PTSD persistence - getting “stuck”
Often, a trauma survivor can go through a short period of decompression and processing, and return pretty close to “normal.” But if the traumatizing event was exceptionally violent and life-threatening, or if there were multiple episodes, the brain stays “stuck” in this crisis-alert mode.
The shock physically alters parts of your brain. Your reactive pathways modify and your brain chemistry changes becoming hypersensitive, quickly overreacting to normal stimuli. Your hippocampus –the part of your brain that interprets and calms your emotional response–shrinks and works less effectively. Your left and right brain hemispheres have trouble communicating and balancing each other–so you’re either emotional and unordered, or you’re emotionless, cold withdrawn and not much fun to be around.
And whenever your brain senses that it’s getting near the “scene of the crime” via some sensory trigger ( a small, a sound, a sight, a memory), it quickly opens up the photo album it created during the earlier traumatic event and puts on an intense slide and video show to re-instruct you that you don’t want to go there again! The technical term for this is “re-experiencing.”
We humans aren’t meant to suffer our traumas alone and not bother anybody else about them. We are an interdependent species, ordained so by our Creator. We need each other. And if your “outer self” won’t take action, our “inner self” will keep up the pressure until we do. More PTSD sufferers finally decide to seek help due to their re-experiencing symptoms than for any other reason.