CHRYSALIS: Mental Health & Trauma Specialists, LLC
The brain processes information in a complex way so we can survive.
The following is a step by step general description of how we process information.
Step 1 – Information enters our system through our senses (seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, or touching)
Step 2- The brain has a filter that acts like a door-person saying to new information “yes, you can enter” or “no, you cannot enter.” This door-person has control over how we perceive information and experiences.
Step 3- The information moves to the ticket taker. The ticket taker (amygdala) looks at the information and labels it with an emotion. The first label the ticket taker gives is “DANGER” or “NO DANGER”
Step 4 -Next, the ticket taker sends the information to the lobby before you take your seat (hippocampus). Here information mixes with other information and is segregated into “useful data” and “useless data” like the body sensation we feel during an event.
Step 5 – Then the information is greeted by the usher (thalamus) and lead up the steps (aka anterior Cingulate gyrus) to the second floor Director’s Circle or Stadium seats (aka pre-frontal cortex).
Step 6 – Then the information files into their seats (pre-frontal cortex) in a very orderly way and the lobby (hippocampus) is cleared out so new information can enter and the brain is calm.
Step 4 -Next, the ticket taker rushes the information through the lobby (hippocampus) and passes it off to the usher (thalamus) to the front row of seats (survival part of the brain aka hypothalamus). This is where the “show” or event excites us.
Step 5 – The excitement of the show incites one of three reactions (1) the Master of Ceremonies/Announcer (the reptilian brain) tells the audience to rage against the information (fight response) or (2) run away as fast as you can (flight response) or (3) stay very still and do what you are told even though you are petrified (freeze and thwart response).
Step 6 – The audience (body of the person) does what the MC/Announcer tells them to do with no rational thought.
Step 7 – Then after the danger is gone the audience in the front row seats (hypothalmus) stays in the seats even after the event is over to make sure that reaction is remembered just in case the MC/Announcer shows up again. This way the same reaction can happen faster.
Step 8 – The audience in the front row (hypothalamus) and the MC/Announcer (reptilian brain) work hard to refuel the system and add some extra so they are prepared for the next time. Instead of one hot dog they will eat five…or add extra alcohol while waiting for the game. This refuel process keeps the front row audience and the MC/Announcer looking for the substance that will help them numb the system due to the fear that the previous “show” will happen again.
Step 9 – Once the audience is refueled, they will try to find activities to keep their attention away from what might happen…aka the previous show. Many times the front row will buy alot of souvenirs (compulsive shopping), or will keep going to the restroom to clean up (compulsive cleaning/washing), or they may even try to use sexual behavior to get the release of a climax, forcing the system to be very calm (aka parasympathetic response).