Meet my inner lizard. In scientific language his name is AMYGDALA, but I call him Herman. Herman is in charge of everything that has to do with any raw emotions. Like FEAR, ANGER, JOY, GRIEF and LOVE.
Every time I experience a feeling, it is Herman’s doing. He is very good at his job. His job is to respond to what happens inside me or around me, and specifically alert me if there is danger nearby, and prepare me for either flight, fight or hide mode. If he did not do this, I would perhaps be at risk of getting killed several times a day. Herman is very important to me.
As I said, Herman is very good at his job. Sometimes, though he gets stuff mixed up. You see, Herman is also in charge of the memory of feelings I have had in situations where Herman has had to warn me about something dangerous. So, let’s say that Herman once warned me about a car turning the corner just as I stepped off the curb. Herman HEARD the car, and yelled “DANGEROUS CAR!”, and flooded my brain and blood with adrenaline, so I could quickly step back onto the sidewalk. The sudden rush of adrenaline and appearance of the car just inches from me created a memory of fear in me, associated with the sound of a speeding car.
Herman is good at his job. He is not very bright though, he cannot tell real from not-real. So next time he hears a speeding car f.i when I am safe on the sidewalk on my way into a store, he will yell “DANGEROUS CAR!” and flood my brain and blood with adrenaline AND the memory of fear.
There is no speeding car to be afraid of, but Herman can only remember the SOUND and the FEAR, he cannot check if there is a car.
This affects how I respond to the sound of speeding cars.
Herman has hundreds maybe even thousands of ideas about what is dangerous to him and me. But since he is not very bright, and cannot tell real from not-real, he needs me to keep him informed about the realness of stuff he warns me about. If I didn’t give him that information, he would keep himself and me in a constant state of panic.
Luckily for me, Herman is not very fit. He can’t keep flooding me with fear and adrenaline for more than a few seconds at a time (10 seconds at the most), before he needs a breather. When he is taking his breather, there is room for ME to step in and either tell him to calm down or divert him by adding a stimulus that is not connected to what Herman is freaking out about.
Music is very good, or positive white noise like cat-purring. Something that will catch Herman’s attention in a good way.