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- Apr 2019
Thalamus: Our Thalamus is like a cook. It takes in info from all the senses and then blends it with our autobiographical memory. Breakdown of the thalamus explains why trauma is primarily remembered not as a story with a beginning, middle, or end, but as isolated sensory imprints: images, sounds, physical sensations that are accompanied by intense emotions usually terror and helplessness. In normal circumstances, the thalamus also acts as a filter or gatekeeper. This makes it a central component of attention, concentration, and new learning—all of which are compromised by trauma. People with PTSD have their floodgates wide open. Lacking a filter, they are on constant sensory overload. In order to cope, they try to shut themselves down and develop tunnel vision and hyperfocus. If they can’t shut down naturally, they may enlist drugs or alcohol to block out the world. The tragedy is that the price of closing down includes filtering out sources of pleasure and joy as well.