she scheduled a time to call me simply to answer questions about her work and what I could expect. From then we began doing weekly Skype sessions.
From my very first Skype session with Dr. Moenter, I already knew that I was committed to working with her and working towards seeing her in Colorado for treatment in person. She is not only highly educated and extremely intuitive but she also has a very clear understanding of PNES. After the first session with Dr. Moenter in person, I knew I was in the right hands and I knew progress was going to be made. No matter how little or how much progress was made, it was going to be worth it. She taught me how to breath to calm myself. She showed me how to pay attention to my body so I could feel the precursors to a seizure before it ever started. For the first time in 2 years, I feel like I can really start preparing for my future without worrying that I will never be able to do the things I want to do most. My last seizure was on September 4th, my first session with Dr. Moenter was September 6th, and I am happy beyond words to say that I haven’t had a single seizure since!!
As of today, I am one year seizure free! Not only that but I am off of my medications, I am driving again, waking up without worrying if I will have a seizure, and making plans with friends and family again. I am learning to understand and be true to myself, to be comfortable with emotions, and to stop holding myself back. My day to day anxiety has been so much more manageable with the tools that Dr. Moenter has given me to work with as well.
One thing that I love about working with Dr. Moenter is how open and available she makes herself to you. She is genuinely concerned about her patients and truly improving their quality of life. She is fully present in your sessions and focused on nothing but you and doing everything she can to teach you the skills you need to live a seizure-free life. I have even had times come up early on working with Dr. Moenter, where I was panicking about a job I had and she worked with me to remain calm via text and I made it through just fine. I thought that if it was even possible it would take me years to get my life back and my seizures under control. With Dr. Moenter it was a matter of weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I had seizures for a year and a half before I was diagnosed with PNES. My first seizure happened to me when I was 23 years old, on a regular night after work. I assumed I had the seizure because I was exhausted from working three jobs. However, I continued to have seizures several times a week the following months and was soon diagnosed with Epilepsy. I found this odd to be diagnosed in my early twenties but was happy to at least have an explanation. When medications were not helping and my seizure activity continued to increase, my neurologist referred me to a specialist who then diagnosed me with PNES. (I feel fortunate that I was diagnosed relatively early on).
At this point, I had already quit working because of my seizures. I was constantly exhausted—physically, emotionally, and mentally. I could not drive and I couldn’t focus because I was having seizures every day that would last up to 15 minutes. I never felt fully alive to be honest. Before I met Dr. Afra Moenter, I felt so angry that everything in my life at that point was still connected to a past trauma. I felt ashamed and weak and the last thing I wanted to do was have someone judge me about all of this. However, I never felt pressured or judged by Dr. Moenter and from the very first session I felt safe to express all of my thoughts and feelings.
Dr. Moenter taught me helpful ways to remain grounded when triggered (I doubted these at first but they have been keeping me seizure free!) and helped me find a daily meditation that gave me strength and courage. I had never felt connected to anyone or anything and I had been carrying the weight of my trauma with me for as long as I could remember. Dr. Moenter patiently listened to me and helped me talk through my most painful memories. I had never had anyone listen to me like Dr. Moenter before and offer such positive and truthful insight. Before I met Dr. Moenter I felt hopeless about the rest of my life and thought that I could never recover from my trauma or my seizures but am blown away at how different I feel today.
I have been seizure free for 10 months and I have found a job where I am able to contribute without overwhelming myself. I have learned how to breathe properly, how to create boundaries for myself, and how to listen to my body. I still struggle with memories from my trauma, but I can now handle them thanks to these techniques that I have learned. Overall, I feel like Dr. Moenter gave me my life back and I will forever be grateful for this.
Before my seizures, my life was pretty normal. I was working in the music and fashion industry. I was trying to balance my life stresses and thought that putting all my feeling down and moving on was the best choice. Obviously I was wrong. I was a pretty happy person on the outside, but on the inside it kept building and finally exploded with these seizures. First, doctors thought it was migraines until my sister and my boyfriend witnessed it firsthand. I was admitted in the hospital for about 2 weeks.
I had never remembered my seizures or experiences. So when I had become conscious, it was hard to remember where I was or who I was. My parents had to fly out from Pittsburgh and everyone was scared in the process because none of us knew what was going on. Being only 25 years old and really healthy, I thought I was avoiding these health issues. Finally, after EEG’s, CT’s, and MRI’s, I was diagnosed with PNES. No one in my family heard or knew anyone who had this disorder. After my diagnoses, my life completely went in a different direction. The guilt, anxiety, depression, and all of my past traumas came up to the surface. The saying “when it rains it pours” defines these moments in my life. I never felt so low, lost, and vulnerable in my whole life.
I went from being so independent to completely dependent. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t be alone, and really you sacrifice so much of your every day life. I didn’t know how long I was going to have this for or how I was going to get better. I was having 3-6 seizures a day and they were pretty violent. I don’t remember them at all but they happened at the most random times. I would just remember being lost outside of my body and not knowing how to return. Again, I had felt extremely lost and defeated. My sister had to quit the job she thrived in to take care of me full time.
After I was discharged from the hospital, it was so hard to actually find the proper psychological treatment for PNES. All of the therapists that we had contacted were nervous about my seizures and would not accept me. My mom let go and let the Universe take control. She finally came across Dr. Moenter’s website and reached out immediately. I had an appointment with her in a matter of just a couple days. My family and I went in all together. I was nervous beyond belief. She pointed me out right away and knew energetically where I was. I was not fully here and she knew that. Within the first month of Dr. Moenter’s treatment, my seizures had decreased rapidly. She was always there for a text or a call outside of her office, which was so reassuring for me. My seizures went to once a day to once a week. Then by the 2nd month of twice a week therapy, my seizures were gone. I really do feel like I am starting to get control back and learning who I am. Since I use to have no control over my body, we used grounding tactics and the feelings of what is happening in your body. We learned the triggers and the pre symptoms of these episodes.
Being conscious of my body, mind, and the contact with the Earth helped me learn more about myself. It gave me power to not go into these episodes but to stop them. My seizures were an indication of my soul leaving. That was a hard thing to fully comprehend and was not an easy journey. After you are seizure free, you feel more in control and more powerful within yourself. It helps me deal with the feeling and situations happening around me. I know that no matter what, this PNES will not defeat me, but help me learn who I truly am. In the current therapy now with Dr. Moenter, we are really diving deep into the trauma work to heal and to feel empowered again. I still am healing. I still have work to do, but Dr. Moenter showed me how to be seizure free.
I have been seizure free since May 26th 2018. Dr. Moenter is literally my mother willow. She is so approachable, available, and truly cares about you and your well being. She has brought me so much knowledge, peace, and calmness back into my life. She is giving so many tactics in order to handle the stresses and challenges that are happening and to handle future ones. We have a strong and beautiful relationship. I highly recommend Dr. Afra Moenter for your treatment.
I lived a life with minimal health issues until I had a seizure at work one afternoon. I didn’t know it was a seizure until I headed to the emergency room that evening. After traumatic diagnosis of brain tumors, quick surgery a grand mal seizure immediately after surgery and one a few months later, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had many seizures that seemed to hold me prisoner. I couldn’t sleep, they happened at work making me feel self-conscience and often caused me to be unable to drive. I entered Epilepsy monitoring units, did at home EEG sleep studies, but still, a diagnosis of epilepsy could no longer be confirmed due to the volume and types of seizures I was having.
Finally, I was diagnosed with PNES. This diagnosis caused a great deal of concern and after doing research on the internet, I was very uncomfortable with how I was being viewed. I was very hesitant to see a therapist as, for me, I was brought up as thinking seeking this type of help is a sign of weakness. As well, will all I had read regarding PNES, I had begun to think I was the cause of my seizures and if I caused them, maybe I could just fix things myself. I realized this was bigger than anything I had taken on before and I needed help. My first visit, I was very uncomfortable but Dr. Moenter learned where my comfort level was and found ways to earn my trust. In my first month, I learned how to be comfortable within myself and realize it was possible not to blame myself for the situation I was in. One of the key techniques I learned is how to feel when a seizure is coming and how to counter the feeling with relaxation. This has helped with seizures that occur when I am awake and also ones that occur when sleeping.
Today, although I cannot say I am seizure free, I used to average 30 – 40 seizures a month, I now have 3 or 4 seizures in 6 months. It is such a welcome improvement and I am very grateful. I have started a new job and have not been on driving restrictions for at least 6 months. Although I still have the worry of when a seizure may occur, it is not with the same frequency that I feared before and that has helped me live a much more productive life.
Dr. Moenter is a very caring and compassionate individual. She took time to understand my needs and gently pushed/guided me along paths I needed to travel to gain a deeper knowledge of my new life. Dr. Moenter has a keen intuition into a person’s inner being, able to key in on the slightest physical changes as we talk to note when something is happening within me. I have appreciated experiencing a personal aspect to our relationship while understanding there is a professional standard that must be maintained. This has helped to build my trust along the way which is difficult for me based on my background.
After a traumatic brain injury I started having seizures. Once the grand mal seizures stopped, due to medication, I was continuing to have activity I couldn’t explain. My symptoms terrified me by taking my breath away in gasps, feeling a bone crushing sensation, and making me feel like I was shaking when I wasn’t. I stopped driving for over a year and found it very hard to be social, because I didn’t want to describe to others what I was going through. I went over a year, having these attacks at minimum five times a day, before being diagnosed with PNES.
The same day I was informed of PNES was when I learned about Dr. Moenter’s service. The first session we had together I spent the whole time crying, because in my time being diagnosed I had never met someone who could relate when I described my body aches, but also said I could live a full life with it. She said I would drive again, and I am now. She taught me how to listen to my body to keep my activity at bay. I learned how often my body was responding to things I wasn’t addressing in my personal life.
Today I am over a year and-a-half seizure free. Although I still have some symptoms of PNES, I can mitigate them and predict their arrival, because I’ve learned my triggers. I can drive, which I thought was an unattainable goal when I started therapy a year ago. I also now have the tools to explain my activity to others, and be at peace with the boundaries I’ve set to maintain my body’s ease.
Something I didn’t realize would be a part of the healing process, that was greatly aided by Dr. Moenter, was recognizing the role of self love. To consider epilepsy as a separate part of myself, a part that I could hate, wasn’t conducive to moving forward. I had to learn to love it as a part of me, and respect it like any other part of me. Dr. Moenter has provided me with good emotional education, and has shown how that applies to seizure triggers. I feel comfortable talking about personal issues that don’t just involve seizure activity. She impacted my life way more than I ever expected when we started working together. I would certainly not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.
Before I met Dr. Moenter, I had seizures multiple times a day for six months. I don’t remember those months very well, but what I do remember is being worried and embarrassed. I couldn’t go to class alone; my aunts and uncles were nervous to leave me alone with their kids. Everyone was looking at me like I was going to break all the time. My boyfriend wouldn’t even leave me alone in the shower (for good reason); my life was melting away. I didn’t understand why my body was doing this. I knew from a Neurologist I saw in the ER they weren’t normal seizures. They weren’t seen on an EEG, so I couldn’t understand how they were real. I couldn’t see how it was ever going to get better, if they aren’t “normal seizures” and I can’t get medication, how can I get better? It was my second year in college and I hadn’t fully finished a semester yet due to stress, and now, I didn’t believe I was ever going got be able to.
Once I met Dr. Moenter she explained to me what they were. What I remember from our first meeting is her getting in my bubble of personal space. I was about to have a seizure and she “distracted” me so I didn’t. That moment I realized that these were something I was actually going to fix. It didn’t take too long for the seizures to start to diminish. I meet with her now at least once a week. I finally made it through a semester of college. I realized they stemmed from something deeper, and she has been helping me work through things I have been hanging on to a long time. It has been 8 months now since the last time I have had a seizure, and I have noticed more and more changes every day. Dr. Moenter is easy to talk to. She has a way of calming me down, and stop these long stories of “what ifs” that play in my head. She makes me laugh, and helps me see things for what they are. I have a hard time pulling real issues away from small problems. Dr. Moenter has a way to communicate these things with me. She knows when to tell me things straight up, or quiet my thoughts till I get there.
In the Spring of 2016, I began having severe seizures. For a year and a half, I was bouncing between doctors with no diagnosis and no answers to why I was having seizures. After undergoing a week long EEG with no seizure activity, a diagnosis was inconclusive. In high school, I would have an episode in class about every other week. My ERT team would be called, along with paramedics. People soon began to recognize me as ‘the girl who has seizures’. But once college came around, I was having multiple episodes a day. It got so bad that my family and I made the decision for me to move home and get some help for my episodes. Around the time that I discovered what PNES was, I also came across Dr. Moenter.
Upon meeting her for the first time, I was astounded that someone was finally able to understand what I was going through. Dr. Moenter sees you as who you are, not as a statistic, and I believe that is just one of the several things that sets her apart from others. Dr. Moenter has shown me how to forgive myself, not be ashamed, how to look after myself, and has helped me grow as a person. Most importantly, she has helped and supported me to being one year seizure free. I am living a completely different life now, and it is all thanks to Dr. Moenter.
Boulder Center For NeuroHealth – Support for Individuals Diagnosed with Epilepsy and/or Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)
Call us (303) 258 1116