The Hijacking of the Amygdala

I have a glaring problem, and it doesn’t help whenever the other person also glares at me. It’s embarrassing and one of the symptoms associated with my psychosis. I learned that many other people have this problem, including individuals on the autism spectrum and individuals with a phobia for making eye contact. In nearly all cases, it is a simple, but shameful, process of have your brain freeze in which you can zero control over. Eventually the fear or excited response goes away, but the embarrassment stays with you.

It’s the opposite of when someone with gaping problem stares at someone with a deformity because you’re not standing riveted by the person, but the situation. When you yourself are the victim of glaring, it is because you feel excitement or fear, and you freeze; my brain can’t process information for a second. Unfortunately, others may see that and think something else.

So, I’ve been practicing how to avoid this situation. In lieu of taking MORE medication to solve this, which I am adamantly against, I realized through eye movement practice, I can solve this ongoing problem I have. I am still struggling with it, but it’s a start. I wanted to write a post about it because I witnessed how it was affecting a person I was working with recently, and he would stare back kind of angrily because of my glaring. I haven’t approached him on this whole rather stupid situation, but if I did I would tell him, “I apologize for staring, it turns out I have an anxiety disorder that gets sometimes triggered by all sorts of stimulus, and I am learning to work through it. I hope you understand.” He seems like a nice guy, so I’m sure he will be relieved to hear that information, and gladly accept my apology, but the overall problem is that there is no cure for this. I have to continue practicing better, more intuitive eye contact, as a result of my anxiety.

The anxiety will not go away, but the overcoming of eye contact anxiety might, and I’m learning that my journey through psychosis involves not only recovery, but all sorts of therapeutic treatments in the world of behavioral health that primarily reduce my general anxieties and reduce the potential feelings of consequence that result. I have a hidden disability, and for that I am grateful in many respects: I don’t have something that people will gawk at. I am intuitive enough to understand that I should not glare at those individuals with physical disabilities. I am working on understanding what may trigger such brain freezes in my own amygdala in order to be more sociable and happier as a result.

One of my good friends is on the autism spectrum, and he explained to me it took him some practice, especially to hold eye contact with superiors. Sometimes he will get frustrated in a meeting or a one-on-one, and walk-off and cry a little, because it almost hurts to maintain that posture. I can understand this. I usually just look away and stare off until I know I can resume a group project or continue talking without looking at the person in order to facilitate the conversation. I have never been embarrassed to talk in a public setting, but I know my eye contact is messed up because of my anxiety so I continue on, hopefully with everyone ignoring the mess I feel in my brain as a result.

Whatever the amygdala does is a great thing in the wilderness or brutal world of nature. The amygdala processes emotions and survival instincts. It is indeed MEANT to make the person wide-eyed and hyperviligant. It is only when it comes into contact with other disorders and neurodivergent conflicts that it becomes out of control, sensing excitement and danger in every corner of your universe, and exacerbates the already-trying aspects of the mind concerning paranoia, obsession, and the general worrying.

This is largely for the people I might have given the wrong impression over the years by glaring. I can’t believe this is a problem I have, but I have this general anxiety disorder that is accompanying my mental disorder, and I wanted to address it. I’m not lying, I’m not dodging a question, I’m not shy; I simply have an anxiety disorder that is being addressed through cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medication. I hope that explains it all.

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