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Posts Tagged ‘amygdala’

“Compared to bipolar’s magic, reality seems a raw deal. It’s not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it’s the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity – the realization of illness, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don’t understand, we say. They just don’t get it. They’ll never be artists.” ~ David Lovelace

Creativity does seem to feed off emotional turmoil and often in the works of great poets we can feel the soul’s pain and turmoil. In fact, heightened imaginative powers, depression, insomnia, fatigue, rapid thoughts, inflated self-esteem, panic attacks, rage and intense emotions all swim about in an ocean of ever changing moods of heightened creativity and suicidal tendencies.  It is within this ocean that brilliance is born and fed by the storms raging in many artists’ minds.

“I was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago. I recently decided to come off my meds. I’ll admit it took me a while to cope with certain situations and learn to focus and concentrate on just taking one day at a time. I’ve learned to cope through eating healthy, exercising and trying to get at least 8 hrs sleep a night. It’s no walk in the park, I’ll tell ya. I have to be very strict with myself and stick to my routines. If I’m feeling low and unmotivated I make myself exercise, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I’ve learned this removes a buildup of toxins and gets my happy chemicals moving. I take 6000 units of vitamin D daily and a 100 mgs of a B multi-vitamin twice a day. The doctor gives me injections of vitamin B12 once a month to keep my energies up. It’s very common for individuals with mood disorders to have low vitamin B levels. I also keep close contact with my doctor. I don’t think there is a cure for Bi Polar. I do however think it can be managed. For me it always comes back to quality of life or quantity of life. Everyone is different. Medication helped me when I was very unwell. I’ve learned what works for me.” (Matthew B.)

I do believe we need to find a better way of treating manic depression, rather than through high dosages of lithium and antipsychotic drugs. Even uses of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms.  As well, many people on medication for bipolar disorder have complained this kind of treatment has stifled their creative abilities.  Some famous authors suffering from manic depression have said that their suffering is a part of who they are and that without it they couldn’t create. Many turned to drugs and alcohol to counter the effects of their medication or to get relief from their symptoms. In fact people suffering from bipolar disorder are 10 times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than most other people because they turned to these substances to help counter the effects of their medication or to get other relief from their symptoms.

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts, which are located in the primitive brain (limbic system).  The limbic system focuses inward on our survival, our emotions and our nurturing needs. When you feel depressed or anxious, these feelings originate from the limbic system but involve the cortex as well, since depression diminishes our insights and judgments as well as our lack of motivation and attention.

What we think, how we feel, what we assimilate into our beings at every stage of life and at every level has a cumulative affect that directly impacts our states of being, influencing our physical hormones, genetic make-up, neural processing etc. And the condition of our states of physical being also affects our states of mind.

Environmental factors also play a significant role. For example, many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) later develop bipolar disorder. Repetitive traumas suffered throw the body into a constant state of stress and research shows that stress can induce the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. Hormones are also involved. Additional considerations involve head and/or neck injuries.

“World champion boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned for 28 days in a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 following his marriage break-up. He describes his behavior in the run up to his breakdown: ‘I got confused and snappy and impatient. I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t function. Losing my wife, seeing my kids less regularly, not eating properly, staying up late, living by myself, getting uptight, wound up, over stupid little things [ … ] It’s like a kettle. I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam out.’ “Bipolar Disorder: The Ultimate Guide ~ by Sarah Owen, Amanda Saunders

Although the brain, especially the limbic system is quite complex let’s look at specific areas that are related to our most primitive and potent emotional signals.  It has been proven that the limbic system (emotional reactions and emotional memories) can actually hijack other parts of the brain, especially when so overcome with anger, fear or passion, excitement.  You see the limbic brain jumps in when it proclaims an emergency, even before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to reason out what is happening.

“Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, ~ The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The brain responds to chemical changes, by adjusting the feelings and thoughts within the physical body. Psychologists have shown us that we can react a whole variety of ways to one single hormone—this mostly depends upon our expectations.  The parts of the brain that are involved in thought, memory and sensations are connected by direct neural pathways with emotional centers—and  with the pituitary gland that controls hormone output.  The pituitary actually suspends from the hypothalamus, which controls emotion, appetite and desire.

There does seem to be a stress loop that connects the adrenal glands, brain, hypothalamus, and pituitary together, which then flows back to the adrenals again, pushing them way out of kilter.  This stress loop also affects the other endocrine glands creating a continual cycle of stress in the body, causing bizarre mood swings, muscle tension, stiffness, eating disorders, depression, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and migraines. Too much cortisol in the blood damages our memories, our learning capabilities and our creativity.  This stress cycle will, if not corrected, eventually affect the immune system.

“If you are suddenly anxious, under threat, or furious about something, your brain via your pituitary gland tells your adrenal glands to pump up production of epinephrine, cortisol and other hormones to put your body into high alert. Once the threat goes away and you “cool off,” the adrenal glands stop their escalation of hormones. However, if your mind ruminates about the anxiety and threatening events, with such thought patterns as “It’s hopeless”; “My life is a disaster”; “things should be different!”, and “This is unfair!” your adrenal glands continue to overproduce cortisol and estrogen. This leads to your pancreas secreting more insulin, and you get symptoms of what is commonly known as “adrenal gland exhaustion.” All is Well ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Continual high adrenaline (epinephrine) levels cause the repetitive release of insulin increasing carbohydrates to convert to fat in the liver.  Weight gain and obesity add to ill effects to the endocrine system, muscle joints, and digestion, with loss energy and self esteem.  In bipolar people, this is all that is necessary to produce insulin insensitivity and, ultimately diabetes.  These are genuine threats to their health.

“A balance of thyroid hormone in the brain is crucial for maintaining mood stability. If you suffer from a deficit or an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from a dysfunctioning gland, you may even experience clear-cut mood swing disorder. Severe hypothyroidism has even been blamed for causing manic-depression, with poor judgment and hallucinations. Doctors always wonder, however, whether such patients might not have preexisting minor forms of manic-depression, which have become more severe as a result of the thyroid imbalance.

 Hyperthyroidism can also cause mood swings in a person who does not have a preexisting mood disorder. In some people, an overactive thyroid can result in an elated mood called “hypomania” or “mania” depending on whether the elation is moderate (hypomania involves no major behavioral disturbances) or severe (mania is associated with irrational behavior). In some patients, the thyroid condition may not be diagnosed until several years after the onset of the mood swing disorder that it caused  ~ The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health ~ Ridha Arem

LITHIUM AND THE BRAIN

 “Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon

The brain is what helps you to make sense of the world, taking in information from your environment and sending messages throughout your body. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are not only an essential part of our memories, they help to understand the changes happening around us.  But any change in the brain, even the subtlest change, can have a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and action.

Suppose you were given a chemical that blocked the absorption of the vitamin niacin in your central nervous system. The result would be “instant mental illness,” most likely violence, during which you might smash all the furniture, throw it out the window, then run out into the street and attack a total stranger passing by who had stopped to watch the ruckus.

“For some people, use of antidepressant drugs and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms. Research has shown that B complex deficiencies commonly occur in 80 percent of bipolar people. Also, many bipolars are anemic, with low levels of B12 and folic acid, and shown a lower uptake of inositol when compared to a control group. So orthomolecular physicians have now paired the use of lithium with the intake of daily B complex vitamins, which work synergistically with lithium. In this way, high lithium doses can be substantially reduced, thus eliminating many devastating side effects.”  ~ Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

Our blood circulates the love of life from the heart throughout our whole body.  When we are anemic, we are deficient in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide.  One of the causes of anemia in manic depressives, is excessive blood cell destruction which can be metaphysically explained as ‘losing one’s will to live. When we feel discouraged, hopeless or helpless we lose touch with our needs and desires—we feel as if we’re withering away.

“The messages we unconsciously give our bodies are thus a determining factor in our state of wellness. Messages based on failure, despair and anxiety are ones that present a negative, dying feeling and will cause the body to react by breaking down the defence mechanisms (that is, the immune system) and preparing for death. Even if our worries and fears are imaginary, the message will still translate into physical illness as our bodies feel endangered and threatened”. ~ Debbie Shapiro ~ The BodyMind Workbook 

Research at the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that bipolar people are hypersensitive to acetylcholine, a chemical that carries memory messages in the brain. They found that cholinergic receptors (the chemical hitching posts on cells that receive acetylcholine) are far more numerous in the brains of manic depressives.

(Acetycholine controls the brain’s speed, creativity, self-esteem, criticism, short-term memory, language, sensory impressions and interpretations, speech, reading and thought. It also controls all muscle contractions.)

One substance that blocks acetycholine is lithium, which we all have in low levels. It is one of the best drugs, at the moment, for treating bipolar depression.  But is it the best treatment?

Psychiatric News outlined the widespread difficulties that lithium causes in an article called “Lithium and Memory Loss.” Besides causing memory loss, the high does of lithium needed to stop manic moods are often toxic to the nervous system, causing tremors in many users. And at high levels lithium suppresses thyroid function and can cause hypothyroidism and mental confusion.

“Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side-effects.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313103922.htm

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no… and it would be an answer laced with terror.

 But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question. Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated…” ~  Kay Redfield Jamison

“Lithium, don’t want to lock me up inside.

Lithium, don’t want to forget how it feels without…

Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

Oh, but God, I want to let it go.” ~ – Lyrics from “Lithium” by band EVANESCENCE

NEUROTRANSMITTERS

A neurotransmitter is a brain chemical specifically for communication that happens between brain cells.  It’s incredible that these neurotransmitters can zigzag and flash through the mass of brain neurons at speeds of up to 150 mph carrying your every thought and feelings.  Of the 100 identified, the one’s best known are: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

Everyday our neuropeptides try to work hard to keep us functioning at a peak performance but chemicals, food colorings, sugar, trans-fats, food preservatives, traffic fumes, second hand smoke, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep slows them down.  One of the best ways to boost your dopamine is exercise, swimming, biking walking and running. Playing board games and computer games help to replenish dopamine too. Walking in nature enhances GABA, and creative writing (poems, songs) help to restore acetylcholine.  Violent movies and loud ‘hard’ music or angry words decrease the production of acetylcholine.

“[An] exciting safe substance that has a lithium-like effect on the brain is the amino acid taurine, which is a calming inhibitory neruotransmitter that naturally blocks the effect of excitatory transmitters like acetycholine. Manic depressives have very low taurine levels when measured in the lab. A taurine deficiency cuases far greater symptoms in women than mean (hypothyroid, lethargy, and depression), and bipolar disorder is twice as common in women. Science also documents hereditary depression in taurine-deficient persons. Taurine has been successfully substituted for lithium (500 mg. three times daily) and, unlike lithium has no side effects.” Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

And from another source…..

“Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient’s manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia [46]. The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body’s natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder [47]. ~ Functional Foods: The Connection Between Nutrition, Health and Food Science ~ edited by Leah Coles

THE LIMBIC BRAIN

LIMBIC SYSTEM

The main transportation of the nervous system is the brain.  It is the best organized 3 lbs of matter in the known universe.  Tens of billions of tiny nerve cells transmit electrical signals from the nerves to the brain.  And each nerve cell in the brain is connected to many other cells in the brain and is affected by them.  The whole brain hums actively firing in circuits or loops, round and round like a pinwheel, throwing off sparks of energy on each cycle.  Great masses of nerve cells unite together to create a marvelous orchestra which plays thoughts of truth and beauty, which creates creative imagination.

“How do billions of nerve cells within the brain communicate with each other? One way is through the amazing molecules called chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. These substances are made within each nerve cell and are secreted through the synapse, the space between one cell and the next. The “mood pathways” in the brain that we have been referring to consist of the chemical messenger systems that travel through and innervate the prefrontal-limbic complex”. Women’s Moods ~ Deborah Sichel, M.D., and Jeanne Watson Driscoll, M.s., R.N., C.S.

Carl Sagan on the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SHc67Hep48

When symptoms of depression and anxiety occur, they originate from the limbic brain, but they involve the cortex as well, since severe depression is associated with diminished eyesight, poor judgment, lack of motivation and attention—all functions of the higher levels of brain. As the brain evolved over time, the cortex grew larger and we developed the capacity to control our emotions, hold back our anger and modify the impulses coming from the more primitive part of the brain called the limbic.

The cortex is divided into two halves or hemispheres and each holds a different function—though separate, these two halves are joined by a boomerang-shaped band of fibers’ or bridge call the corpus callosum which allows the left-brain and right-brain to talk to each other.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and enables us to figure out problems logically, to speak and write, to understand science and numbers.  The right side of the brain controls your left side of the body and is your creative side—this is where your vivid imagination and artistic ability comes from and your love for music.

“Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run.

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY

The hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, regulating temperature, water metabolism, reproduction, hunger and thirst, and our state of alertness. It’s responsible for turning the stress switch on in the body—stimulating the fight or flight reaction, raising the blood pressure, the heart rate, and breathing rate—it also has centers for emotions: anger, fear, pain, and pleasure.

Connected to the hypothalamus, and continually influencing it are the ‘higher’ centers of the brain which give us our senses, memory, creativity and thought.  So theoretically, our hormone cycles could be controlled by the power of pure thought.

The pituitary gland hangs like a little round bag from the hypothalamus and controls the total balance of hormones in the body. We have come to call it the Master Gland of the body, also known as the ‘seat of the mind’. Its frontal lobe regulates emotional thoughts such as poetry, art and music, and the anterior lobe regulating concrete thought and the analytical mind.  You could say it is our mission control center that continually sends messages to all the other glands in our body and regulates our sexual development.

Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need in sufficient quantities, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re composed of and to make enzymes and other substances that affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones.

When we are reacting to either food, or a situation, or a person, or to the weather, we are actually responding to a signal that started from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland.  The signal may be in the form of comfort or discomfort, but if we could learn how to listen to these signals that are being sent to us, all the time from within us, then, we’d realize that these signals affect our moods, our behavior, our perceptions, our tastes, our habits, our attraction to other people, our appetites, our urges and so on.  Knowing your body/mind, allows you to ‘tune’ into yourself and of course to others. This allows the pituitary to analyze situations before taking action.

When we’re under stress the brain immediately responds by triggering the release of specific hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal gland areas (HPA axis).  Acute and chronic stress triggers the fight/flight response causing our heart and breathing to increase, and the blood vessels to constrict—adrenaline starts to flow through the body, digestion shuts down as blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and sent to the muscles. Most people after a particularly frightful or angry encounter,feel exhausted. They suddenly feel the need to sleep or pull away from the problem.

During traumatic stress, stress neuropeptides norepinephrine and cortisol disconnect the left-brain “talk” memory systems, but simultaneously turn up the process. The neurotransmitter norepinephrine turns on the domino effect of depression to disease in the body, and acetylcholine turns off the inflammatory cascade.

Elevated levels of adrenaline can also cause an elevation in triglycerides, which are fats in the blood, and elevation of blood sugar…also not good. Elevated levels of adrenaline over time can also cause blood to clot faster (which contributes to plaquing), the thyroid too becomes overly stimulated, and the body produces more cholesterol.

“In the last decade, neurobiologists have reported structural differences in at least two regions of the human brain.  One is the corpus callosum, the mind’s big “telephone” cable, connecting as it does hundreds of millions of neurons between the two hemispheres.  The other is the hypothalamus, the master controller for the integration of many basic behavioral patterns from temperature regulation and appetite to sex drives—involving brain and endocrine functions, Neuroendocrine research also strongly indicates that nervous system differences begin as sex hormones bathe the developing fetus in the womb.  Hormonal differences continuing through childhood—and perhaps even through adult life—affect brain activity and guide performance.  Other studies suggest that men and women may process the same information differently and yet come to the same of similar conclusion.”  Kathryn Phillips

Cortisol stays in the body longer than adrenaline, interferes with digestion and suppresses the immune system allowing tumors if present, to grow faster. Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that overstimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.)

The pituitary happens to sit quite comfortably just above the sphenoid bone, which looks very much like a throne made of wings. Side by side these wings have long been referred to as the ‘Swan’, (although to me they look more like the wings of a bat) and in Grail lore the Swan is symbolic of the fully enlightened being. This is the ultimate realm of consciousness achieved by the medieval Knights of the Swan, such as Perceval and Lohengrin. One of the functions of the sphenoid is to solidify and stabilize our digested memories and patterns with the imagination so that we are able to do what we call visualizing, or inner seeing.

For further information on the pituitary and endocrine glands go here

THE PINEAL GLAND

Resembling a pine cone, the pineal gland, located just above the pituitary gland, secretes the hormone melatonin, a light sensitive hormone known to affect sleep, mood and the reproductive cycle.  Usually levels of this hormone rise at night and subside at dawn. In Part I of this series we learnt that melatonin is associated with Season Affective Disorder (SAD) especially in the darker seasons like Autumn and Winter.

The pineal gland acts in two ways to inhibit the action of the pituitary gland. First, the pituitary gland is responsible for activating adolescence and the beginning of sexuality, and the pineal gland checks the pituitary gland to prevent premature sexual awakening. Second, human thought is regarded as a result of suspended action, and the pineal gland holds back your thoughts from charging recklessly into action. It says whoa slow down and think about the chain of reactions and repercussions caused by the thoughts you want to put into action.   It forces you to submerge (like a submarine whose captain yells dive, dive) deep into your own  subconscious waters, using the perascope to see into your thoughts regarding the surface of your outer reality.  When the external world disappears, we fall back into ourselves, kind of like a falling star or a deep sea diver.  Our whole energy pattern contracts because we’re tuned into our own station.  When we plug into our own broadcast, it magnetizes  “spiritual light” like a beacon stimulating the pineal gland to stand straight up attracting and releasing a tremendous amount of powerful energy!  In order for your desire, good or ill to manifest, the pineal gland must join together with the pituitary to create an eclipse, a conjunction, a merging of these two glands creates an opening  what mystics have called the third eye (a higher form of intelligence)

THE SEAT OF ALL PASSION – THE AMYGDALA

The amygdala’s main role is emotion, including what we call intuition. It plays a major role in dreaming, and religious and spiritual experience, Including telepathy and ESP.

“Our world is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. Even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.” Carlos Castenadas ~ The Art of Dreaming

In the human brain, the amygdala normally filters out most of reality, yet, when its hyperactivated, you will suddenly be able to experience what is normally filtered out—you will suddenly be able to see and taste sound, you can feel colors, and you can experience realms of reality that are normally suppressed.

When bipolar individuals are manic, passion and enthusiasm for life is not without its dangers.  When the amygdala is in a hyperactive state, manics can be carried along in a reckless pace. When passion veers out of control they experience a highly unrelaxing force that when it overwhelms them, their sense of true passion is lost.

“Then, as time rolls on, my head really speeds up; ideas are moving so fast they’re stumbling over each other and I begin to get this sense of power–power over other people. I begin to feel that what I think and do is of significance to those around me, even to the universe at large. I think of myself as having special insight, as understanding things that others do not, and with a special capacity to lead. I recognize now that these are warning signs.”  ~ Stephan Szabo

The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the limbic brain is also the brain’s alerting system to stressful and emotional situations. When triggered by stress or anxiety, it alerts several bodily systems—the gut, skin, heart, muscles, eyes, face, ears, and adrenals to be on the lookout for incoming stimuli.  The amygdala notes threats in the environment and decides whether you should freeze, run or fight for your life.  Imprinted onto the amygdala’s memory are massive fears and traumatic incidents that affected you since your birth (even registering unbearable pain in others).  Many of your fears were instigated by your parents in the very early part of your life ‘before’ you developed your ability to think things through.

The amygdala controls the production of neurotransmitters, *serotonin and norepinephrine—low serotonin levels cause us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless, and depressed—exhibit compulsive habits including overeating and drug and alcohol abuse.

The more active the amygdala becomes, the more you’ll struggle to keep your emotions steady. You may get mad at people for no reason and replay memories and conversations in your head that happened years ago. It’s like every waking moment of your day is spent muttering about something you have no control over.  The amygdala is like a runaway horse, going where it wants, with you barely hanging on—the more you hold on—the more energized the amygdala becomes.  And the stronger the amygdala—the tighter your muscular system becomes and the more tense the mind.

The Amygdala and Hypersexuality

“When that pure, euphoric filling hits I become hypersexual—sex is a no-no word even to the doctors, but we have to talk about it!!!  When I’m manic, I can literally have sex with anything that moves—and the truth is I really couldn’t care less about the other person—it’s a conquest, a game, that’s thrilling and fun—a game that can last for hours or days!!  My biggest problem with this is—I’m married!!” (Bipolar woman) 

“I take antidepressants which is like a chemical neutering because it takes away all my sexual desires. (Peter T.)

“When hypersexual I keep myself locked up so i don’t do anything stupid or crazy—it’s like i become very promiscuous and then I feel shameful, dirty and filled with regret”(Susan W.)

“Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder—troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threatening health problems. “The one thing I regret is what I did to my husband,” says Bev, a middle-aged woman from rural Quebec who was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago. “He was a good man and we would have had a good retirement together.”http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/522/opening-the-door-on-hypersexuality

THE HIPPOCAMPUS

“The stress response can also literally poison the brain—because it causes excessive secretion of the adrenal hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released at about the same time adrenaline is.  However it stays in your system much longer than adrenaline does, and that creates a terrible problem.  Cortisol gives your hippocampus, as well as other parts of your brain, a highly destructive ‘toxic bath’.  It can be so destructive that your brain may never again recover absolutely all of its cognitive function.” Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth

 The amygdala adjoins the hippocampus, known as the ‘library of short-term memories’ which converts short term experiences into long term memories and then stores them in other parts of the brain.  (Your hippocampus is active right now as your reading this.)

The brain receives up to ten billion pieces of information per second.  Negative emotional shocks such as fear, tension, stress, frustration, anger and guilt are stored in the brain and sorted in order by a nervous structure called the reticulate ‘substance’ or ‘formation’. Metaphysical causes of the body happen when emotional residue pours into your organs causing pain and discomfort.

 “A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

Repetitive traumas will throw the body into a constant state of anxiety and stress causing the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. There are studies out there saying that antidepressants help the hippocampus grow new cells in people with Bipolar, PTSD and other emotional traumas.

THALAMUS

The thalamus is the key relay station or distribution center, transporting incoming information from all parts of the nervous system.  It’s important for processing all sensory data (taste, pain and memory) except smell. “Thalamus” means “couch” in Greek: it is where the cerebral hemispheres sit.

When the thalamus isn’t working as it should, it’s most likely because we are feeling disconnected from our ‘true self’. When we lose touch with our authentic self we feel as if everything in life is piling on top of us.  Life is messy, chaotic and very confusing. This loss of self is an underlying problem with several types of addictive and compulsive disorders such as alcohol and mind alerting drugs.

There is no doubt the earth’s changing energies are intensifying our emotions and feelings. The news tells this to us daily with more and more violent crimes. More antidpressant pills are being taken more than ever. More people are in prison, and more people suffer from serious mental illness than ever before.  I think the root of our problems are literally from anything that upsets the safety of our world—a world that is continually changing.  The earth’s magnetic field has a mutual relationship with both the sun and moon and with all the life forms of the ‘biosphere’ (plants, bacteria, fish insects, mammals).  Although this field is subtle it influences the behavior of every living organism.  We are no exception as we contain an auric field generated by the beating of our hearts and by all our body processes…but our body rhythms respond to fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field—and our bodies are polarized—the head end negative and the tail or feet positive—similar to a battery.

“Fleeing the raw, wounded places in ourselves because we don’t think we  can handle them is a form of self-abandonment”. John Welwood

If you grew up in a troubled family, more than likely you had to hide your true self to survive and what we call the ‘false self’ dominated most of your life. You soon learned that you could never win the full approval of your parents, no matter how much effort you put forward.  Nothing was ever good enough and you never felt quite accepted and you never learnt to accept yourself either—everything you did was a perfect performance for someone else.  This mask is who we pretended to be in an atmosphere of abuse or neglect from within or, later, outside the family.

I do believe, though, that the ‘child within’ still has needs, and from time to time will peep out or show itself through manic behaviors or violent explosive emotions—often hurting the child or someone else.  If these behaviors continue, they could result later in life as eating disorders, compulsive gambling, religious addiction, workaholism, mental illness and family violence.

INTRODUCING PART III ~ Bipolar

Inside each of us is a variety of subpersonalities (archetypes) (eg., the hero, the victim, the nurturer) that contribute to how we respond to life experiences.

In Part III on Manic Depression we’re going to look at astrological charts of three different people diagnosed with manic depression who’ve worked very hard on  themselves and continue to do so through the aid of self-help groups, books, divination, therapies and frequent visits to their doctors.

We’re going to look at several different aspects, including the association of the moon with one’s home, family life and mother, motherhood and long-term bonds and behaviors.  Anatomically the moon represents the stomach, thus it emphasizes a direct link between what we eat and how we feel. It also provides clues to what may be “eating” at us. Psychology rarely studies the role the moon and how it plays in respect to changing moods or the sensations these give rise to, especially with people with bipolar.  Each of us responds to the moon’s cycle in our own unique way and looking at the moon phases, we can learn from them.

Astrology and numerology are a form of divination containing an internal communication network providing us with clues to our mental, physical, and emotional framework; they help us understand our body’s present state including all its past history. Step by step they point us in the right direction, guiding us through the healing process.

To be continued….

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

Great Links….

This blog takes you to into the heart of a bipolar  https//bruisedbybipolar.wordpress.com

Excellent Lecture on the Limbic System ~ Sex, Hallucinations, Emotions, Memory, PTSD, Amygdala    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7nXiXQb2iM   

What is Lithium   http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?  Section=About_Medications&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=51&ContentID=20820

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People    mentalhealthtalk.info/bipolar_hsp

Bipolar Disorder and Brain   http://www.brainexplorer.org/bipolar_disorder/Bipolar_Disorder_Aetiology.shtml

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“This is a good example of factors coming together and combining to create a difficulty.  Stomach ulcers are often physically due to a specific virus but invariably occur at the same time when you are very stressed and the reality you are dealing with is becoming corrosive, wearing away at your coping mechanism.  You may be taking in too much acidity from others, or your feelings are eating away at you. 

Aggravated by digestive juices, ulcers arise when you are under too much pressure, worried by financial or work situations, relationships, guilt or shame.  Worry is the key word here—it is almost as if the worry itself is eating you.  All of this creates the perfect environment for the virus.  The ulcer creates a feeling of being raw and exposed, as if there is nowhere to hide.  There may also be repressed aggression, a desire to get revenge or to lash out at someone.  There is a deep need to be soothed and nurtured, to return to the safety of being cared for—as seen in having to eat baby foods as a form of treatment.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro 

Most of us are unaware of the many forces that can interfere with our physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental lives.  When these four areas of responsibility are ignored or dismissed, our body/mind/spirit is forced to change through some kind of crisis.  Usually our early experiences, especially our childhood are the ones that teach us our greatest lessons and reflect back to us our weaknesses and strengths and desires and potentials. 

When I was just in my young teens, (thirteen/fourteen) an ultrasound revealed I had a stomach ulcer (peptic).  You’d think the anxiety of high school would do this but it wasn’t school that caused it.  In fact, I couldn’t wait to get to school, it was my get-away, a place of freedom, where like a wild horse I galloped free.  School was my place of escape, a place to run from myself and from my family.  

The radical shifts of emotion and extreme inner tension came from my home—it was a literal war-zone!    There were times I was scared out of my wits, especially when a shouting match between my mom and dad had dishes and pots being thrown across the room or my brothers emotional yelling turned into fist-fights and black-eyes and bloody noses.  I was the youngest of four, my oldest brother 10 years older and younger brother 8 years older.  My father fought with my brothers, especially Len, my second brother.  I remember when we moved from our house in Montreal to Toronto, the walls in that home still held the image of human imprints from people being pushed into them.  

During that time I was on Zantac, Librium and an antacid, but the burning searing pain that tore through my body never subsided until I quit school and left home at 18 years of age (I failed a grade and was put back a grade when we moved).  Through the many years that followed I learned that the present is not the past and that I wasn’t in any kind of danger when people around me critically raised their voices.   But, I have learnt to keep my inner antennae on….an extremely helpful, instinctive/intuitive tool and a natural gift from the stomach/solar plexus area.   

 

THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM 

“ULCERS are no more than fear—tremendous fear of “not being good enough.” We fear not being good enough for a parent, we fear not being good enough for a boss.  We can’t stomach who we are.  We rip our guts apart trying to please others.  No matter how important our job is, our inner self-esteem is very low.  We are afraid they will find out about us. “ Louise Hay You Can Heal Your Life  

When I left home I had trouble expressing myself  (personal power) to friends and associates because I was afraid of how they’d react.  I was very shy and sensitive, taking any form of criticism really badly.  We (stomach people) clam up or won’t stand up for ourselves, out of the fear of being hurt, judged, humiliated, misunderstood and/or misinterpreted.  We’re scared others are going to react and rationalize our feelings, or our own fear of being wrong.  Another thing we’re afraid of, is being, either emotionally overwhelmed or ignored—we’ve all experienced that feeling when someone just isn’t all there—either there’s a glazed look in their eyes and a restlessness in their body or they look at their watch, spring to their feet and interrupt us.    

On the other hand, many of us look to others to boost our self-esteem, hoping they will fill us up with good thoughts and feelings.  Unfortunately, looking to others for our happiness and emotional well-being severely limits our freedom and expression.  It creates a miscommunication with ourselves (our lack of ability to understand what is really going on inside us). As we seek others approval, we begin to wear masks, to disguise our true feelings and to protect ourselves from being criticized, put down or humiliated by others.  We even try to deceive ourselves into thinking we can control, manipulate or alter our future—but the stomach area, the solar plexus/3rd chakra will not accept lies – if we don’t speak our truth our solar plexus tightens by the words we haven’t spoken.  

“People have known for ages that many different emotions are related to ulcers.  Feeling threatened, for example, causes the brain to signal the stomach to secrete more acid while reducing the blood flow to the lining, thus setting the stage for ulcers.  Some scientists have theorized that ulcers are caused by an overgrowth of a bacterium known as Heliobacteria pylori in the stomach.  Since, however, all of us have Heliobacteria pylori in our stomachs—just as we all have E.coli in our intestines, and all women have yeast in their vaginas—there must be something about the environment in some people’s stomachs that makes them more susceptible to the bacteria’s overgrowing.  Scientists believe that stressful life changes, feelings of threat, and being trapped or restrained can alter some people’s immunity and cause the bacteria to overgrow, setting the stage for ulcers.  It’s as if H. pylori is the bearer of bad tidings, but not necessarily the bad news itself.” Mona Lisa Schulz   

The stomach area contains bundles of sensitive nerve endings, which also connect and join with, thousands and thousands of nerve endings close to the heart—this explains why hate, passion, fear, anger and many other emotions are felt ‘instantly’, ‘emotionally’ and extremely in this highly nerve center.   As we learn and become aware of our emotional sensitivities, the solar plexus and heart area form a bridge connecting us to our higher and lower centers.  We discover we can become the conductor/controller of our own emotions and desires without becoming overly involved.   

This abdominal area has also been called the seat of your subconscious mind and the subconscious mind holds many memories of the past—some of them painful, bitter and unjust. Sometimes we can get swamped with painful emotions in reaction to something we’re doing at the moment that suddenly reminds us of a past abuse. One minute we’re feeling fine, the next minute we’ve got a knot of fear/shame in the pit of our stomach. Often, these kinds of emotional reactions are amplified by psychic residue dumped on us from our childhood or recent past.  Then comes the fear—fear blocks our senses and numbs our perceptions…we can’t feel or read our environment and we can’t read ourselves. We look for hidden meanings of people’s actions—if someone looks at us the wrong way, our energy takes a nosedive.  If someone praises us, our energy hits an all time high. 

“Third chakra energy is logical rather than artistic, sophisticated rather than child-like, doctrinaire rather than organic, cunning rather than innocent, suspicious rather than trusting, and responsibility-bound rather than flowing. If the second chakra holds the natural child, the third chakra holds the controlling parent. Where the second chakra is more like the right-brain side of identity, the third chakra “thinks” more like the brain’s left hemisphere. Third chakra thought also differs from sixth chakra thought. Sixth chakra thought, though it may be profound, is more detached and cerebral. Third chakra thought is entwined with your identity, your fears, and the needs of your ego. 

The energy of the second chakra can be cut off from that of the third chakra, as well as the others above it. There is an energy system between the second and third chakras called the belt flow…the belt flow, which goes around the waist, can become like a huge wall above the second chakra that cuts off the second chakras natural spontaneity, trust, and faith. When this happens, as it frequently does in modern Western cultures, the person may be tormented by merciless self-hatred, a desecration that often originates in the third chakra’s attempts to shape an identity that differs vastly from the natural child of the second chakra. Once the connection between the second and third chakra is opened, energy rises; knowledge about a truer, kinder, gentler self can filter up; and self-condemnation and self-hatred begin to dissolve in that knowledge.” Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies For Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality ~ Donna Eden 

REDEFINING STRESS 

The Amygdala

 Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz  

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run. 

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux 

From Stress To Tension

 What I’m trying to prove is that our bodies are still responding to this ancient fear mechanism that rushes intense energy into us, preparing us for the fight or flight response.  But even though our lives have changed regarding the word stress, we are still reacting to the old instinctual unconscious reactions.  As a result we aren’t coping so much with stress as we are with ‘tension’.  Stress as you’ve read is a natural response, necessary for life.  ‘Tension’, is the not-so-good physical and mental repercussions we experience when we haven’t been able to process our stress effectively. 

Stress becomes tension when we perceive something unexpected as threatening, when in reality, it is not.  We should be living in a society of trust, cooperation, and interacting well with others, yet in our minds we still remember the ‘survival of the fittest’ that still sits in our unconscious.  Watch out for those dinosaurs!

 When we are criticized for something that we’ve done, we immediately respond with fear and anger as if it were a threat to our very life—our old programming says ‘defend yourself or you’ll die—rather than taking the time to step back and understand what just happened.  Instead our hearts start thumping, we become restless and either express ourselves angrily—physically defend ourselves—or repress all that unexpressed energy which then develops as physical tension.  We haven’t understood that we’ve set ourselves up to experience ‘tension’ from our own lack of awareness.

Another cause of tension is when we fight something with our mental thoughts that we cannot physically control or change—traffic jams come to mind—very frustrating indeed.  How many times have you fumed with rage at not getting home in time or to that all-important meeting and then brought all that fuelled anger home, or to the office with you?  When you are really stressed out, you radiate that stressed energy to the people around you through your chakras and auras.  Consciously or sub-consciously, these people then transfer a great bulk of this stress energy by being nasty and rude to others.  It’s like a merry-go-round.

“Most illness begins with stress-producing thinking as the mind imposes tension on the body.  Every thought has a corresponding effect on the body.  Recent studies in the growing field of psychosomatic medicine demonstrate that our body’s finely tuned immune system responds also immediately to both positive and negative thoughts and attitudes. 

 Resistance is like a stone dropped into a calm pond; the emotions are the ripples.  Chronic stress begun in the mind, creates emotional turbulence and imposes itself upon the body as stored tension.  The tension translates to painful symptoms: headaches or pain in the stomach, lower back or elsewhere.  We have all experienced these symptoms with no apparent physical cause”. NO ORDINARY MOMENTS ~ Dan Millman

 It does seem that most of our problems come from a lack of wisdom and understanding.  Instead of being blinded or tied into our own person viewpoint, we can learn to dissolve tension by changing the way we perceive someone or something.  Balancing our emotions with reason sounds easy, but it isn’t.  It takes time to learn to control our impulses our instinctive way of responding to life.  Instead of being raw and blunt we need to step back and take a higher view of a situation, instead of reigning supreme over others.  The solar plexus chakra is the centre of positive and negative emotions—ambition, courage, violence, cruelty–are just some of the many.  When a person is very angry, the solar plexus chakra pulsates erratically.  This causes the diaphragm to move erratically, resulting in shallow breathing.

 “In the early nineteenth century a man named Alexis St. Martin accidentally shot himself in the abdomen.  The wound was large, and it never healed.  Through a small hole in St. Martin’s abdominal wall, you could clearly see his stomach lining.  The famous surgeon William Baumont undertook a study of Martin, to determine what effect the man’s moods would have on his stomach.  He observed the lining changing color as a given emotion caused the release of more or less acid in the stomach.  Whenever anger caused St. Martin’s face to go red, the stomach lining would also turn red.  This was the essence of mind-body (or in this case mind-stomach) medicine.  Every emotion St. Martin felt—anxiety, resentment, frustration, anger, happiness—was literally revealed on the video screen of his stomach wall.” Awakening Intuition Mona Lisa Schulz

 MORE ENERGETICS OF THE STOMACH/SOLAR PLEXUS

 The solar plexus, stomach area, is the place where every memory you’ve ever had of being criticized is registered.  No organ of your body is more quickly affected by your moods than your stomach! 

 “The stomach is the primary organ for storing, diluting, and digesting food.  It is our reservoir.  It is a symbol of the thoughts, ideas, and inspirations that we learn to digest and assimilate.  It is the reservoir from which we can draw to experience the new and open worlds. 

 Stomach problems often reflect outer problems in digesting life’s experiences.  Are we afraid of digesting or experiencing the new?  Are we holding on to that which is no longer beneficial or nourishing to us?  Do we have fears of not being good enough just as we are?  Do we not approve of ourselves?  Are we having difficulty assimilating new ideas, concepts, and perspectives, and putting them in motion in our life?  The Healer’s Manual ~ Ted Andrews

 Your abdomen and pelvis contain many important organs that are critical for your survival.  The abdomen consists of the digestive system/gastrointestinal system that is made up of approximately thirty-three feet of plumbing that starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum.  (The digestive tract needs that much length to help break down the food’s nutrients and distribute them throughout the body by way of the bloodstream). This system consists of the mouth, pharynx or throat, esophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines.  Digestion begins when food or drink enters the mouth; churning, mixing, breaking down, emulsifying and absorbing the nutrients; and, finally, circulating the nutrients through the blood until they reach their final destination.  Your tissues and organs are the final-destination where the digested fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins are released, helping to keep your body healthy and working properly. 

 The solar plexus, located at the center of the body (stomach area) is one of the most important chakras because it controls, energizes and affects so many surrounding vital organs; no other organ of the body is so easily disturbed or affected by our emotions than the stomach!  This part of your body is also the most important center of the sympathetic nervous system because it is the nerve center that stimulates and reflects your most deepest feelings.  Fear, anger, shame, guilt and pain often get stored in the memory cells of the stomach, sitting there for days/months/years until someone, or some outside force awakens them.  This area is easily disturbed or imbalanced by negative thoughts and emotions—when these strong impulses are released, they’re sent through the nerves to every part of the body.  When strong emotions are released, we have a ‘body flashback’, the cells and muscles of our body temporarily control and produce all kinds of fears and symptoms that we can’t at the time stop. 

 The brain and the digestive system work together.  Scientists have long known that the brain stimulates the digestive organs through parasympathetic activities such as sight, smell, and taste, which stimulate hunger. Psychological factors also impact hunger and digestion, influencing the movements of the intestine, secretion of digestive enzymes, and other digestive functions.  Intense sadness or anger, for example, will set off a chain reaction that stimulates or reduces hunger, perhaps causing weight and digestive problems, and sometimes intestinal illnesses.

 On the other hand, the digestive system also influences the brain.  For example, long-standing or recurring diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) ulcerative colitis, and other painful diseases affect emotions, behaviors, and daily functioning.  This two-way association has been called the brain-gut axis.” The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia Of Your Energetic Anatomy ~ Cyndi Dale

 When studying the healing arts, I became fascinated with the many teachings and how the teachers/healers/authors spoke of the depth and complexity of our emotional lives, and, what we could do to heal them.  I studied the endocrine system, the body’s nervous system and the chakras.  In studying ulcers and other stomach ailments, I’ve learned that virtually every chakra is somehow affected.   Why?  Because your self esteem, your ego and your personality sits in the 3rd chakra.  This is the place of how you feel about yourself and how secure and stable you are in the outside world.

 “At the top chakra of the lower triangle of chakras, the third chakra is vitally important in enabling us to survive and succeed in the material world. Even though it sits atop the foundation of the chakra system (the lower three chakras), the third chakra is also in close communication with the higher chakras—particularly the fourth chakra or heart chakra, and the sixth chakra, or third eye”. MEDITATION AS MEDICINE, Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force, by Dharma Singh, M.D. Khalsa, Cameron Stauth

 I fell in love with Mona Lisa Schulz and her incredible knowledge of the body/mind/spirit dynamics and its intimate connection with the brain….

 “A large network of fibers of the autonomic nervous system—which fires the brain without being consciously aware of it—runs from the brain down to the gut, where the nerves actually wrap around the tubelike intestines like a radial belt on a tire and cause them to contract.  When you describe something as “gut-wrenching,” that’s exactly what you mean: when you feel an emotion, the fire from the nerves branches down, wraps around your gut, and clenches it.” Awakening Intuition ~ Mona Lisa Schulz

 HEALING THE STOMACH/SOLAR PLEXUS/3rd CHAKRA

 “I don’t have to be afraid any more.  My fear used to be overwhelming, but the things that overwhelmed me are the past.  I don’t have to yell.  I can be heard when I whisper, if I quietly speak my truth.  Love is the opposite of fear; the more I can let go of my fear, the more I can love and be loved”. Daphne Rose Kingma

 One of the first things we have to learn in order to heal is to be aware of what we are doing to our body.  Most of us are so busy with our lives, we rarely take the time to connect with ourselves and get a sense of what we’re feeling/sensing/being.  Healing involves acting consistently to ensure that you are doing everything that you need to do for a healthy life.  It’s a time to take responsibility for yourself and let go of others responsibilities that are interfering with your own needs.  Realize, this may look to others as a form of selfishness as you get rest, exercise and the good food you need.  Stepping back and doing your own self-healing work as well as possibly receiving care from someone else, produces the best overall healing.  This healing process literally opens up your body’s energetic channels, your blood flow, digestive system, your breathing, your nervous system and your muscle and joint function.  It means learning about yourself, your deep-seated needs and your ‘individuality’. 

 Putting out the Fire 

We all have fears that frightens us—after all that’s fears job—and when we experience its grip, we feel it in the form of butterflies, stomach cramps, heartburn and spasms—we lose power and—we lose our ability to think things through and reason.  When we are out of power, we can become stuck, rigid and very critical of the things we don’t understand. 

Fear seems to be, as Louise Hay and others have quoted, the main cause for stomach ulcers and stomach ailments.  But what is fear anyways?  Where does it come from? Well, from what I know of my own fears and from hearing the fears of others, fear has many different faces…..showing up as, anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, stress and phobias.  We could even say that All negative emotions are a derivative of fear.  These emotions can express themselves as anger, frustration, embarrassment, denial, grief, shame, jealousy, insecurity, rage, guilt, resentment, stress and worry. 

 Now all fear isn’t bad.  Some fears are useful emotions, protecting us from harm, offering us guidance and forcing us to move quickly into action….e.g., the primitive fight/flight response that signals, protects and saves our lives. 

 But when we delay in taking action or refuse to face the fear, it depletes our passion for living.  It is one of the biggest obstacles we humans have to face and which, if ignored, intensify in strength. 

 All of us have hurtful memories from the past. Most fears stem from our belief system instilled in us as a child by our parents, teachers, siblings, friends, etc..  In order to protect ourselves from repeating these painful experiences again, we build up our defenses—very often we cling to old habits and patterns because breaking free of old habits can actually feel like we’re dying.  Nothing stops us from letting go of these useless patterns but it can take some of us years before we can actually let the old self-die.  Symptoms of fear can cause ulcers, nausea, tightness in the chest and back and neck, an uneasy mind, sweating and a rapid heartbeat. 

 To master our fear we must take it in hand and resist succumbing to its panic—if we give away our power to fear, we become its puppet.

  

TRANSFORMING FEAR INTO UNDERSTANDING

 Meditation can gently steer us away from our thoughts and emotions and put us back in charge of our lives—it helps to restore our relationship with ourselves and put us back on the ground.  This is a wonderful awareness/relaxation exercise I received from a wonderful friend many years ago.  It teaches you to transform the stresses in your life by changing the way you look at them.  

 Begin to observe yourself day to day so that you are able to see when fear is approaching from a distance or catch it happening.  Then accept it!  If you fight it or try to suppress it or get angry at yourself for reacting to it, you’ll get more tense and lose more energy.  Just recognize and allow yourself to feel the symptoms in your body.

 Fear causes us to tense up, when you feel this happening, consciously begin to relax by breathing more slowly and deeply.  Your emotions are intimately connected to your breathing patterns—by changing your pattern, you will quickly be able to change any train of thought, even a stressful one.  A change in breathing also changes the physical responses that go with emotional or mental tensions, such as tightness in the abdomen or shoulders.

 The beauty of it is that deep breathing can be practiced anywhere without anyone even noticing—at work, while traveling, or in a situation of confrontation.  So when you feel your body beginning to experience fear, immediately begin to take long, deep, regular breaths.

 The natural way of breathing when relaxed is deeply and steadily—just watch a sleeping child or an animal at rest.  As you breath more deeply you will feel refreshing because you are taking in more energy/oxygen/prana.  You will also feel calmer and more objective and able to deal with the situation more efficiently.

 Recognize whether you are experiencing a fight response or a flight response, and see if you can change your thinking/attitude about the situation.

 Recognize what you want from the situation and are not getting, and see if you can drop that desire.  Accept what is actually happening, rather than trying to fight mentally and emotionally for what you want to have happen.

 Examine your daily routine to see if you are creating physical situations that predispose you to experience fear, stress or tension.  For example, you will be more likely to feel tension if any of the following are true:  you are overtired from lack of sleep; *you have overeaten or eaten the wrong kinds of food or too late at night; you have taken too many stimulants, such as coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes; you habitually overwork; you don’t get enough play and recreation; or you don’t get enough fresh air and exercise.

 (*Try not to eat when you’re angry, excited, tense, depressed, upset, on the run or tired.  Wait until your mind becomes calm and your ‘natural’ hunger returns.  When your tense the hunger you feel isn’t true hunger…it’s mentally induced hunger, designed as an outlet for your nervousness and anxieties.  True hunger arises only when you are relaxed.)

 See where you can make changes—small ones, one at a time.  Don’t take on too much!  Just regulate your sleep, for instance, or try walking instead of driving once in a while to get more fresh air and exercise.

 Incorporate some specific physical and mental techniques into your daily schedule, such as walking, meditation, or sports.  Also take time out to lie down and relax deeply once a day for fifteen to twenty minutes.

HEALING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS

 “Not only does your food consist of “energy, frequency, and vibration,” but its energy is also always in motion. Beneath the surface of that red apple on your kitchen counter or the buttered toast on your breakfast table exists a river of energy force fields that swirl into form, dissolve, and coalesce once again. All life is energy, and in every moment, we’re immersed in a great ocean of it. It’s constantly ebbing and flowing in constant, ever-changing currents that pulsate through time and space. In every morsel of food you eat, there’s an infinite, yet patterned, timeless cosmic order of waves of pulsating electrons that spiral in and out of existence, which have a profound impact on your body and on your life.” The Mystic Cookbook – Eat for Enlightenment ~ By Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

 The Mystic Cookbook video – how to create a chakra meal and so many more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOjEccORdW4&feature=youtu.be

More Mystic Cookbook Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMysticCookbook

 Peptic Ulcer  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peptic-ulcer/DS00242/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

 Glutamine for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/487930-glutamine-for-stomach-ulcers/

 Stomach ulcers and probiotics http://www.livestrong.com/article/475443-stomach-ulcers-probiotics/

Fenugreek for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/471095-fenugreek-for-stomach-ulcers/

Tumeric for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/467947-turmeric-for-stomach-ulcers/

All kinds of links re: stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/stomach-ulcers/

 

Stay tuned for the next upcoming article – Metaphysical Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) where we continue to discuss more metaphysical information on the stomach/solar plexus area.

“The stomach and esophagus come together at the bottom end of our ribcage, beneath our heart…..that’s why when it hurts, we call it heartburn. Heartburn can happen from an attack on our self esteem, a feeling of being trapped, competitiveness, a hostile environment, or anxious and overwhelmed by responsibilities.  Chronic anxiety and worry is closely associated with ulcers and is associated with perfectionism.  Perfectionists are very hard on themselves and others, demanding the best at all times.  They find fault in almost everything they do—they’re appearance, their homes, relationships, children, clothes, cars—they can frustrate us to no end with their constant bickering and never-ending insistence that everything has to be perfect.

Perfectionists suffer from a lack of safety,never letting their guard down because if not, all hell will break loose. Their insecurities come from (to be continued………”)

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

 

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