The brain is the most fascinating part of the body. Learning everyday and uncovering more and more about the brain is very exciting! We continue to learn and break down the magnificent part of our body that keeps us alive with us understanding how this happens. One part of the brain that assist us and keeps us safe is the amygdala, the fight, flight, freeze, or fold mechanism in the brain. The amygdala is one of two clusters that is the shape of a walnut, that sits behind the ears. This cluster processes memories, decision making, and emotional responses. The function of the amygdala is perceiving and processing emotions. When we have a traumatic event, the amygdala will hold the information and will not process it. When an event occurs, it isn’t the event that causes the trauma, it’s the emotional response that occurs. When we attach a negative emotion to an event, it will spin in the amygdala until the brain learns a new tool to disconnect the emotion from the event so the information can be processed and placed in the limbic system of the brain where it belongs. Basically, the light switch stays on, presenting itself in uncomfortable ways.
These presentations come out in hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts. This is extremely disruptive with our daily schedules and trying to associate with others. Many people struggle with trauma and negative emotions. From the ages of 0-7, we record everything we see and hear, we even model others as we assume this is how we are meant to behave. Most emotions occur and originate in this developmental stage. When someone has anger sitting and stirring at the ready, it can be tracked back to experiences and memories from young childhood.
Negative emotions can become overwhelming there are solutions to reduce and alleviate those negative emotions that feel as if they are going to explode. We have an experience that triggers an emotion based on an experience we had in young childhood. We expect the same outcome, and we are already prepared to react in the same way. Even though we cannot predict the future, we anticipate our response to something even though it may not be accurate. When an individual
comes home and flips the kitchen table because the meatloaf is cold, it has absolutely nothing to do with the meatloaf. It is that anger that has been stewing all day, and this was the release of that negative emotion as that individual may not have the tools to process the anger. That is what we do, developing protocols to alleviate these symptoms and plucking the root of the issue at its core. If you’re struggling with trauma or negative emotions, please reach out!!!
Dr. Royster. LMHC, LPC, BC-TMH