Sunday, January 18, 2015. I am yet again having my gift (that at the same time feels so much like a curse) for being able to inwardly see “the writing on the wall” ahead of scientific research that I can locate and use to confirm my suspicions — confirmed. Such processes as are explicated in the research paper I am referring to in this post existed to me in my “gut thinking” nearly from the start of my exploration a decade ago to discover what happened to me that so changed my life due to my exposure to the severe, consistent and psychotic abuse I endured from my mother from the moment I was born.
I “knew” and still know that it is genetically programmed into human beings from their beginnings at conception to anticipate in a profoundly EXPECTANT manner on all levels of their developing physiology to be born into a WONDERFUL world. Our species would not have endured and survived if momentary bouts of optimal conditions surrounding our birth and development had not periodically occurred.
This is tied in my deepest understandings of human life to the fact that what goes most rightly for humans happens because we are biologically not only created to EXPECT a wonderful life, but we are created to be able to adapt in ways that change “how we come out” if anything less than optimal exists in the world we are being created for and born into.
Always it is the biological hope that “best times” will return to our species that individuals are designed to adapt and change their development to help continue ongoing life for the species with the HOPE that optimal, good times will return. Someday. To someone. At some time in the future.
As the brief article excerpts below discuss, there are “critical windows” in human development during which developmental processes pass through that once completed cannot be returned to again. Yes, the question of what can be “restored” when degrees of change in response to less-than optimal and even downright horribly traumatic experiences have taken place once a critical window has closed are being increasingly examined to restore both hope and healing where it is needed most, gaining a true understanding of the processes involved takes the WORK of serious study.
Truth is, doing this kind of exploratory study is exhausting to me on every level of my self-hood I can imagine. Truth is, I am tired. Where exactly is the line between the “work” that belongs to one generation and the “work” that belongs to the next and proceeding generations? I am not officially OLD at 63, but the degree of trauma from birth I survived until I left home at 18 COST me so, so dearly. I am worn out.
Yet I fight on. Something within me FORCES me to continue to look for the CONTEXT within which developmental trauma happens and heals.
My inner “writing on the wall” self knows the bigger picture. Little old regular me? I DON’T want to know. I don’t want ANY of this to be relevant in my life.
But it is relevant. How much of the task life has seemed to assign to me can I actually DO? What would be the end-point? How will I know what I have contributed to the ongoing search for what trauma does to people has been “good enough?” When I fall down in my traces and cannot get up?
Or do I simply be kinder to myself until other aspects of my current existence change to be more in my favor?
Truth is, most of what has sustained me over the years of my studies existed in the place I call home along the Mexican-American border in southeastern Arizona. I am HOMESICK in every possible. I cannot replenish my self where I am currently living. The conditions here are hostile to my nature. I want to and need to go home.
But, I have also made an inner commitment to remain here caring full-time weekdays for my youngest grandson until he turns 3 the end of this coming July. I am working with him to irrevocably help him establish his self-hood. The current stage’s development has to do with my helping him not only learn how to talk in words, but how to recognize his thoughts, the life of his mind, and how to pursue and foster his innate love of learning.
By the end of this coming August I plan to find a way to leave here and GO HOME. This by itself presents a huge challenge to me considering my continued poverty and trauma-changes related disabilities.
On the other side of the coin of my own personal challenges, I learned an important new term today, the one I have been waiting for as it rests above what I knew before I could find the science to back me up: EXPERIENCE EXPECTANCY
“In addition to the experience-dependent adaptation there is the often-overlooked concept of experience-expectant development, which was established by Greenough et al. (1987). According to this concept distinct developmental time periods exist, during which the brain expects and “waits” to interact with the environment, that is, only if the brain is exposed to a certain amount of experience its functions can be adapted and optimized. Joseph applied this concept to describe the environmental influences on neuronal development and its consequences for emotional development and attachment (Joseph, 1999).”
“Since a major hallmark of experience-dependent as well as experience-expectant development is the existence of developmental time windows, the behavioral outcome of perinatal adverse experience should be a function of the timing and duration of the stress exposure (Andersen, 2003; Andersen and Teicher,2008).”
These statements are included in this extremely important 2014 article:
Front Neurosci. 2014 Feb 5;8:11. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00011. eCollection 2014.
From this article
“Environmental influences such as perinatal stress have been shown to program the developing organism to adapt brain and behavioral functions to cope with daily life challenges. Evidence is now accumulating that the specific and individual effects of early life adversity on the functional development of brain and behavior emerge as a function of the type, intensity, timing and the duration of the adverse environment, and that early life stress (ELS) is a major risk factor for developing behavioral dysfunctions and mental disorders. Results from clinical as well as experimental studies in animal models support the hypothesis that ELS can induce functional “scars” in prefrontal and limbic brain areas, regions that are essential for emotional control, learning and memory functions. On the other hand, the concept of “stress inoculation” is emerging from more recent research, which revealed positive functional adaptations in response to ELS resulting in resilience against stress and other adversities later in life. Moreover, recent studies indicate that early life experiences and the resulting behavioral consequences can be transmitted to the next generation, leading to a transgenerational cycle of adverse or positive adaptations of brain function and behavior. In this review we propose a unifying view of stress vulnerability and resilience by connecting genetic predisposition and programming sensitivity to the context of experience-expectancy and transgenerational epigenetic traits. The adaptive maturation of stress responsive neural and endocrine systems requires environmental challenges to optimize their functions. Repeated environmental challenges can be viewed within the framework of the match/mismatch hypothesis, the outcome, psychopathology or resilience, depends on the respective predisposition and on the context later in life.” (Bock, Rether, Gröger, Xie & Braun, 2014).
“…during perinatal sensitive periods the environment exerts a critical impact on the maturation of brain structure and function (Weinstock, 2008; Korosi and Baram, 2009; Fox et al., 2010; Loman and Gunnar, 2010; Lucassen et al., 2013). Structural abnormalities related to early adverse experience are mostly found in brain regions that are involved in the control and mediation of emotionality, providing a direct link between childhood adversity and psychopathological behavior in adulthood (McCrory et al., 2010). Moreover, the outcome of stress exposure depends on the maturational status of a given brain region, e.g., disorders arising from exposure to adversity at times of frontal cortex development should differ from those of the hippocampus or the amygdala. The experience-dependent synaptic reorganization can be viewed as a general principle of perinatal brain development, where a genetic predisposition interacts with environmental and psychological “epigenetic” factors. As a consequence, synaptic circuitries adapt or maladapt to an adverse environment such as socio-emotional neglect, abuse and traumatic experience. This can result in dysfunctional neuronal systems, which might trigger the emergence of mental disorders later in life (Furukawa et al., 1999; Agid et al., 2000; Van Den Bergh et al., 2006; Cirulli et al., 2009).”
Now it seems that the spigot has been opened full bore and there is so much new information appearing that I feel I will be sucked into it and never again appear as my “ordinary” kind of self.
Here is just one more example of what I have found today in my search for sources of information:
“The goal of the current review is to illustrate how the circuitry of the developing PFC can be sculpted by a wide range of pre- and postnatal factors. We begin with an overview of prefrontal functioning and development, and we conclude with a consideration of how early experiences influence prefrontal development and behavior.” (Kolba, Mychasiuka, Muhammada, Lia, Frost, & Gibb, 2012)
“It is now clear that even fairly innocuous-looking experiences can profoundly affect brain development and that the range of experiences that can alter brain development is much larger than had once been believed. In addition, although it has been known for some time that sensory cortical regions are very responsive to early experiences, it has only recently been shown that the PFC is at least as sensitive to a wide range of stimuli (Table 1).”
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Bryan Kolba, Richelle Mychasiuk, Arif Muhammad, Yilin Lia, Douglas O. Frost, and Robbin Gibb
Edited by Gene E. Robinson, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL, and approved July 20, 2012 (received for review February 13, 2012)
Please see next post:
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