This year has been a roller coaster on so many levels and fields beyond understanding. It has been an overwhelming year for every human and business out there. We are no different in that. What does make us different is that we have been able to navigate and re-organize our priorities and our resources. Ask ourselves some hard questions and execute some hard decisions.
One of the things we can do is provide you with information and continue the conversation about mental and emotional health as we have been doing. It may not be as often as we would like to and as fast as we would want to due to the constraints we are facing as well but that does not mean we cannot do something.
Part of our mission in PHInc., is to communicate and educate through that communication. We have been able to maintain that through our blogs, Creative Project Initiative and now our podcast/videocast series. We hope to increase our communication with you as we recover from the impacts of 2020 and begin to execute the things we can control and create with the resources we have. Humans are the greatest resource to have and because of them we have been able to continue with our mission and accomplish our goals. The smallest accomplishments lead to the greatest victories.
October is Emotional Health Awareness Month and to be honest, I was not aware of it until recently. One of the greatest lessons in my own personal journey as human in this project of self evolution, discovery and comprehension is the strength the connection between our mind, emotions and our physical body in the deepest parts of our subconscious play a role on our everyday existence. Emotions are something we are just now beginning to have an open idea to discussing. Emotions are valid and have to be treated as such. My own journey proves it.
Researchers now realize that emotional literacy helps to prevent and solve myriad problems that we experience in our personal and professional lives.(5)
For years, I struggled to understand why I was in such emotional pain and why I could physically feel it. My mind could not process it because there were no memories of trauma in the mind. The mind would search for hours and hours at a time, sometimes days, fixated on a why, because my heart hurt so much. Literally, my heart hurt so much. I did not know why nor how to stop it. In therapy, the techniques learned helped in the smallest of ways that now led to the victories I am claiming in my emotions.
As I write this, I realize a connection to something a therapist said to me a long time ago as I sat in her office, uncontrollably unstable in my emotions, " You have a disconnection in your brain where only one part of it fires at a time." She mentioned, limbic system and cortex and so many big words I did not understand. I honestly could not connect. I can't remember much else from the sessions but I remember when she said that for one moment I felt like there was hope and it was not necessarily me that was crazy. I hung on to that hope and today I made the connection in my brain between the spots that were disconnected. I created new pathways in my brain because the brain is capable of anything. I could not face my emotional trauma of life because I have no connection to it in my mind. My memories are repressed and may or may not ever come back and that is something I have to accept on the emotional level of what I have truly lost. Once I began forming the connections and filling in some missing pieces in my life, I fell in love with studying the brain, psychology and emotional intelligence.
I want to share with you what I have learned how I connected some dots as to why I behave and respond in some of the manners I do and how it has confirmed my own self study over the last 3 years that I am so excited to scan my brain and find out what in the world is there. Knowing everything I know now about my trauma, the damage the brain can sustain through any type of trauma shows me yet again we need more focus on the brain and more access to the resources that provide the necessary tests and care for those who need education and resources, like I needed. I chose to pursue the knowledge for me, even if it has taken over a decade to get here.
Reminder, we are not medical professionals. We are humans sharing our experiences and what we have learned through our own journeys in mental and emotional health.
The limbic system is a brain area, located between the brain stem and the two cerebral hemispheres, that governs emotion and memory. It includes the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. (1)
Limbic system was mentioned to me in therapy when I was told about my disconnections and dissociations. I emotionally removed myself from any and all bad situations that were happening to me in my childhood by closing my eyes and removing myself from the situation within my mind and body. I dissociated from reality during my development stage as a child. I functioned on the Old Brain designated for survival. The brain stem is the oldest and innermost region of the brain.
The old brain control the most basic functions of life, including breathing, attention, and motor responses. (2)
I shut off my connection to the upper part of my brain as a child, the limbic system and survived on the basic functions.
Whereas the primary function of the brain stem is to regulate the most basic aspects of life, including motor functions, the limbic system is largely responsible for memory and emotions, including our responses to reward and punishment. (2a)
When I came to America, I was 11 years old, and six years of unknown trauma and experiences. I began displaying signs of Complex PTSD and I believe I can pinpoint to the moment I was triggered. I can recognize it was the separation in an unknown enviorment at 11 in summer camp that triggered a body and emotional response I could not process nor handle. My mind shut down. Disconnection and dissociation. I do not have much of a memory of that summer camp because of that one moment of recognition of separation. I did not want to remember being separated so I shut off the parts of my brain that would allow me to remember.
Over the years many more moments caused me to recognized triggers and many more things made sense in which I could begin the process of building NEW pathways in my brain and maybe sparking up some old ones.
The amygdala which consists of two “almond-shaped” clusters (amygdala comes from the Latin word for “almond”) and is primarily responsible