Talking about my struggles with not being able to rationale, is an important blog that I felt compelled to write. Whilst it’s taken me too many years to understand exactly what I continually deal with; I feel that I am getting there.
I know that my frontal lobe (frontal cortex) is extensively damaged. One area of the frontal cortex is called the prefrontal cortex. Its functions include spatial learning, conscious thought, judgments, decision making and language.
The prefrontal cortex basically allows us to make sound and rational decisions. It also helps to override impulsive urges, which can in certain circumstances leave us worse off, particularly if we were to act on those impulses. Our ability to stop the progression of impulses is helpful, because we get to function in our daily lives without getting ourselves into deep water.
When the prefrontal cortex is functioning normally, it protects us from making rash and impulsive decisions, so when this part of the brain isn’t working correctly, the opposite usually occurs. For example, if we have a bad day at work, we might act on impulse and tell our boss what we think of his job. Of course, this wouldn’t be in our best interest, we’d probably lose our job, but it’s easy to understand why we could act on impulse, if that part of the brain wasn’t functioning.
Unfortunately, brain damage in the prefrontal cortex due to a stroke, a head injury or dementing illness, may often result in altered social cognitive abilities. In my own case because my stroke happened when I was a baby, my brain was young enough to adapt. I adapted.
This part of the brain can cause changes in emotional control, motivation, inhibition and initiation, so it explains why I can lack motivation sometimes. Also typical are an intolerance for frustration and easily provoked aggressive behaviour. We may also have to deal with lethargy, but we learn how to counteract these changes. There are specific techniques we can learn to oppose any powerful urges.
My intuition helps me counteract some of those urges. I have had to become adept at understanding how I need to curb some of those impulsive feelings, but unfortunately it depends on the severity of the issue and therefore impulse. I need to keep myself mindful of where I am with my feelings all the time.