I'm firing my amygdala…!

When you live with depression and anxiety there are times when everything just gets too much.

It’s true, the past few months have been pretty tough for me personally. The reasons behind it are a long and complicated so I’ll spare you the details because in truth, the reasons are irrelevant.

So it’s with much distress I confess that for a time my body has been betraying me in an attempt to render me useless. To rob me of the knowledge that I am a capable and confident woman. Yep, for weeks I’ve cried rivers of tears, worried about things that are unlikely to ever happen (and some things that might) and in general, became emotionally incapacitated.

It seemed that years of managing my illness simply fell away as the chemical activity in my body, combined with events that promote the production of stress chemicals, overwhelmed me and I fell into the proverbial heap.

Mr Wonderful, because he cares for me, had a few things to say that he believed needed to be said. Things that of course, to anyone capable of dealing with the amount of stress I was under, would be sensible suggestions.   Things that, to anyone capable of outsmarting an illness, would result in an instant cure.

Sadly, Mr Wonderful’s suggestions only added to the self- recrimination dialog that had been switched to auto play in my head.

If you ask me at any reasonable time what type of person I am, I’m able to list my virtues and achievements with an amount of confidence and self-belief that borders on arrogance. But more recently, as the severity of my illness increased I became less capable of applying logic to my circumstances. Making even simple demands of me was like opening a shaken can of soft drink without warning. It uncontrollably effervesced feelings of worthlessness and guilt until it ran out of energy having soaked everything around me and leaving a sticky residue.

So inside my head was a sticky chemical mess mixed with unhelpful thoughts and overwhelming negative emotions. It made what should be positive and helpful suggestions impossible to process in thoughtful and rational ways.  It’s not that I don’t know what I need to do or what needs to be done; after all, my illness doesn’t make me stupid. It’s that at times I do not seem to have the capacity to process these thoughts without them being hijacked by my amygdala. It makes every thought, even those meant to engender feeling good, another thing to worry about.

So as I work my way out of my cortisol fuelled dilemma I wonder why I’m not smart enough to stop this from happening. I torment myself with judgments handed down to ensure I receive the maximum penalty for the ‘crimes’ of weakness and stupidity. And then I wonder; if I can forgive Mr Wonderful for failing to recognise the futility of rational thought during these times, why can’t I forgive myself?

From Peter Diamandis: Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.

If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety. To contact Deb click here.

Read more of Deb’s BLOGs about living with depression and anxiety click here.

If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor.

(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)

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