• Tag Archives neuro-science
  • Understanding the Anxious Mind

    Fall                                     Waning Blood Moon

    Finally, a city criteria list worth paying attention to:  The Daily Beast has ranked America’s Smartest Cities.  The Twin Cities come in 4th after, in order, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco and Boston.  Denver is 5th.  Las Vegas and Fresno, California bring up the rear at 54th and 55th.  It’s an interesting read.

    Kate’s surgery happens on October 19th and the surgeon requires that she stop taking her nsaid.  That means she has less pain control on board so her pain level has begun to ramp up.  This is only the first day without it.  Ouch.  We’ve also begun to reconnoiter what changes we’ll have to make in the house for her recovery period.  Move a comfy chair in front of the TV in place of the couch.  Things like that.thedress625

    Kate’s sewing a lot.  She’s finished a butterfly costume complete with antennas and wings as well as a purple jumper for granddaughter Ruth.  She wants to get all this stuff done before she’s post-op.

    If you have an anxious bone in your body, well, better, if you have an anxiety prone amygdala, then reading this article might interest you:  The Anxious Mind.  It recounts the work of Jerome Kagan who established the genetic imprint on reactivity.  His work undergirded the notion of a fixed temperament.

    As a high reactive myself, I found the notion of a genetic imprint for anxiety strangely liberating.  It made me feel that my state was not a character flaw, but part of the package.  The article makes all the nuancing you might want related to nurture, triggers and coping skills, but the clear fact remains that people like me are the way we are because we have a hypervigilant amygdala.

    When I finish sermons a week ahead of time,  investigate the costs of medicare drug and health care plans now, a year or two early, and plan my tours at least a week in advance, I display a learned strategy for managing my anxiety.  That’s why I’m not good in a crisis or under a crushing deadline.  I need time to prepare, to think things through.  I bring sufficient pressure to bear on myself.  I don’t need external stimuli.

    After I got done reading this article and realizing that I was on one end of the bell curve–again, I began to wonder–again–what it must be like to have a normal, stable reaction to the work, a calm feeling in the pit of your stomach instead of a roiling mess.

    It also became clear to me that I had a trigger that moved my anxiety from genetic inheritance to personality dilemma.  When my mother died, I was 17 years old.  My brain had not finished maturing.  It took years for me to integrate the confusion and insecurity that her sudden death created.

    Even though previous analysis has surfaced some of this before, this particular slant, a genetic proclivity, is new to me.  It helps.