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I have been doing some research into the biology of anxiety. We're all here familiar with the cortisol spike and adrenaline, and how those biochemicals are key components of the anxiety we all feel during our recovery from antidepressant use. A friend put me on the trail of the limbic system - where these chemicals do some of their worst work. I did not know anything about the limbic system. Or why my spell-checker insists that I am spelling it wrong when I know that I am not. (Think of the spell checker as a metaphor for our damaged limbic system - it's lying to us). Here is a short definition of the limbic system: The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. Of key concern to us is the amygdala - that's where the "fight or flight" instinct is stimulated by cortisol and adrenaline. And ours are broken. Now, there is no medicine or supplement to heal the amygdala - or any other part of the limbic system (though it should be noted that the hippocampus can be stimulated by aromas, and some people have had success with aromatherapy; I myself use lavender as a calming aroma). So stop looking for a magic bullet solution. However, the amygdala can be "healed" - along with the rest of the limbic system. And the way to heal it is to remind it of your good memories and form new good memories through experiences. It sounds simplistic. It almost smacks of "fake it until you make it." But I have been putting this into practice, and I am in my first real window of recovery. The way I did it was by contacting old friends and asking them to write me emails filled with the good times of our youth, of the times where the notion of "anxious" could never be applied to me. Where I was a hopeful, outgoing, fun person. In other words - the time before I ever took one psych-med. I have added to that the practice of not avoiding doing things with friends and family. I go out, I engage, and a float through the anxiety if it comes (thank you, Dr. Claire Weekes - go get one of her books now!). I will leave things there for now and end with links to some of the articles I read that put me on this path: https://www.unlearninganxiety.com/amygdala https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-to-help-depression-by-healing-your-limbic-system/ Be well. Live. Make new memories. SJ
mammaP posted a topic in Symptoms and self-careI came across this site today and it is very interesting. How writing about feelings is as good as talking. People who talk about traumas and grief recover faster than those who keep it inside, and writing can be a good outlet too. http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/11/how-to-deal-with-anxiety/?utm_source=%22Barking+Up+The+Wrong+Tree
ChessieCat posted a topic in Symptoms and self-care. Journalling can be therapeutic and also an excellent way of getting your thoughts out of your head. Sometimes our thoughts just seem to go around like a merry-go-round and we can't seem to stop them. At other times we are trying to make sense of something and have many different thoughts/memories in our mind but can't make any connection between them or put the pieces together. When we struggle to collect our thoughts in our head it can be very difficult especially if we need to make a decision about something. This is where private or therapy journalling can be helpful. You can write your thoughts on paper, type them into a document on a computer (this has the added security of being able to password protect the document), or if you use a smart phone, a journalling diary app. Journalling can also be used in addition to therapy, or combined with face to face therapy. On the web: http://www.mytherapy...com/whyjournal/ “Why Journaling Works The benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven to: Improve physical health and mental well-being Diminish symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, substance abuse, PTSD, asthma, arthritis, and many other health conditions and disorders Improve cognitive functioning Make therapy more effective Strengthen the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses Counteract many of the negative effects of stress Finally, journaling is for everyone. It just 'feels good' to write” Includes: Explanation of the science. https://en.wikipedia...Journal_therapy “Journal therapy is a type of writing therapy that focuses on the writer’s internal experiences, thoughts and feelings. Journal therapy uses reflective writing so that the writer can receive mental and emotional clarity, validate experiences and come to a deeper understanding of him or herself. Journal therapy can also be used to express difficult material or access previously inaccessible material. Like other forms of therapy, journal therapy can be used to heal a writer’s emotional or physical problems or work through a trauma, such as illness, addiction, relationship problems etc. Journal therapy can be added to therapy, or can take place in group therapy or self-directed therapy. History Effects Practice Techniques Setting” https://www.quora.co...s-of-journaling “What are the therapeutic benefits of journaling?” See: Excellent response part way down the page by Forbes Thelma (after Related Questions links) https://www.psycholo...ling-in-therapy “Therapy is more than attending a weekly appointment. It's entering into a period of introspection that can last weeks or years. The session is a time where many of the insights and observations happen, but it need not be limited to that hour. In fact, for the best results, it shouldn't (research validating this here). Clients are allowed introspect all they want between sessions, and writing is a great way to focus and articulate their thoughts and feelings.” Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for the cartoon! http://www.goodthera...journal-therapy “Journal therapy, also referred to as journal writing therapy or simply writing therapy, involves the therapeutic use of journaling exercises and prompts to bring about awareness and improve mental health conditions as a result of inner and outer conflicts. According to the Center for Journal Therapy, it is the “the purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to further mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.” Though there are few professionals who specialize solely in journal therapy, many psychotherapists incorporate therapeutic journal writing into their treatment.” Includes: What Is the Difference between Journal Therapy and Keeping a Journal? How Does Journal Therapy Work? Journal Therapy Exercises and Prompts Tips for Therapeutic Journal Writing Limitations of Journal Therapy Research and Studies Related to Journal Therapy https://www.urmc.roc...&ContentID=4552 Includes: Journaling for Mental Health Journaling Benefits Journaling How-To http://lifehacker.co...ours-1547057185 “Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you don't think you need either, keeping a journal has great benefits you can enjoy immediately. Here's why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts. Even if you don't think there'll ever be a documentary that uses your journal for flavor commentary, there are plenty of reasons to keep one for yourself. Maybe you want to leave something behind for your children that tells your story and what you accomplished. Maybe you're more practical, and want a way to harness your creativity. Maybe you just want the cathartic release that comes with regular writing. Whatever it is, these are all great reasons. Let's look at each one, and why they matter so much.” Includes: Regular Writing has Mental Health Benefits (includes links within to other information) Keeping a Journal Helps Harness Your Creativity Even If You Don't Do Creative Work, Regular Writing Has Practical Benefits Which Medium You Should Choose, and Why (includes Journaling and Diary Apps; Blogging) The Health Benefits of Journaling - Psych Central