In Schizophrenia Bulletin, Amy Johnson writes about how neuroscientific perspectives on her brain and psychological struggles have helped her feel more agency in her growth as a person.
“My understanding of neural plasticity is that the brain can both learn and unlearn unwanted ways of thinking in favor of new, better ways of coping,” writes Johnson. “But this type of learning takes time. When I blame my brain cells, how brain cells function, rather than blame myself for repetitive mistakes, it creates a willingness in me to try new styles of coping. It allows me to sort of play around with or try on new ways of acting. Self-blame keeps me stuck. Realizing that it’s my brain and not me that is keeping me stuck helps a lot.”
“I’ve read a lot of books on how limited the human brain is,” she adds. “These books help me to understand how and why my brain works the way it does and help me be more patient and compassionate with my emotional self. When I pamper my emotional self, I feel heard and I sort of validate myself, and this creates enough space for me to step away from the behavior that I know and try something brand new.”
Johnson, Amy. “How Understanding Neuroscience Helps Me Get Unstuck.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 41, no. 3 (May 1, 2015): 544–45. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbt098. (Full text)