We are forced to select between the immensity of information that our receivers collect, which we think is important and which can be neglected (active response, selective perception). In the same way, we are not interested in perceptions that are irrelevant to those that are essential at any given time.
To filter the stimuli the brain has a system to make stimuli of a similar intensity, think for example of a background noise and a conversation that I want to hear, come to consciousness arranged, that is, the conversation in the foreground. Another example might be that I am aware that I am carrying a light sheet of paper in my hand, while not realizing that I have a kilogram of clothes on me.
Conversely, we can also make retroactive propagation of neural networks: make a certain stimulus – usually not very intense – can be felt with greater intensity than it would be usual. For example, we have touched the friendly, but dirty dog of a friend, and when we see him suddenly scratching, we think “ What if I had bedbugs and I would have taken them by stiffening his hair? ” We sent an exception signal – this system would not work with other signals that were not true exception signals, so that if we had not thought that really the dog had bedbugs would be impossible – and then we are able to feel in different areas of the skin, in an abnormally intense way, an itching that confuses us more than clarifies the doubt we have about whether or not the annoying bugs.
The brain is able to activate an area of the skin in a similar way as if it were stimulated by the outside (by a pressure, rubbing, temperature, etc.) in order to search more precisely for something that is expected to be found in the cloud of stimulated points. By a similar mechanism, if we present a sheet of dots (blurred drawing) and ask the person what he sees, he will not recognize anything; but if we tell him that there is a duck, he quickly finds it, guided by a previous pattern that imposes on the diffuse signals that enter his visual field. He knows what to look at, as we could say of the hypersensitive who knows what to feel.
In the previous example of bed bugs, against more concern, against more alarm we generate due to the uncertainty of not knowing if we are infected, the more intense and lasting itching becomes, as if what itchy is no longer an annoying stimulus but to be upset for our own concern.
In fact, a high degree of anxiety can cause discomfort that may not find relief: for example, we are very nervous but we cannot get up from a chair, and we must even simulate composure, then itching occurs due to the same stiffness of the posture and the fact that we cannot perform the movements we usually do to accommodate ourselves.
The discomfort of not knowing itself free from contamination therefore induces a certain stiffening of the skin under study, leaving it rigid so that it is the object of study – instead of accommodating it, moving it naturally – which, added to what it produces the same expectation of what we fear to find (we look with similar interest both what we want and what we fear) results in a real itch, which is there, that we observe with the same objectivity as if by touching a public bus bar we instantly acquired a Scabies, or by leaning on a wall, opportunistic fleas would have taken our skin into assault.
Itching is a kind of itching, it is as if it were produced by the causes that we fear in a way too similar to the real case, and that is why it makes us doubt, and when we hesitate to suspend the sensations to study them . Up to a certain point we have the ability to make the sensations last a little longer, to make them have halo, as when we eat, to taste with fruition, to feel the weight that we have got rid of, a kiss that lasts, even hallucinated, after the lips have separated.
There is no way to resolve this dilemma until we reach the point where we act in a relaxed way. Only then, by suppressing that alarm signal that, looking for abnormalities, generates strange sensory sensations, will we be able to know if really, in a new framework of normalized sensitivity, is there something strange in the skin.
Pretending that nothing we are concerned, acting lightly, making as if nothing happened worth mentioning, though not entirely the truth, calm imposed no longer occur. With a bit of expertise and training, the category of “ important ” that the sensation has can be suppressed and so that the perceptions are cushioned in its deaf secondary state.
The mocked attention, because we can bet blatantly on what is worth the most, deprives of hypersensitivity food, which is ultimately increased sensitivity by the same frightened attention that we directed.
An annoying chronic pain can despair us, constantly capture our attention with his anguished cry that asks us to complain, study his abnormal presence, wait for him, evaluate his growth. And to the extent that it becomes the main focus of interest, he gives us his best clothes of unpleasant impertinence.
In contrast to a wave of pain that stuns, irritates and disorganizes us, the stoic attitude of surpassing it, of making us clueless, of neglecting it to hold us to vital passions that resist sinking into the background, we achieve, rather than cancel its existence, which, by not rebelling, by not fighting, by accepting it and living with it without questioning, we simply cease to perceive it with deranged intensity.
Sometimes parents induce frightfully feeling to children who have a small wound, a rub, a small discomfort. Because of their excessive love and protection they are quick to care, giving importance to the pain deduced by the child through the same diligence and fuss (“ Let’s see, see … huy, poor thing!, What a wound has been done … blows blows so that the evil goes away .. ”) with which it is treated. This is an example of how later that child, as an adult, can be hypersensitive to pain, by the art of magnifying him for his excess of faint-hearted concern.
The same physical manifestations of anxiety can be seen as threatening by itself: chest tightness, choking sensation, a bolus in the throat that seems to impede the passage of food, heat, sweat, tremor, the vertigo.All the set of sensations that produces an anguishing activation of a certain relief, and that in circumstances in which we were absorbed by unraveling a justified external danger (we are assaulted, suddenly broken, we climb into a striking fairground attraction) we would not even lend you, however, when it seems to us that anguish should not appear or we do not understand why we are distressed, then it seems that the physics of what we feel is the only problem we can think of.
These feelings seem incredibly strange and threatening, perhaps an announcement of fainting, death or madness. And to the extent that their permanence devours us more, we look at them with magnifying glass, enlarging them as much as possible for their study, to illuminate their nature and course.
Since the same terrified observation contains them, increases them and makes them even worse if we can, we find nothing that allows us to calm down, justifying with it that we remain impotent, stunned, cluttered, expecting the worst.
If something takes us out of this unfortunate state (they take us to an emergency department, entertain us or distract us) by being for another job, we leave where we remained stuck, but not set to an oppression impossible to overcome, but paralyzed by our own abandonment, because of our feeling of impossibility.
A headache begins. Do we pay attention to that evidence of discomfort? Do we deduce that we must take action? It may not be that it seems more important to remain in what is causing us the headache, thinking that it is little, that we can endure more, until our calculation error shows us that it is already late. In this case, our attitude is preventing us from solving a malaise that could be remedied, and the end result seems to be that we suffer somewhat in a totally passive and innocent way, instead of being partially involved.
Hypersensitivity is the exaggerated way of experiencing an excited, irritated, forced sensitivity. We could also be more astute and before we go to do it less by not paying too much worry, reassuring ourselves, touching those springs that change our moment, doing as much as possible a pleasant thing to relieve us.
The states of nervousness also produce a general propensity for irritate sensitivity, and in parallel the cushioned ability to capture pleasant sensations (much less enjoyed being distressed). The noise becomes much more annoying than usual, the efforts and frustrations produce anger, we look more at a dog poop that an inattentive citizen I have left abandoned, or in the small injustices with which our daily life is woven with thick warp and that we suddenly feel unforgivable. The small wounds or discomforts, the blows and clumsiness – the anxiety has the doubtful merit of propitiating the one and the other, becoming more disorganized and prone to errors-, the bad smells and the unpleasant flavors with which some apparent foods surprise us, All contact with the outside world seems deranged and hostile.
An angry rebellious response is favored in this way, a painful feeling of being unjustly injured, a deaf protest (sometimes not so much, if we give ourselves licenses to expand with a fist bump on the table, throwing the occasional renounce able, when not pinching us, smacking us or slapping our heads on the wall), a bitter disappointment of being mistreated by adverse events. The complaint, the protest sharpen the scalpel of the sensitivity that cuts and wounds even more, being another way to cure ourselves with the gall that makes us worse instead of with the honey that sweetens us.
The ancient Buddha recipe, ” do not think, do not value, let yourself flow ”, would seem like a good recipe in this circumstance. Improve not getting worse, accepting the anguish and letting it pass with the indifference that we see a landscape pass by, playing the role of distant and detached spectators. A good fakir like that would act. A bed of nails?, What else does it?, A road with burning coal, what a beautiful landscape I imagine! Similarly to accept with anxiety, is to let yourself be restless without looking at the discomfort, but rather longing for a being in another way, savoring or anticipating as if we were already in an improved situation, and letting yourself walk forcing a smooth step in the middle of the rush and the storm.
It must be recognized that the Buddhist solution requires important spiritual qualities, a remarkable capacity for ideas to influence us, clarify us and replace us. But for nonintellectual people this solution is too complicated, and they adapt better to the cure by action. A way of acting calms us and reconciles us with life. Then we do some things that we know will make us feel good (as long as they do not enter the chapter of counterproductive responses because of their side effects), read that book that transports us or that excites us, start projects that open hopes, seeking support and relief, going in pursuit of pleasure, even if it is watery and diminished by anxiety, so that its revived memory makes them full and again effective.
For music, talk, fun to be fresh and clean we need to persevere and insist, because they don’t work the same when we look for them hurt than healthy. In a state of health they taste and feel good at the first contact, but in a state of distress, frayed and stunned by the noise of anguish, it is hard for us to concentrate, we need to go down the road somewhat stunned and dull , losing nuances and qualities, but the Patient tolerance with that imperfect way of entering pleasure has an arrival reward. The cure of the anguish then is different from the enjoyment of being healed, but it brings us closer, makes us almost fine, almost relaxed and we are not going to take the ‘almost’ tyranny since almost everything is much better than almost nothing.