Post Traumatic Stress Syndromes
Overwhelm from difficult experiences can be stored in the body for processing at a later time as the system in unable to process the situation in the moment for various reasons. Ongoing stress is especially problematic in that it contributes to “syndromal” symptom clusters created by habitual patterns of coping under constant threat. The appropriate patterns when under threat are not the same as coping when the threat is gone.
Have your ever heard the phrase “Your body shouldn’t react that way!” or “That should have worked!”? When chronic stress, even experienced in your youth, has been a part of your life, your body has prudently placed a lot of focus on survival and avoidance of threat. This bias toward survival is helpful to get you through the experience but can have long term effects as the energy bound in abating threat is not available for restorative functions such as digestion, sleep, and connection with others. You may feel exhausted but can’t sleep (fight-ready), lonely but avoidant of people (flight), wanting to pursue a goal but can’t muster the energy (freeze).
Furthermore, this hyper-vigilance of the nervous system can begin to turn immunological defenses on your own tissue. When you would like to feel relaxed alertness but inevitably have the experience of either being over-wrought or sluggish and spacey, you may need a tune up of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) to respond more appropriately to the present moment.