STRESS & IDENTITY

Co-identification and equivocation with a state. When this happens it’s a combination of a state and a trauma/wounding (typically in childhood) aspect because the latter also influences and shapes neurology like the stress axis.

Meaning that there are already automatic and conditioned tendencies from the outside (childhood through parents, culture, religion, society, and politics all in their layered fashion) and the internal (HPA axis, attachment circuits, reward circuits, value circuits, neurotransmitter and hormone modulation and creation, plus SO MUCH MORE).

So let’s start pulling this all apart (differentiation). Burnout, depression, and anxiety are all collection terms.

All of these have biological underpinnings in a multilayer deficit of minerals, vitamins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. In the case of anxiety, sometimes a surplus of certain neurotransmitters, where inhibitors are too weak or deficient to balance out, alongside a deficiency in crucial minerals.

This means that for every person there is an overlap, but also elements that are unique to them (intensity, duration, frequency, individual neurological makeup, and wiring).

An additional and central element is the perception of energy and metabolic sensing. This energy sensing in these states is typically dysfunctional, meaning that like the fuel gauge of a car, it keeps signaling low energy in the body and the brain.

This is both perceived, the perception of energy, and the actual real biofeedback sense of metabolic and cellular resources in both the brain and body (meaning mitochondrial functional level, energy substrate level: glucose, ketones, ATP, lactate, oxygen, hydrogen. Neurotransmitter levels and so on).

The constriction in the prefrontal cortex means less top-down/executive control, so less rationality/logic, inhibition, and most importantly space. Meaning that the energy, resources, and activity tend to be much higher in the limbic cortex and brain stem.

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Heightened activity in the limbic cortex and brain stem is exactly what makes you reactive. The more the organism is put in survival mode the more it goes toward the reflexive and instinctive which is the brain stem, sympathetic hyperarousal in fight or flight.

This means that for the sake of survival, there is ZERO space between You and the environment (the external), but also between You and your emotions/states. Because the sympathetic nervous system is all about the right here and right now and thus survival.

This means everything is classified as a threat to your survival, and there is no time to think, only to act. The double bind and the neurological “irony” is that the prefrontal cortex isn’t fully offline, and neither is your integrated memory of Self.

Meaning a person typically knows full well what they “should” do and what they are like “normally”, however, due to their mode, state, and brain they are unable to access this and thus unable to act like it.

In that state, you (co)identify with every emotion and state, precisely because there is no space because you need to confront the perceived threat RIGHT NOW.

There is no perceived time to stop and think about your emotions, let alone your state. This doesn’t mean you can’t, or don’t have moments of reflection, it’s not binary. It just means the top-down has very little control over the state and the emotion because it’s largely taken out of play.

A system adapts to the dominant information, the longer you are in that state, the more you co-identify with it. The process of differentiation has a metabolic demand, meaning it requires energy, and so does inhibition.

So how are you going to inhibit and differentiate with a lack of energy, reduced and compromised systems that run differentiation, and a system in survival that automatically resorts to lockdown mode (read: freeze state) to conserve energy?

The obvious answer is that you don’t. Which is exactly why differentiation doesn’t make it to the cut. And neither does anything else. Seeing that all information is state and environment-dependent, a lot of “advice” is just noise to people. That’s also why the prettiest and boldest propositions essentially mean nothing at all.

Because if it did, it would need to work in every state, and if it did, we would see people being snapped out of every state they are in. Seeing that’s not the case, by and large, my point is made for me.

In that existential mode of survival, the organism cares about one thing: self-preservation.

Which it tries to do by enforcing metabolic control, this is energy conservation, seen in procrastination or the general inability to do/assert/attack/confront/address.

Throwing propositions at this state is an exercise in futility, and also why a lot of psychologists face an uphill battle. This doesn’t mean that top-down work, or psycholgists, are useless. Rather there is a time, place, and context for everything.

The conclusion

Restoring the resource, space, environment, and metabolic sensing (energy) to get people out of their existential mode so they by themselves can access top-down control and eventually differentiate and confront/address/resolve co-identification.

This mode and thus states also fall on a spectrum. Meaning the more you move out of survival, stress, reactive, and instinctive the more use you can make of the logical, rational, and propositional.


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