Anxiety and the Brain, Part 7: Learning the Language of the Amygdala.

We now know that the amygdala is a big player when it comes to anxiety, but how do you understand something that you have no control over?

If you want to understand someone who is speaking a foreign language, you learn the language or find a way to communicate, otherwise you won’t have a clue what the person is trying to tell you.  The same goes for the amygdala; to understand it we need to learn its language.

To start with, it is important to know that the amygdala has pre-programmed responses from the day we are born and it is ready to work from day one.  From this point it constantly learns and changes based on your day-to-day experiences. Read more

Depressed or Just Ungrateful?

I am really struggling with the depression at the moment, I don’t feel as though I am getting anywhere, which really brings me down, I lose motivation and end up thinking ‘what’s the point?’

It’s not to say that nothing good is happening, it’s just that they seem short lived, and the negative stuff soon overwhelms the positive.  Because of this I then get stressed that I am being ungrateful for the good things that are happening, and the progress I am making.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The main area I am struggling with is work, and not being able to earn money.  This is a big cause of the depression because it makes me feel useless and a burden.  The problem I have is that I pretty much have to start a career from scratch.  It is hard enough trying to change industries when you have a job, throw in some serious anxious triggers, being out of work for 3 years and a mental health disability and the options are pretty slim.

So what’s stopping me from working? Read more

Lift The Weight – The RPA

As part of the work I am doing to campaign for better mental health in the work place, I am always on the look-out for companies and organisations that are truly making a difference.

The first organisation I would like to highlight is The Rugby Players Association (The RPA).

I was fortunate to be able to speak with Caroline Guthrie, the Senior Development Manager so I could gain an insight into the great work The RPA are doing to support its members. Read more

Medication & Anxious Dreams.

Over the last few months I have started having some really bad dreams; I wouldn’t say they all felt like nightmares, but they all shared one thing in common, I experienced anxiety and panic in them to a level where I was paralysed (in the dream that is).

I have experienced nightmares in the past, I’ve been chased by dinosaurs, had spiders or snakes about to bite me, but for some reason none had the lasting effect that these anxious dreams have had. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 6: Circuitry

Circuitry is the connection between neurons, the basic building blocks of the brain, that we explored previously.

“Neurons that fire together wire together” – Carla Shatz

We learnt that neurons FIRE, which is where a positive charge travels from the receiving dendrites of the neuron, through the cell body, all the way to the axon at the other end.  In order for the neurons to build connections between themselves, one neuron must be firing at the same time as another.

When firing together the connection between the neurons is strengthened, and eventually a pattern of circuitry develops in which the activation of one neuron causes the other to activate. Read more