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How does the mind protect itself?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

The mind is used to protecting itself from threats by overlooking and denying them. When the stress is too much to absorb, your mind is able to dam the flood of shock and distress for a while by numbing itself.

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
The mind is used to protecting itself from threats by overlooking and denying them. Even though something very bad might be easily predictable -- heart disease in a person who never exercises, smokes, and eats a high-fat diet -- the news that you have a potentially fatal condition arrives with a shock. If your mind has lulled itself successfully enough, a huge amount of distress that has long been stuffed away now erupts all at once. This stress is too much to absorb. By numbing itself, your mind is able to dam the flood for a while.

In the natural course of time, shock and numbness end. The pent-up energies of anger, fear, and grief want to find a way out. Yet a person can curtail their natural flow, remaining numb by choice. One can decide at some level that resistance is the only way to survive. Since none of us can say that we have freed ourselves completely from the traumas of the past, psychiatrists uncover huge reservoirs of pain in people who thought that their only problem was insomnia or the inability to hold on to a relationship.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.