Brouillard au pont de Tolbiac by Jacques Tardi

By Jacques Tardi

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Example text

Initially, she attached little importance to her symptoms, and easily explained them away as just a fact of getting older. It wasn’t until Andrea suffered what she called “an attack out of nowhere” while attending a summer work conference in Atlanta that she was forced to pay attention to what had been developing beneath her conscious radar. The air conditioning had malfunctioned, causing the conference room to be hot and stuffy, and she suddenly felt as if she was going to suffocate. She quickly made a hasty exit and ran to splash cool water on her face.

And as petty situations increasingly trigger our survival instinct, we find our comfort zone shrinking. Eventually, we feel imprisoned by a narrower and finite space, which only worsens our feelings of vulnerability. As I explained in detail to Kate, our inner survivalist lives in the farthest reaches of the brain called the limbic system, which formed after life began to evolve from reptiles. Its instincts have deep, permanent connections to visceral or automatic responses. It’s the part of us that we share with much of the animal kingdom, and it is the home of our primary emotions such as fear, pleasure, safety, addiction, hunger, thirst, love, lust, pain, and rage.

So it seizes control of our logical mind and takes the reins over our whole body. As you probably know, one way we are hardwired to preserve our survival is to consume food if we don’t know when we might eat again. Some time long ago we learned that we needed to eat in order to survive, and one way to accomplish this quickly was to be drawn to calorie-dense foods, and ever since, this instinctive behavior has been stitched within us. Our early ancestors didn’t need to worry about gaining weight; this pre-programmed wiring that instructed us to load up on these types of foods had survival value.

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