Amygdala hijacking - Don't let it happen to you.

The person behind my delicious Dave's Killer Bread, an ex-con with a drug history, had a horrid breakdown recently and to the inexperienced eye, it makes no sense, he was popular, his bread was going nationwide, Dave went to prisons to inspire inmates, and he attended openings where his bread was being introduced.

Tragically, mental breakdown is part of the side effects of drug use. The brain is not capable of handling change and the resulting stress puts them into bad situations, thus relapse to drugs or to psychotic breaks.

The amygdalae, part of the brain that fight or flight of the reptilian brain, takes control of, is "kidnapped" and a spiral down begins. We called this "dyslogic" thinking when I worked in the mental health field. The signs are always there, one just has to understand and know the procedures to bring the reptilian brain thinking of the amygdalae back to cognitive thinking in the brain. The thinking brain is an evolutionary development that primates develop, and humans are primates.

Listening for feeling and meaning, understanding, paying attention to what the person says, do deep breathing, anything to get the person to slow down and calm the amygdalae. The goal is to disengage the amygdalae. Of course when the situation gets out of hand, physical restraints need to be used, but never any kind of assault. That just makes matters worse. A well trained police officer knows how to handle such episodes. He or she becomes the protector of the out-of-control person. 

New personnel were brought in to handle the expanding Dave's Killer Bread business, and within a very few days, Dave went on a rampage. There was plenty of evidence to see the breakdown coming. If there had been an experienced person with mental health training to witness it, or if mental medical professionals had been called in, the whole destructive mess could have been prevented.

We, as a nation, have very poor understanding of mental health and become part of the problem instead of the solution. 

There are so many growing stressors that happen in our economic and political and religious world, there will be many who cannot handle the strains. We will see more breakdowns as people realize we are not in a recovery period, economically. We will not see "normal" for a long time, if ever. We have to learn how to handle stress, how to solve problems, resolve conflict, and confront things we cannot control with equanimity. We have to build a new normal that is based on reality. 

Turning to a belief system to solve these kinds of problems is useless and harmful. It makes matters worse, especially as the real situation deteriorates. In fact, it generates more feelings of helplessness. This is not a time to submit, to feel helpless, this is a time to think and take healthy, positive action. We need to learn good mental health skills and they are easy to learn. 

That is why it is so critically important to stop delusional thinking, recognize reality in all its aspects, and stand with courage, wisdom, and skills. 

Dave Dahl's Story

Arrest of Dave's Killer Bread co-founder, for whom company is named...

 

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Replies to This Discussion

I would rather he sought redemption as a drug dealer, than sell "killer bread". 

Bread Kills.

And injures, people with celiac disease and the gluten sensitive.

joan, its a tragic event. Whatever the circumstances, I hate to see this happen.

My "drug abuse detector" is firing little alarms, but who knows where the truth lies. People do slip back into the wrong patterns, dometimes, in times of stress.

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