reply to post by poet1b
Mind you, the things I'm noticing in her body language would probably be less noticeable if she weren't talking about her trauma. That she can still
muster so much energy, retain such composure, and mindfully regulate her information flow, just goes to show how incredible she is - and how
incredible all human beings are.
How do you do this? Ten push ups a day?
Essentially. 10 push ups, as well as 10 pull ups a day, strengthens connections between anterior orbitofrontal areas and the insula (aka the emotional
Nope, you need to increase your awareness of both top-down and down-up informational flow. This means, understanding why you experienced trauma
(top-down), understanding that it is a simple mammalian response to danger; that it is nothing to be ashamed about - most people in a similar context
subjected to the same stressors over such a long period of time would have responded in the same way. IT IS AUTOMATIC.
Just today, for instance, I was walking my dog by the lake. The lake is frozen over, but Maggie (my dog) as she walked passed the lake, instinctively
knew she had to stop. Why? Do you think she "consciously" thought about it? No. Evolution has provided animals with automatic and unconscious ways to
handle external dangers. What happens is, Maggie is walking by the lake; her hippocampus (explicit memory) links up with her amygdala (which kicks off
emotional responses within the brain) letting her know that this frozen mass ahead is really a lakd.. Autonomic brain processes basically do things
like this without our conscious awareness all the time. If animals don't do this automatically, they'll walk into the frozen lake they should know is
frozen, fall through, drown and die. It's pretty incredible that our brains are so intelligently designed to maximize survivability.
Thus, it is important to understand the evolutionary basis for why trauma happens. An arousal fight-flight response is useful to get away from the
danger. But you cannot kick and scream forever. It hurts doing that. So, eventually, you dissociate; your brains dorsal vagal tract - which is
unmyelinated, unlike the vagal tract, which links up with the cortex - reduces energy output towards the brain; also, another area in the brainstem
called the periaquaductal grey secretes endogenous opiates, essentially "blunting connection". This whole process creates a "safe-zone" within the
mind. But by doing so, it severely restricts the minds connection to the body.
A single "shock" trauma, or a series of little traumas, can result in PTSD, where the entire HPA axis is majorly dysregulated and the dorsal vagal
tract is given priority by the autonomic nervous system as a default mode for awareness.
The entire process of healing from trauma involves mindfulness. Mindfulness strengthens orbitofrontal activity, leading to synapse growth, extra
myelination, and even neuronal growth within specific areas in the hypothalamus and hippocampus.
Becoming conscious of the physiological effects of trauma is an indispensible aspect of dealing with it. By doing so, you strengthen neuronal
connections between frontal lobe areas and brainstem (autonomic) areas. The ventral tract of the vagus, also known as the nucleus ambiguus, is
considered by neurobiologists to be the neuroevolutionary source for mammalian social activity. In trauma, this nerve becomes deemphasized while the
dorsal tract becomes activated. Thus, it is imperative that trauma survivors repeatedly activate this tract - put themselves back into society, back
into social relationships, because it is through connecting with others that we are able to strengthen cortical-autonomic connections. An additional
bonus of socializing is that it isn't a one person affair, but a dyadic back and forth flow of energy. We all know this. When you're talking to
someone who is generally happy, we become "infected" by their happiness. Trauma survivors need to take advantage of interpersonal dynamic to help
bring their nervous system under control.
This, btw, is only the tip of the ice-berg. Trauma is the newest and biggest thing in psychology. It is providing a general framework for
understanding the majority of mental illnesses, and even physiological illnesses (via it's sister field of psychoneuroimmunology) like crohns disease,
fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more.
How, you ask? Early childhood traumas affect right brain development. Because we do not develop left brain linguistic skills till 2 or 3 years old,
any trauma that happens before that time will be coded in the brain in a non-verbal form. This makes these sorts of traumas very difficult to address
In the case of fibromyalgia, researchers have postulated that tensed muscle movements during REM sleep (when we dream) cause muscle fatigue, and thus
the inflammatory aches and pains that people with fibromyalgia complain about. Why would someone tense during REM sleep? If they experienced a trauma
early in their lives, they are reexperiencing it while they dream in REM sleep. As we getter older, as we know, our muscles, bones, etc begin to
degenerate. A 50 year old body isn't as vital as a 15 year old body. Hence, fibromyalgia tends to strike older people.
edit on 29-12-2013 by
Astrocyte because: (no reason given)