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an interesting set of thoughts [May. 8th, 2009|09:08 am]
A while back, I was thinking about tracking states of mind. If a mind is centered, that's one state, if it's bouncing around, that's another, if it's hard to move (you have a hard time focusing on anything, or thinking about anything), that's a third.

The past few days, I've been realizing there's a similar thing to consider about emotions. I'd been emotionally disconnected earlier in the week. I wasn't depressed (which is one of the times when I'm most frequently disconnected), but I just wasn't particularly feeling anything.

And I was wondering if that's similar to a thinking state... akin to one's brain being tired/hard to move, versus emotionally stable, versus emotionally hypersensitive.

(Maybe not. That's a risky road to go down... equating thinking states and emotional states. But there might still be some use to the model.)

But I also realized that it's possible to disconnect from one's body, or from one's emotions, or from one's conscious thoughts, and none of those things are likely to be happy/healthy states to be in.

(Herm. I'm not saying that they're bad states to be in, necessarily, more that they're a sign of something is wrong. A person in chronic pain might try to pull away from their body as much as possible, and that might be a reasonable thing to do. But that level of disconnecting happens because there's another problem - the chronic pain.)

[User Picture]From: anansi133
2009-05-08 05:36 pm (UTC)
The 'safest' way I can think of to connect the emotional and the intellectual, is that they both confer some kind of survival value, or else we wouldn't have them.

I'm tempted to think that emotional process happens in a different timeframe than intellectual process. That glandular secretions take longer to flush out of the system than rational thoughts.

Using a crude machine metaphor, the 'thinking' that happens in a glandular system sets the modes for the more ephemeral nerve-system thinking. And the memories we have easiest access to in a particular emotional state will be different from those in another emotional state.

When I'm in a dissociated state, it's what I imagine a whiteout condition feels like in the arctic. Having to move with no sensory cues to navigate by. Only in my head, it's the emotional version of kinesthetics that are impacted. I don't have an emotional tone to tell me how I should be feeling about these thoughts I'm thinking.

The survival value for this condition escapes me, except maybe for extreme stress conditions where we can't even afford to feel anything about the stuff our brain has got to process. But I think there's a whole lot of occult emotional trauma, (occult as in hidden, like occult blood) that can't be spoken aloud in polite company.
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[User Picture]From: hopeevey
2009-05-10 09:46 pm (UTC)
We don't have certain traits because they have survival value, we have them because they randomly came up and either didn't hinder survival, or increased the chances of passing on genes. Earlobes, for instance, don't confer any survival value, but neither do they detract, so we still have them.
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[User Picture]From: sfw_dc
2009-05-08 05:56 pm (UTC)
I've experienced those states, and yes, every time it came from some sort of physical thing - the pain before the hip replacement, the hypothyroid condition. It is interesting to think about.
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From: kightp
2009-05-10 03:10 am (UTC)
Agreed. The recent Cold From Hell damped down my emotions like crazy; one way I knew I was actually recovering, despite the lingering cough, was that I began to *feel* things again. Not big-deal things, but just plain, everyday emotions.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2009-05-10 03:21 am (UTC)
I read recently that an active immune system can cause depression. One theory was that depression causes people to lie low and not do much, which lets the body use more energy for dealing with the infection/healing.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2009-05-10 03:22 am (UTC)
When you say "disconnecting from one's emotions" that implies there are emotions in you and you're ignoring them. What if at certain times there just aren't very many emotions to begin with?
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2009-05-13 05:10 am (UTC)
Well, that might be the real question, honestly. My unconscious assumption was that they were there, but I was pulling away enough that they were flattened. But how is that different from not being there?

Today was one of those days that reminded me of a good reason I'd have for pulling away from emotional responses, alas.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2009-05-13 05:28 am (UTC)
Today was one of those days that reminded me of a good reason I'd have for pulling away from emotional responses, alas.

That sounds unpleasant. :-(
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