“Blame yourself not, blame thy amygdala”…. I replied.
“Amy, the hot tempered roommate of Corty and Thalam”, I said
“Which room…..? ……Corty???? What the #$%^$# are you talking about? “He roared!!!!
Before he demonstrated his “Taking off sans control”, I decided to stop being cryptic.
“My friend, every bit of Information that comes to our brain comes to the Thalamus. From there it is sent to the Cortex and the Amygdala. So the room that I was talking about is our skull and Amy, Corty and Thalam are the three brains that we have”, I elaborated.
“So?” he was defiant.
I went on- “Well, Amy and Corty are very different brains. Amy stores only the dangerous experiences that we have ever had- that too, in vivid pictures. Corty stores all experiences as pictures, both dangerous and pleasant. Each time we face a stimulus, the information is sent by the Thalamus to both the brains. If Amy recognizes the picture, then Corty is blocked and good old Amy takes control of the whole body”
“What is wrong about that?” the flyer interjected
“There is nothing wrong. Amy is our primitive brain also called our animal brain. When it is activated it prepares our body for either FIGHT or FLIGHT. Your senses quicken, adrenaline flow increases and you are ready to face any emergency. This is vital for our survival. All our quick knee jerk kind of responses owe their creation to AMY”
“Then, what does Corty do?”
“Cortex is our new brain or the thinking brain. It allows us to analyze the stimuli and carefully choose the apt response. It is the Mature and Reasonable counterpart of AMY”.
“Thanks for the class. But what does this have to do with my temper and aggression?” he impatiently enquired.
“In ideal situations, Amy recognizes truly dangerous situations and automatically generates the response to it. By blocking Corty out, it is ensuring that we don’t lose precious time in analyzing and weighing options. This is our in- built survival mechanism. But the problem lies in Amy’s tendency to do partial recognition. In this case, Amy prematurely concludes that the situation is dangerous by wrongly interpreting some of the characteristics of the stimulus and forces the body to respond as if the stimulus is a life threatening situation. So the body responds unfairly to the unreal danger. This unreal danger could be a friend making a casual suggestion, someone treating you unfairly, your spouse nagging you or any of the multitudes of irritating situations that you encounter every day. If these situations are captured by AMY, then your body responds the same way it would do when it sees a snake or a hedgehog. This is why you are flying off the handle so often”
“Let me see whether I have got you. If I am able to stop my Amy from getting activated, then my Cortex would analyze the stimuli and allow me to generate the apt response for the irritation”, he explained.
“Bingo!!!!!. Easier said than done though. If Amy gets activated, it sometimes takes up to 48 hours to log off and involve Cortex. This is why no reasoning and rationalizing works when you are angry”
“And in all these cases, my primitive brain was making me react as if they were life threatening situations, when Corty dear could have handled it so differently. But tell me, how can I disarm my over enthusiastic Amy and empower my Corty?” he asked.
“Just keep Reading my Blog”, I quipped.