Who am I?

Who Am I and what business do I have in telling you about fear and anxiety?

I have had lower back pain for years.  I have been to doctors and used muscle relaxers.  I have tried various exercises.  For years, people kept saying, “You should be doing Yoga for your back.” 

Well, I don’t like to be told what to do. So, I didn’t.  (do Yoga that is)

Last year, someone close to me got me to try Yoga.  Guess what?  My back pain is way better and I don’t use medication any stronger than an aspirin.

What’s the morale? Sometime, life sends us an answer, usually in the form of other people, and we just won’t listen. 

You may be dealing with fear and anxiety or their ugly stepsibling, depression.  If so, I hope you will find some helpful words or, at least, an occasional smile on this blog.  I am not trying to fix your problems, just trying to provide a different perspective on them. 

I am a licensed counselor (LCPC) in the state of Illinois.  That is the least important of my credentials.  The most important is my 61 years (as of 2011) of living.  I grew up with fear and anxiety.  I learned that the antidote for those things is hope and enthusiasm.  I learned that long before I decided to change careers and become a counselor.

I called this blog “Almond in Your Head” because there is a small structure in the brain called the “Amygdala”.  The Amygdala functions as our early warning threat detector.  The word “Amygdala” is Latin for “almond”.

The Amygdala is not the beginning and end of fear and anxiety.  It is just one piece of the puzzle.  Nevertheless, knowing that the brain has a special part that is built JUST for threat detection is useful.  It tells us the importance evolution placed on threats.
Indeed, the Amygdala seems to have a bias for seeing things as threats even when they are not.  Better to react and THEN realize the object next to your foot is a stick not a snake, than to NOT react and get bitten.

Cats and dogs and other complex mammals have this same structure.  It’s part of what brain scientists sometimes call the Limbic System.  The Limbic system has a lot to do with emotions.

Everything was fine until evolutions did a dumb thing.  It produced the parts of our brain that are capable of conscious thought. 

Oops!  Did that cause all kinds of problems.

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About almondhead

I am a mental health counselor in private practice. One of the focuses of my practice is helping people with fear, anxiety and their ugly stepsister, depression. I became a counselor after a long career in the technology world, so naturally, I think of the brain as an engineering problem. It can help to understand something about how the brain works. I decided to start this blog as a way to help other people learn about fear, anxiety and relationship. (All our problems are really about relationships.) You can also find me at: www.virtuallyfearless.com www.PsychologyToday.com www.theravive.com http://www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com/
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