Neuro Circuitry of Fear

My legs are in a bad place. That doesn't mean they've gone on holiday to a war zone without me. It means they're being flooded with 'freeze' chemicals. This has been going for days, it may even be a week now.

This is a most horrible and invisible affliction. One that's incomprehensible to those fortunate enough to have never felt such extreme anxiety. 

This fear that pulses through my legs has the potential to paralyze me like a scorpion might its prey. Right now I should be dealing with something important, but all I can do is write and try to understand this. I've not completed my tasks, apart from one load of washing. I'm avoiding doing what I should because I'm struggling to with these overwhelming physical feelings.

Occasionally it feels worse now than ever before. But that's just my perception. In the past I was unable to focus or function at all whist triggered. I couldn't write, socialize, move or engage. I could be mentally absent for weeks at a time. This is a disability. I can hear some of you laughing, a projection perhaps. Yet I struggle with judgments that come from those of you that think I should be able to snap out of this. If this were choice no one would select it for themselves.

The fear of what 'might' be robs me of the ability to act. This isn't about the reality of a situation, it's based on the belief that my life is in danger. You think that sounds crazy? Let me tell you it feels worse than it sounds. Why is this still happening to me thirty four years after I last saw my tormentor?

I can answer that now with the assistance of recent advances in neurological diagnostics. Neuro imaging of some forms of anxiety and phobias have shown heightened activation in the amygdala and the insular cortex.

Biologically when triggered I am flooded with adrenaline. Adrenaline activates the sympathetic nervous system. I can feel this adrenaline pulsing through my legs day after day, night after night. My heart rate can increase, my bladder decreases, my breathing is shallow, I am frozen like a small mammal in the path of an eighteen wheel truck, the impact is inevitable yet. 

Neurological distortions during early developmental childhood phases have robbed me of my ability to function, shine, live and love.

There is grief here, a deep sadness for a lost childhood and subsequent adulthood. Don't say it. Don't say stop feeling sorry for yourself. That's not how this works.
I'm a warrior. There is no weakness here, there is the constant struggle and never ending fight to survive an illness born of violence and scorn applied to an innocent defenseless child.

Many resources recommend relaxation practices to deal with physical reactions to trauma. Including Muscle relaxation exercises, Breathing exercises, Meditation, Swimming, stretching, yoga, Prayer. Listening to quiet music or spending time in nature.

That sounds great, but a word of caution. Not everyone will respond positively to these practices. Options for healing should be tailor made to an individual's unique circumstances. I find meditation extremely distressing, I simply don't yet have the tools to be with myself in such a quiet space.

I'm continually searching for the medicine that will help me cope a little better and find a slither of peace.

No comments: