Yesterday, I told a story about Bob the gazelle.
He gets chased (and captured!) by Mary the cheetah and almost becomes her lunch.
Baz the hungry hyena appears.
Baz wants Mary’s lunch and he’s going to do whatever he can to get it.
Luckily for Bob the gazelle, when Baz appears, Mary has to unwrap her teeth from Bob’s neck and deal with the hyena.
That means she’s distracted.
Bob doesn’t stick around to see what happens.
He gets up and bounces away… looking for those gazelle babes he loves.
That was the story from yesterday… and after the story, I asked you a question:
Does Bob the gazelle have PTSD after this?
Negative thoughts and a racing mind?
An “ego” that he wants to transcend or destroy?
In other words…
Does it ruin his life – like traumatic experiences often do for humans?
Or does he simply go back to eating grass in peace and chasing those gazelle babes with the long, lithe legs he loves?
The answer is:
He does NOT end up with PTSD and whatever else.
He just goes back to enjoying his life. He chows down on grass and chases gazelle babes.
Why doesn’t Bob get PSTD or negative thoughts or anxiety after this?
There’s a couple of good reasons.
One reason is that unlike a human, Bob doesn’t head to the local bar and tell everyone how bad his day was.
He doesn’t sit around and dwell on the bad stuff that happened.
It would only generate more fear and pain AFTER the event has passed… and that would be a total waste of energy.
Bob simply moves on with his life.
The other reason is because he RAN away.
All the fear that pumped through his body during his ordeal?
It didn’t stay in his body, lodged in his muscles, organs and mind.
He discharged it into the earth when he ran away instead.
Now replace the gazelle with a child and the cheetah with a parent (or abusive adult)… and well, forget the hyena (poor Baz 😭).
But instead of the parent trying to eat the child, imagine a typical scenario that we all face as kids.
Maybe the kid is scared and wants to run away.
Or maybe he’s angry and wants to attack his parents to get rid of them… if only temporarily.
The problem is…
He can’t run away because he’s 4 years old. He has no money and nowhere to go. He’d die out in “the wild” without his parents.
He also can’t attack his parents either. They’re bigger than him. Stronger. And so it’s not safe for him to attack them.
He also has this beautiful thing called a human brain… which allows him to form painful memories that he’ll think about later in his life.
(All of this happens unconsciously btw… it’s all part of the elaborate survival mechanism inside his nervous system that’s designed to keep him safe.)
So unlike Bob the gazelle…
The little kid doesn’t discharge the survival stress (by using it to drive behaviour like running away or attacking).
Instead, the kid holds it in so it stays in his body and mind.
He’ll also think about this event later… if only subconsciously.
And so, unlike Bob, this boy (or girl) ends up with PTSD, anxiety, depression and all kinds of other funky stuff.
All because he didn’t discharge the survival stress from this traumatic event with his parents and process the related memories.
Welcome to life on earth 🤷
It ain’t always pretty.
There is hope for all of us.
Beautiful, breathtaking hope.
The best part?
We don’t have to think about what happened to us to set ourselves free.
In fact, thinking usually just gets in the way.
That’s tomorrow’s Daily Rage.
P.S. In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the video of this email is based on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p62fMDqGOps
Give it a watch and let me know what you think.