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the pain matrix

i have been watching the brain with david eagleman on pbs. i’m learning so much from it.

the last episode titled why do i need you? explored the near social requirement for individuals and and the human race as a whole. as usual the show came packed with lots of fascinating information.

imagethe show talked of an experiment. in the experiment, the subjects played catch with two virtual players. the study monitored the brain as the game of catch went on. soon, the virtual players began to exclude the subject. as time went on, the virtual players completely eliminated the subject. at that time, the pain matrix, the parts of the brain that activate when feeling physical pain lit up in the subject.

just think of the ramifications. every time your friends go out without you, your pain matrix lights up. every time someone gets picked last on the playground, their pain matrix lights up. every time you have evidence that people are talking about you behind your back, your pain matrix lights up. every time a loved one pushes you away or rejects you, your pain matrix lights up. every time you don’t feel accepted your pain matrix lights up. every red check mark lights up the pain matrix since you get excluded from the cool group with each wrong answer. when brothers and sisters don’t call, my pain matrix lights up. that all sucks!

imagethen i enter my way back machine, to my early childhood. every time my parents rejected me, my pain matrix lit up. many times I felt alone, I felt like I didn’t belong, and my pain matrix lit up. every time my parents couldn’t accept me for who i was and where i was, my pain matrix lit up.

i learned pain from an early age, and i have experienced the pain of not fitting in far too often. pain, sadly, has become second nature. i know pain far too well. that sucks!

let see. i isolate. when i isolate, i’m alone. when i’m alone, i feel excluded. when i’m excluded, my pain matrix lights up. and yet knowing this, i find it very hard to escape the isolation. that keeps me in a pain cycle. that sucks!

This entry was posted in checkin, depression, education, emotions and tagged , on by .

About bipolarsojourner

i have struggled with episodic depression for years. i then received a diagnosis of being bipolar, only to find out i didn’t. ends up my psychiatrist really meant to say that multiple bouts of depression are often best treated like bipolar. i had already started this blog as bipolar sojourner and didn't want to switch it over. i am documenting my journeys through my depression jungle.

3 thoughts on “the pain matrix

  1. Shrewed Up

    That does suck. Another way of looking at your pain matrix, however, is the invariable strength it has given you to survive the darkness as you spin through your cycles of depression. I’m not trying to give advice, just support. I always think of “Inside Out” and the unbalanced perception of life when we allow one emotion to override the others. Perhaps some of the pain matrix can be disconnected if we choose to do so? Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean that we can choose not to be depressed. Depression is completely different. I just think that perhaps pieces of the pain matrix can be overcome, even forgiven so that we can move forward in our lives.

    1. bipolarsojourner Post author

      i guess the point i was trying to make is biologically our bodies are wired to kick of the same part of the brain for pain and exclusion. sounds crazy, but that’s what the research shows. i’ve spent to much of my life feeling like i’m don’t fit in.

      btw, pbs has an excellent online presence. the entire brain episode, and series, for that matter, are available online. they also have nova episodes going back 4 yards and every episode of downton abbey, if your into those sort of things. sorry, no series on stats. (-:


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