The mind switches gears



How do you change a child’s mind that scoured every situation searching for danger, a chance of failure, possibly being humiliated or the annihilation of the “Ego”.

The original abuse caused this reaction: it’s called adrenal stress response, fight or flight mechanism or pure fear.

The mind switches gears, secretes opioids, coagulants, cortisol, and adrenaline. The executive functioning left prefrontal cortex fades, we experience tunnel vision, lose fine motor skills, along with the fear of death or serious injury, making this an anxious, confusing experience.

This is Survival mode.

This is how we react to the original abuse. Then PTSD brings emotional danger via our triggers to mirror the original traumatic experience. It’s abstract and irrational but we avoid and run like hell at first.

All this happens before thought, it is a right brain mechanism, that springs from the amygdala, our defense organ of the brain.

If someone placed an empty box over our head, then suddenly removed it, a funny thing happens.

Our right amygdala engages immediately, our defense mechanism overrides the normal function of the mind. It takes five seconds for the left hemisphere, our cognitive side to engage.

That’s five seconds of my mind searching for danger before I am even aware of it. That’s if I react immediately.

I am much better at this now, but it remains a problem area for me.

This is a balancing act for us when PTSD is active. I have a small social life but avoid crowds and situations that are sensitive to my triggers.

I went through the early phase of healing where I went to every scary place. It started out as Exposure Therapy, then developed into integration.

As a kid I was an expert at sensing danger, then added 50 more years of practice, the result is a habit that seems natural and useful.

Man, look what just came out of my mouth. Natural and useful.

I have my doubts if therapy can rewire serious childhood abuse.

Improvement is possible, a wide range, rewarding, total healing, I would love to read and witness that feat.

This is our journey, knowing what we face has helped me improve.



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