I am in survival mode. This would be fine if I were fighting for my very life. Either way, my dependable, ancient primordial fear trigger has been engaged; and I can’t seem to find the brake. I use common sense to mediate my dilemma. I forget that I am dealing with a part of the brain that existed exclusively and solely to ensure the survival of prehistoric reptiles and dinosaurs. And, who has ever heard of a rational, thoughtful dinosaur? So, my superior, highly complex pre-frontal lobe is getting the crap beat out of it by my single-minded reptilian brain. My efforts to reason with my brain’s obvious misrepresentation of imminent danger is a bit like trying to explain to an outraged toddler that too much candy will rot their teeth and make them sick! The toddler’s ability to make decisions based on the future – to delay gratification – to use common sense, is years away. The toddler’s pre-frontal lobe is full of potential to be filled in at a later time. And, as developed as I’d like to think my pre-frontal lobe is, it’s no match for my reptilian brain’s belief that I am in mortal danger. But, this fact does not stop me from exhausting myself to achieve a higher level of functioning. And, my primitive reptilian brain cannot abandon its single mission to save my life. With the diligence of a salmon swimming upstream, it supplies me with enough adrenalin to lift a 5 ton truck with my bare hands. The same hands that, on some days, are unable to open a jar of pickles. Some people might say that I am experiencing anxiety. I prefer to think of it as an ‘ism’. I’ll call it reptilianism. I have to admire its stamina and patience. I am losing mine.
So, today, I am exercising my higher functioning skill of avoidance in an effort to divert its overzealous attempts to save me. Since thoughts and beliefs are often the triggers for behaviors, I decide to control my thoughts by way of the ancient art of self-induced sleep – an equally ancient survival technique against Reptilianism. I use another ancient tactic called deceit to overcome this persistent interruption to my sanity when I am awake. We’ve all heard about mind over matter. So, I subvert every single horrific negative thought with an equally powerful positive thought. I am no longer trying to reason with the unreasonable. But, I am making some headway. I find that the exercise results in lulling my Reptilianism into believing that the danger has passed. My deception appears to be working! The secret to this is to never allow a negative thought to rest for too long. Think of this as the well known torture tactic of sleep deprivation. As my reptilian brain becomes exhausted from the rapid transitions of thoughts, I begin to relax. The more I relax, the less likely it is that I will awake the sleeping dinosaur. This is exhausting work for both me and my brain. It would be so much easier if I had some real dinosaurs to take up arms against. Maybe a little hallucination would do the trick!