Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Healing and the Brain" Response

Honestly, this reading was probably my least favorite from our selected works. Alice Brand focuses 95% of her piece on explaining the functioning of the brain and very little time actually writing about healing, even though she makes a few connections to healing within the reading. I also found her writing to be choppy and her syntax was a bit hard to follow. Regardless, she does make some interesting and useful claims that can apply to what we're learning in class.

Brand argues that the psychology behind emotions and healing are more complex than most people know. She emphasizes the amygdala, which seems to have the most power in producing emotional responses. This small part of the brain "gets the message forty milliseconds before the intellectual part of your brain does" when someone sees something that resembles a snake (Brand 201). She revisits this idea later in her essay when she claims that "the amygdala can register 'memory before it even reaches our senses...prior to and independent of' the intellect" (Brand 208). These findings reminded me of our first reading and people who suffer from PTSD. Flashbacks occur when something resembling some aspect of a memory triggers an emotional response, before the person can reason their way out of it by realizing there is no real danger here in the present moment. As a person who suffers with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I often am unable to reason my way out of a panic attack or some other state of anxiety because whatever triggered me sent me spiraling into a certain emotional response, and my reasoning abilities go offline for a while. However, writing is a way I can better understand these emotions, which prepares me to deal with future anxiety.

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