Let’s talk about feelings and how they get recorded in our
bodies and our minds! We don’t often think about the feelings that we have as
babies before we have language to explain our experiences. These are called “preverbal feelings” and
become unexplainable sensations of anxiety, excitement, anger or even feelings
of abandonment later in our lifetime.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say a baby is present during a loud, angry argument
between the couple/parents. Many people have said things to me about how they
believe young children or infants understand and remember things, but often it
is completely inaccurate. I know this because in my career people have said to
me often things like… “don’t worry, they
were a baby when that happened, she won’t remember.” Or, “ don’t worry, the baby was in the other
room.” What we know is that, the baby
may not remember the experience in words, but she likely has wired that message
into her body. When a baby experiences
loss, maybe a parent dies, or parents’ divorce or that cause the scared,
anxious, or even terrified feelings, but her body will remember.
The takeaway here is twofold. Sometimes we have symptoms in our body
(somatic symptoms) that have roots in experiences or memories from long ago. Unexplained anxiety creeps in, sometimes there
is a trigger, but other times the feelings will just attack when we are off
guard, like when falling asleep. Even
when there is no immediate danger or harm, sometimes, anxiety can feel like
panic but the reality is that there is no real danger, just a fast heart rate,
feeling breathless, sweaty, or trembling.
It can feel like it will never end, but the truth is that there is no
real threat. This experience is coming
from an unresolved memory that caused a feeling before words were available to
explain the fear. Our bodies remember
when our minds may not or forget.
These materials and all discussions of these materials are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical or mental health advice. The presenter is not your mental health or medical service provider. If you need medical or mental health care or advice, we encourage you to contact your doctor or therapist, or you can contact your insurance company for a referral. Reproduction or use requires written consent of Dr. Kristin Beasley.