anonymous asked:

Why exactly does dissociation happen? I had a moment yesterday where I was pretty sure I was dissociating but I had no idea why. And when I got home I just went to sleep to a specific playlist, (the one I usually listen to when I dissociate) and when I woke up everything was fine.

That’s a good question- dissociation (or intense breaks from reality) can happen for a lot of different reasons. If you’re sure it’s not a physical issue (like seizures, drugs, etc), then it’s tied to how your brain functions. A lot of chronically dissociated people have a disconnect in the cortico-limbic system (amygdala, ACC, prefrontal structures). Many of those with dissociative disorders (trauma linked the vast majority of the time) show diminished activity in the occipito-temporal cortex and insula, as well as a smaller amygdala and hippocampus (emotional engagement and memory). 

So put simply, dissociation happens most commonly when your brain rewires itself to not engage with reality as much (to protect the self from trauma). PTSD is a trained overreaction to reality to protect the self, and cPTSD (and dissociation) is a complex disconnect from reality to protect the self from repeated trauma. 

We don’t know everything about dissociation and what causes it to spike- obviously, triggering events can do that, but sometimes dissociative spikes seem random. If sleeping it off helps to clear it up, that’s good! Grounding can help too, it’s just a matter of finding methods that work for you.
Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence
Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris

People often discount evidence that contradicts their firmly held beliefs. However, little is known about the neural mechanisms that govern this behavior. We used neuroimaging to investigate the neural systems involved in maintaining belief in the face of counterevidence, presenting 40 liberals with arguments that contradicted their strongly held political and non-political views. Challenges to political beliefs produced increased activity in the default mode network—a set of interconnected structures associated with self-representation and disengagement from the external world. Trials with greater belief resistance showed increased response in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and decreased activity in the orbitofrontal cortex. We also found that participants who changed their minds more showed less BOLD signal in the insula and the amygdala when evaluating counterevidence. These results highlight the role of emotion in belief-change resistance and offer insight into the neural systems involved in belief maintenance, motivated reasoning, and related phenomena.

What to do about stress-eating

Stress-eating (emotional eating when you’re not really hungry or your body doesn’t really need any more calories) is a very common issue for people coping with anxiety and/or depression.  Even in sub-clinical cases (where the difficulties with anxiety/depression is mild or transient) stress-eating can be a significant irritant and source of concern.  There’s no quick-fix for this difficulty, but there are some easy practices that quite often can act to reduce troubles with stress-eating.  

In terms of structural neurology, hunger and appetite appear to be mitigated by way of the amygdala, the hippocampus, the insula, and the orbitofrontal cortex.  Unfortunately, these same structural components are also heavily involved in experience of emotion.  And this may have much to do with how eating habits can be so often affected by feeling depressed and/or anxious.  

Put simply, feeling especially sad or worried accidentally tricks the brain into thinking that the body is hungry.  The involuntary aspects of our neurology are very susceptible to being tricked… and we can use that to our advantage.  
So, how do we trick our minds into thinking we are no longer hungry?  Of course the best (and most annoying) answer is to eat healthy and get lots of exercise.  Exercise gets the body to have a full parasympathetic reaction (an effective modulation of fight/flight stress).  But lets face it, getting lots of exercise can be pretty difficult when one is feeling depressed and/or anxious.  
Suggesting that a patient get more exercise almost always earns me the ‘Donna face’ - that look from the patient that sarcastically says, ‘oh thank you for suggesting something that is completely and entirely unhelpful.’

There are, however, easier things you can do that tricks your body into feeling its had exercise…
Here’s the easiest one: tense up the muscles in your arms and legs.  Curl your arms up into your chest constricting the muscles as hard as you can.  

Meanwhile, stretch your legs out, pointing your toes.  Hold this constricted pose for a count of ten.  

Then relax your muscles for another count of ten.  Repeat three times and then let your body fully relax, taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth.  

Doing this automatically causes a release of various hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with an effective reaction to stress.  It sort of completes a circuit that says to the involuntary parts of your brain that a fight-or-flight stress was encountered and effectively dealt with.  In turn, a secondary wave of hormones are released that helps the body to feel relaxed.  In other words, you can receive the neurological benefits of exercising without actually exercising.  
This process basically ‘chills out’ the amygdala, hippocampus, insula, and the orbitofrontal cortex.  Which in turn, reduces appetite and switches off that insatiable hunger.  Practicing this shortly after eating breakfast, lunch or dinner will even further enhance its effectiveness in terms of curbing your appetite.  

Trends I Hate, Roman Hipsters Edition
  • Gallo-British torcs, reproduction or original. They’re a symbol of HIGH RANK, worn by NOBLES, not some upper-middle class kid from the suburbs of Rome
  • Vintage togas that haven’t been in fashion since the Julio-Claudian dynasty, mostly because they’re ugly
  • Armenian hats worn by people who’ve never been further east than Corinth
  • “““““Traditional”“““““ handicrafts from ““““Galatia”“““ which are actually made by three Libyan women crammed into an insula room somewhere in Tarentum
  • Using Oscan words in Latin to ~honour your ancestors~ (or to show off how well-read you are!!!)
  • Women wearing the toga “ironically” and appropriating from sex workers
  • Obsession with Romanised Persian food and acting like you’re politically subversive for liking it
A Hymn to the Graces

Orphic Hymn 60, “To the Graces” (author unknown; date perhaps ca. 200-250 CE)

Hear me, o Graces of great names and shining honors,
You daughters of Zeus and of deep-bosomed Eunomia-
Aglaia, Thalia, and prosperous Euphrosyne:
You are the begetters of joy, lovely, benevolent, holy;
Your forms are ever-changing, your beauty ever-blossoming-
You inspire longing in mortals.
Men pray for your presence, you dancers in a ring-
Your faces are like flowers, you fill us with desire.
Come, then, o bestowers of prosperity,
Ever gentle toward the initiates.

Κλῦτέ μοι, ὦ Χάριτες μεγαλώνυμοι, ἀγλαότιμοι,
θυγατέρες Ζηνός τε καὶ Εὐνομίης βαθυκόλπου,
Ἀγλαΐη Θαλίη τε καὶ Εὐφροσύνη πολύολβε,
χαρμοσύνης γενέτειραι, ἐράσμιαι, εὔφρονες, ἁγναί,
αἰολόμορφοι, ἀειθαλέες, θνητοῖσι ποθειναί·
εὐκταῖαι, κυκλάδες, καλυκώπιδες, ἱμερόεσσαι·
ἔλθοιτ’ ὀλβοδότειραι, ἀεὶ μύσταισι προσηνεῖς.

The three Graces.  Fresco from Regio IV, Insula Occidentalis, Pompeii; now in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

From the 16th century onward, English writers who were scholars of Greek and Latin literature tried to link English words to their Graeco-Latin counterparts. They did this by adding silent letters to make the real or imagined links more obvious. Thus det became debt (to link it to Latin debitum), dout became doubt (to link it to Latin dubitare), sissors became scissors and sithe became scythe (as they were wrongly thought to come from Latin scindere), iland became island (as it was wrongly thought to come from Latin insula), ake became ache (as it was wrongly thought to come from Greek akhos), and so forth.

Oh my God, I never knew half of the most obnoxious English spelling/pronunication quirks were invented by sixteenth-century pedants trying to make things look more Latin to conform to their incorrect etymological theories. WHAT IS ENGLISH. This is better than anything I could have made up.

A fost odata ca niciodata o insula pe care traiau toate sentimentele: fericirea, tristetea, stiinta si multe altele, incluzand iubirea. Intr-o zi toate sentimentele au fost anuntate ca insula se va scufunda pe fundul oceanului. Asa ca sentimentele si-au pregatit barcile de plecare. Iubirea a fost singura care a ramas. Ea a vrut sa pastreze paradisul insulei pana in ultimul moment. Cand insula s-a scufundat aproape toata, Iubirea a decis ca e timpul sa plece. A inceput sa caute pe cineva caruia sa ii ceara ajutor. Tocmai atunci s-a intamplat ca Bogatia trecea pe acolo intr-o barca mare. Iubirea a intrebat: Bogatie, pot veni cu tine pe barca ta? Bogatia a raspuns: Imi pare rau dar este mult aur si argint pe barca mea si nu mai este loc si pentru tine. Atunci Iubirea s-a decis sa intrebe pe Vanitate. Ea a strigat: Vanitate, te rog ajuta-ma. Nu pot sa te ajut, esti uda toata si mi-ai strica frumoasa barca.- spuse Vanitatea. Apoi Iubirea o vazu pe Tristete. Iubirea zise: Tristete, lasa-ma te rog sa merg cu tine. Tristetea a raspuns: Iubire, imi pare rau dar acum simt nevoia sa fiu singura. Apoi Iubirea a vazut pe Fericire. Iubirea a strigat tare :Fericire, ia-ma cu tine te rog. Dar Fericirea se bucura prea tare ca sa mai auda pe Iubire strigand. Atunci Iubirea a inceput sa planga. Tocmai atunci auzi o voce spunand: Vino Iubire, am sa te iau cu mine in barca. Era un batran. Iubirea s-a simtit asa de binecuvantata si s-a bucurat asa de tare incat a uitat sa intrebe pe batran numele. Cand a sosit la mal batranul si-a urmat drumul. Iubirea a realizat cat de mult ii datoreaza acestuia. Atunci a intrebat pe Stiinta si aceasta i-a raspuns: A fost Timpul - ii spuse aceasta. Dar de ce m-a ajutat Timpul cand nimeni altcineva nu m-a ajutat? - a intrebat Iubirea. Stiinta a zambit si cu adanca intelepciune si sinceritate a raspuns: Pentru ca doar Timpul este capabil sa inteleaga cat de minunata e Iubirea.

The Neurological Pleasures of Fast Fashion

The Atlantic has an article today on the neurological pleasures of fast fashion. Not much new revealed here, except for the science behind what we already know – people like buying things and getting deals, and the culture of fast fashion has encouraged people to buy things they don’t really need. An excerpt: 

The researchers then showed the subject the item’s price. The medial prefrontal cortex weighed the decision, as the insula, which processes pain, reacted to the cost. Deciding whether to buy put the brain, as the study put it, in a “hedonic competition between the immediate pleasure of acquisition and an equally immediate pain of paying.” The mindset is in line with evidence that shows happiness in shopping comes from the pursuit of goods—from the sensation of wanting something.

While pleasure kicks in just from the act of looking, there’s also pleasure in purchasing, or more specifically, in getting a bargain. The medial prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that does what’s essentially cost-benefit analysis. “It seemed to be responsive not necessarily to price alone, or how much I like it, but that comparison of the two: how much I like it compared to what you charge me for it,” says Scott Rick, one of the study’s authors, now an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan.

Fast fashion perfectly feeds this neurological process. First, the clothing is incredibly cheap, which makes it easy to buy. Second, new deliveries to stores are frequent, which means customers always have something new to look at and desire. Zara stores famously gets two new shipments of clothes each week, while H&M and Forever21 get clothes daily. These brands are notorious for knocking off high-end designers, allowing the customer to get something at least superficially similar to the original at a small fraction of the cost, and they’re priced lower than the rest of the market, making their products feel like a bargain.


The consumption isn’t by any means limited to the U.S. Women in Britain, for instance, now own four times as much clothing as they did in 1980. This glut of clothing is having effects beyond stuffing our closets. About 10.5 million tons of clothes end up in American landfills each year, and secondhand stores receive so much excess clothing that they only resell about 20 percent of it. The remainder is sent to textile recyclers, where it’s either turned into rags or fibers, or, if the quality is high enough, it’s exported and cycled through a cut throat, global, used-clothing business.

You can read the rest here.

Guardian of Mortem Insula [Closed with oblitusstar]


Legend states that in ancient times, Mortem Insula was at one point a truly happy place to live. The merpeople who lived there were isolated from the world, no contact with humans except to when a ship passed by their island. 

Alas the paradise could not last forever. 

Pirates came upon the ancient shores and killed nearly every last merperson while they hid their ill gotten treasures. The lone survivor was a merboy barely sixteen. In his grief he unleashed his siren like voice calling for the pirates to die horrible deaths by the animals who called the island home. 

Once done, he turned to the gods asking them to freeze his heart, so that he could not feel the loss of his loved ones. The gods granted his wish with Sobek warning him that there will be a day when another soul would stir his heart and awaken what he has buried. 

In doing this, Ma’at the goddess of Harmony and Peace, blessed the boy to be the guardian of Mortem Insula. He was to protect the sacred treasure of the pantheon. 

No one knows what the treasure is and any ship who sailed near Mortem Insula was never seen again…

A child in these waters? the guardian thought as he came to investigate the wails of the infant. One of the many orcas who would come to the island was keeping hte infant’s head above water. “What the-” he started only to take the child so that the orca could return to its hunting. “Thanks.” he said as the orca squeaked and dove under. 

“How did you get out here, Little One?” he asked softly as he held onto the child. This wasn’t good. The guardian never allowed anyone to step foot upon Mortem Insula for fear of someone stealing the sacred treasure of the pantheon. Looking around for a ship he spotted on in the distance and sighed. “Idiot humans…” 

Well the only right thing to do was to take the child as his own. 

He though couldn’t dive with the infant in his arms so he called upon the Egyptian gods for help. It was Ma’at and Sobek who answered his call and after laughing a little Sobek blessed the child with a pink tail and blue fins. “Take care of him Markos.” Ma’at said calmly looking to the guardian of the island. 

With that the two divine beings left as Markos sighed. He looked down the boy and said, “You’ll be the first to have stepped foot upon the island in over three thousand years, Little One.” he explained before diving and heading back to the lagoon. He would have to take the boy to a more secluded place so that he could try swimming on his own. Why he was given the child, the gods only know. 


Daniel Regan (British, b. 1985, based London, UK) - From his Insula series which spans across a decade of shooting (2003-2013). Daniel continually made photographs as a means to document the emotional difficulties of living with a chronic mental health disorder, as well as using photography as a tool for recovery.