“…why do I yield to that suggestion/Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair/And make my seated heart knock at my ribs”*

*Spoken by Macbeth, in Act 1 Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s MACBETH (1606).

From: Part II of the Project for a Scientific Psychology (1950 [1895]), by Sigmund Freud:

“It is quite an everyday experience that the generation of affect inhibits the normal passage of thought, and in various ways. This happens, firstly, in that many paths of thought are forgotten which would ordinarily come into account – similarly, that is, to what occurs in dreams. Thus, for instance, it happened to me during the agitation caused by a great anxiety that I forgot to make use of the telephone, which had been introduced into my house a short time before. The recent pathway succumbed in the affective state: facilitation – that is, what was old-established – gained the upper hand. This forgetting involves the disappearance of the power of selection, of efficiency and of logic in the passage of thought, very much as happens in dreams. Secondly, affect inhibits thought in that without forgetting, pathways are followed which are ordinarily avoided: in particular, pathways leading to discharge, such as actions performed in the affective state. In conclusion, the affective process approximates to the uninhibited primary process.”

Dorothy L. Sayers, in her 1923 mystery novel (in which she introduced the character of Lord Peter Wimsey), Whose Body?:

“Very well. Now, if you stimulate those damaged places in your brain again, you run the risk of opening up the old wounds. I mean, that if you get nerve-sensations of any kind producing the reactions which we call horror, fear, and sense of responsibility, they may go on to make disturbance right along the old channel, and produce in their turn physical changes which you will call by the names you were accustomed to associate with them—dread of German mines, responsibility for the lives of your men, strained attention and the inability to distinguish small sounds through the overpowering noise of guns…This effect would be increased by extraneous circumstances producing other familiar physical sensations—night, cold or the rattling of heavy traffic, for instance.” “Yes.” “Yes. The old wounds are nearly healed, but not quite. The ordinary exercise of your mental faculties has no bad effect. It is only when you excite the injured part of your brain.” “Yes, I see.” “Yes. You must avoid these occasions. You must learn to be irresponsible, Lord Peter.” “My friends say I’m only too irresponsible already.” “Very likely. A sensitive nervous temperament often appears so, owing to its mental nimbleness.”

From: veteransservicelse.nhs.uk:

“People who experience or witness traumatic or life-threatening events may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress, commonly known as PTSD. Events which can contribute to PTSD include those where you felt as if your life or the lives of others were in danger or you felt you had no control over what was happening, witnessing others being injured or dying or being physically harmed yourself.

PTSD can develop soon after a traumatic event. However, it may develop many months or even years later. PTSD is a natural human reaction to having experienced traumatic or life-threatening events. These could include events during military service or at other times in your life, including childhood…”

London, 07.september 2015: Henning Jordet, Chief of Psychology, leader of Clinic of personality psychiatry, Brønderslev, Denmark:

“Reflective Functioning (RF): assesses capacity to conceptualize mental states in oneself and others.
Panic/Symptom-Specific Reflective Functioning (PSRF): assesses capacity to conceptualize mental states connected with panic attacks/anxiety events.
Marie Rudden M.D., Barbara Milrod M.D. Mary Target, Ph.D, Steven Ackerman Ph.D. (2006)

Why mentalizing anxiety?
Patients with anxiety disorders have an impaired mentalizing capacity when their attachment system is activated, and when in anxiety.
Therefore, their panic attacks and phobia are not understood, as they lack the capability to “see themselves from the outside”.
Mentalizing promotes autonomy and meaning; whole, it prevents inner chaos and unpredictability.
Mentalization reduces anxiety.
It helps us understand our needs, fears and feelings rather than act on them.”

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