“Heatwave & Anxiety” What’s The Common Thread?

08/15/2012

By Howard Lovely Jr

Recently much of the United States has been and continues to be,…in a heat wave for the 60 – 90 days. This warmth in small metered amounts is great for plants animals and humans; however, in massive continuous doses,…the same environmental stress can cause damage of all sorts such as stunted plant growth, medical emergencies with humans and drought. For example,… in my own garden I have yellow crook-neck squash planted along with a few other heat tolerant summertime favorites such as eggplant and pole beans. My kentucky-wonder pole beans only climbed half way up the fence, many died and none have produced beans at this time wich is peak season in my garden,…this week my eggplant (Black Beauty) finally put out one “fruit” the size of a silver dollar so far and my yellow squash plant is producing 1 to 3 “fruits” per week when normally I would be over-run with 1 to 3 squash every other day. This is a simple example how stifling stress can be.

Now,..let’s imagine that what I have out-lined above is a metaphor for an anxiety disorder such as PTSD:

Human Brain = plant / muscle

Heat = anxiety / stress / event

Stifled Growth = disrupted social life, employment, family, health…etc.,..

In my life,…stress resulting in PTSD or a Complex Anxiety disorder has acted like a massive long-term “heat wave” adversely affecting my internal [brain environment]. It has stifled my ability and mobility in my social life, dating, employment,…etc.,. With plants and humans,…stress in small amounts can actually be a good experience in terms of encourage adaptation and or growth that is typically beneficial; however, extreme amounts of stress whether acute or chronic in duration can cause the opposite effect. Weight lifting is a common example. If I lift a small amount (10 pounds) of weight doing arm curls and gradually increase the weight (15, 20, 25, 30, 35 to 40 pounds) over an extended time period,…my muscles will adapt and grow stronger even though microscopically the muscle fiber is being damaged and repaired automatically by the body’s own powerful self-preservation system. Add too much weight too fast and the result can be catastrophic with a badly torn muscle that will cause limited or no use of that muscle until it heals. Sometimes plants never recover from stress. Like wise my brain structure (neurotransmitters) continue to adapt to stressful situations from the time I’m born; however,….much like the plants subjected to an excessive amount of heat due to a heat wave,…or my muscle subjected to large amounts of weight too rapidly,…the brain too,…somehow can be “torn” or “stifled” in terms of proper neurotransmitter communication ability. A “torn” brain is invisible for the most part, disruptive in every area of my life imaginable and physically & emotionally painful to say the least.

2 Responses to ““Heatwave & Anxiety” What’s The Common Thread?”

  1. Wendy B said

    Good analogy. Agreed. From what I’ve read, the amygdala (emotion processing center of the brain) area of the brain is what is theorized to be harmed with trauma and ongoing stress, not the neurotransmitters. Curious what you’ve learned about neurotransmitters being affected.

    Howard, you have done *so much* to overcome this. I hope you can find the relief you seek!!

  2. Hey Wendy,….

    Yes I agree with you Wendy and it is a complex neurological dynamic that takes place as I understand it from a lay person stand point.

    There are two sides to the brain and an area between them called the Amigdala (check spelling). The Amigdala is the area of the brain responsible for sending signals of danger to the muscles and central nervous system if needed,..”The Fight-Or-Flight” response that most individuals are familiar with to some degree. The right side of the brain is the creative side that accepts all incoming imformation without filtering it. The left side of the brain is more logic based and constantly communicates with the right side brain to check / sort / filter all imformation that comes in. Appearantly,… and according to neuro scientist, psychologist, Medical Doctors and psychiatrists,….acute and or chronic Trauma / Stress somehow disrupts the critical communication between the two hemipheres of the brain and thus the Amigdala continually signals a red-alert,…a sort of [tripped circuit breaker / switch] that has to be manually reset somehow,…via EMDR in my case or some other method. Apearantly the nuero transmitters form pathways / connections that are associated with this erroneous [imformation] that has been taken in and [miscommunicated] to the left side of the brain. This later part is the “damage” that I refer to in terms of neuro transmitters. It’s not truthfully “bad” neuro transmitters,…it’s more of a case of having very “good” neuro transmitter connections,…that have been formed,…based on [BAD] interpretation of in comming imformation. The good news is that it is discovered that the brain has the capability to form [new] neuro transmitter pathways,…in essence,..the brain has the capability to heal itself. Keep in mind that I’m simply attempting to explan in general and easily understandable terms,…how my life is and the effects that stress has had on me as I understand it at this time.

    Go to my resource section to locate specific research based data on any of these ideas / concepts that I have mentioned in my post.

    If you find any data that you feel will be realivant to this discussion,..please post it for all to read and gain better understanding of what is undoubtedly a very complex dynamic within the brain.

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

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