Yesterday, I came across an article from Psychology Today that gave a great laypersons’. This is something my psychiatrist and I have been discussing at length while considering treatment options, but explaining it can be tricky with all the medical lingo that one finds in research published on the topic.
Basically, researchers have discovered that trauma faced by PTSD sufferers causes a lack of communication between the rational mind (prefrontal cortex) and the emotional center of the brain (specific portions of the limbic system). It also magnifies the fear reaction in the brain. The result for people like myself: Something startles us, and we have an immediate fear reaction, whether or not the situation calls for it. So instead of being able to rationalize–that thing I thought was a snake is just a stick–we go full-on Don Quixote and wage war against the stick.
The good news: I have a fantastic set of care providers working to help me rewire my brain. I also have a fantastic set of patient, loyal friends who haven’t abandoned me. And on the most frightening days of all, there are small pleasures to ground me in the present. (My favorite–Loose Park.)