Friday, November 20, 2009

Late night reading

So, I can't settle tonight. Have been using a range of distractive techniques and relaxation to try and calm myself down, but to little avail. So I have ramped it up a notch, I try and go and find something to read either online or from the bookshelf, that really makes my brain work hard, or I try and do the advanced Kakuro puzzles, or watch a documentary on the Discovery channel. Anything that will make my brain work so hard, that there isn't much space for the voices that are shouting inside my head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, I just can't block it out enough to concentrate. Tonight I have been reading Science Blogs online. I find neurology a particularly fascinating subject because of a) my mentalness and b) my epilepsy. The universe inside our heads still has so much unexplored and unexplained terrain. We make leaps of logic and faith when it comes to treating neurological disorders with medication, because we quite simply often don't know exactly why the treatment may work, just that it may.

I can look at my mentalness from a psychosocial perspective (which I am through therapy) and realise that the manifestations of my PTSD are quite logical. If the world has proven to consistently be filled with people who violate your trust, you find it hard to trust and relate interpersonally. If your world has previously been chaotic, unpredictable and filled with painful events, you grow cautious and wary even when there is no immediate sign of danger. If sleep has been a time, where consistently you have been violated either physically or metaphorically through nightmares, your body and mind are going to fight sleep. Its logical, and makes sense.

But then if you look at it from a purely scientific point of view it gets a lot more complex.
Fear arousal, initiated by an environmental threat, leads to activation of the stress response, a state of alarm that promotes an array of autonomic and endocrine changes designed to aid self-preservation. The stress response includes the release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex and catecholamines from the adrenal medulla and sympathetic nerves. These stress hormones, in turn, provide feedback to the brain and influence neural structures that control emotion and cognition
When the fear arousal activation is consistent and prolonged enough, all these hormones that have flooded the brain begin to make structural and procedural changes to the functioning of the brain itself.

It begins to affect the very neural mechanisms underlying the acquisition, expression, consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction of emotional memories
And it is somewhat comforting to then read articles such as this

To know that we are continuing to move towards a world with technology that allows us to better understand exactly what happens in the brain of someone with CPTSD, that we may be better able to understand and develop effective treatments. Just as the invention of the EEG, allowed those of us with epilepsy to move from the shadows of 'demonic possession' and 'madness', to a clearly definable and treatable physical malfunction.

I probably don't explain or understand the science that well. But reading articles like these a) helps to engage my brain in a way that goes some way to blocking the horrible recurrent thoughts in my head for a while and b) even if I don't fully understand it, gives me hope, that despite being a dunce student when it comes to the interventions thus far, that there might actually be something on the horizon that can help me.

Anyways, I'm off to watch a documentary on the parrallels between Ancient Mayan and Egyption civilisations.... yet another realm of unexplained phenonenom...not holding much hope for sleep tonight.     

1 comment:

  1. I read somewhere that a lot of famous people have had trouble sleeping. Anyway, you seem very lucid, rational, and intelligent to me. The main thing is to just keep working on whatever you are trying to achieve..