Sunday, March 28, 2004

Journal 4: Experiences related to my Amygdala (Retro Personal Entry)

(I am transcribing journal entries from before I started this net-journal. This one is from Early College.)

Psychology Instructor: Fred Sanborn

The Amygdala, a structure the size of a cherry tomato in the brain, is a group of neurons that fills you with emotion, helps you learn, as well as remember. When you're disturbed, upset, or outright angry, that is when the amygdala is at work. There is also memory being processed, especially when the event happened with strong emotion. Often, this event would have to stand out beyond the norm.

One time my amygdala was doing its job was when I used to work at Sykes, a call center right outside of Manhattan for various technology companies. One night, a drunken 58 year-old from California called in about a problem with his computer and the fact he couldn't use the Internet. He was very irate about this and made me feel fearful. He kept swearing, saying the Lord's name in vain, and making other rude remarks. I needed to reassure him that it was going to be all right, and be as compassionate and sympathetic as I coudl be. He gradually calmed down and became friendlier, and near the end of the call, he acted like he'd known me for over a year. I told him what he needed to do to get his computer problem solved, and the call ended there.
However, I will remember him for y ears to come, even if that call was one out of several hundreds I've done. In fact, he may have been the worst customer I've ever dealth with. Since I got a call from an angry person that made me fearful, the amygdala was working harder than usual, thus, I remember that call to this day.

Another fearful event in my life during which my amygdala was NOT working was when I was 7 years old. I was dining with my mother in a Dairy Queen in Junction City. A crime was in progress at the restaurant. I may not remember too clearly but it may have been a hold-up. I was at a window when the cops surrounded a car. Some other people were taken out and arrested. There was a young, black man in the front passenger seat, who I pointed at and said, "Hey, the cops forgot to arrest that guy!" Right then, a police officer vigorously waved for me to get away from the window. I then noticed another criminal pointing a gun at me. I just calmly walked away from the window and went behind a trash receptacle. A police officer came in and told everyone to leave the restaurant through a side door. We waited for a few minutes for the standoff to clear. When the officers told us we could come back in, I saw the criminals led into a police cruiser in handcuffs, and carted away. I didn't give much thought to the situation, finished eating there, and left. I do not know why the amygdala didn't work at the time, although I've had fears of other events in my life back then.

My amygdala works off-and-on throughout time, depending on the situation. It seems to be only human that what I don't fear is what another person may fear, and vice-versa. For what I don't fear that others would, sometimes I know why, other times, I don't! There are consistencies as well as inconsistencies that happen in our bodies every day. We do not take notice of them often.

No comments:

Post a Comment