Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bullying: Part Eight - The Body's Reponse to a "Highly Stressful Survival Situation"

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11 ESV)

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I keep saying this because I feel it is important to remember. Sometimes the body and its response to things is difficult to understand. But no matter what, God knit us together in our mother's womb and our bodies (though bound by the flesh) are phenomenal.

When placed in a "highly stressful survival situation", whether it is being bullied, a car accident, a "natural disaster", an act of terrorism, etc. the body is going to go through a "survival mode" (if you will) process.

In his book ON COMBAT, author Lt. Col. Grossman states,
"Research shows that if you have a 'load' in your lower intestines during a highly stressful survival situation, it's going to go." (Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. War Science Publications. Pg. 9)
That is just the way it is. Further, the mind could also be affected. Lt. Col. Grossman goes on to explain,
"Very few people know about this. While everyone knows about the valiant dead, most people, even professional warriors, do not know about the greater number of individuals who were quietly taken out of the front lines because they were psychiatric casualties. This is another aspect of combat that has been hidden from us, and it is something we must understand." (Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. War Science Publications. Pg. 12)

Why do I feel this applies to bullying? Because it is my opinion being threatened and/or emotionally or physically harmed could reasonably put one in "survival mode". So, the body will, a. Empty the lower intestine and bladder, b. Could experience mental distress, and c. Shut down for maintenance after the fact...(also known as an adrenaline dump and parasympathetic backlash).

Regarding this, Lt. Col. Grossman writes,
"Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, a retired police supervisor and a psychologist, trains police officers on what he calls 'emotional survival.'. He talks about how the parasympathetic backlash can impact warriors every day. While they are at work, their sympathetic nervous system is ascendant and they are alive, alert, energetic, and involved. When they go home, the parasympathetic backlash hits and they become tired, detached, isolated and apathetic. The greater the excitement at work, the greater the potential for a backlash that can debilitate them in their home life and destroy their family." (Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. War Science Publications. Pg. 18)

I feel the same can be said for children at school (especially if they are being bullied regularly).

To help me grasp the effect and heartache caused by enemies and/or "battle", I read the writings of the Psalmist, David, who sounds very familiar with being bullied.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;

I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
(Psalm 102:1-11 ESV)
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