These evolved and denied instincts seem to be expressed in all the symptoms of bipolar disordered states, such as freeze energized depression with its withdrawal from engagement. Flight/fight energy discharged as chaotic thinking and behavior can be seen in mania. If we resist the easy logic that would see 'feign death' in a literal sense, we can accept such well known sensations as acute embarrassment, fainting, shock and the many symptoms of dissociation as varying degrees of parasympathetic stimulation.
Our social world is an evolved adaptation of instinctual energies, based on an extraordinary range of emotional expression involving the head and face. When social connectedness has followed a normal path and the neural stimulation of our evolved (SES) social engagement system flows smoothly, life is good and we feel ok. Trauma of any kind though, whether conditioned by birth, neglect, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, torture or events like war will bypass the SES and trigger older survival defenses through the mechanism of neuroception, and the neural stimulation of the (ANS).
There is a growing recognition of trauma and its damage to the human psyche, with increasing interest in mindful awareness of sensations and somatic therapies of release. Although we are comfortable with the idea of releasing tensions by manipulating the body, we are far less comfortable with the notion that such tensions may be trauma stimulated.
Over the last forty years Peter Levine has built up an extraordinary insight into the nature of human trauma and how it manifests. His 1997 book “Waking the Tiger,” described his unique views on PTSD as trapped survival energies needing to be discharged. His ideas and success in treating trauma sufferers with his unique approach, helped lead to a revolution in the mindful approach to emotional issues.
Raw survival energies of denied instincts drive my experience of so-called mental illness, with the kind of core release seen in the animal world simply not acceptable in the matrix of our social world. Other trauma specialists have developed techniques like David Berceli's (TRE) Trauma Release Exercises, seen here in Trauma Recovery for Women.
Is bipolar disorder really a disorder of instinct, as trapped survival energies seek expression?
Neuroception?-An Unconscious Perception?