Stress can become Trauma
Stress is something we all experience.
We’re built to cope with it and in fact, a little stress can actually be a positive thing. It can drive us to perform, succeed, survive and push boundaries. However, when something very stressful and overwhelming happens and we are not able to recover so easily or quickly, we can be left with an emotional wound which, we learn to constrict around in order to protect ourselves from further harm. This might look like using trust and others, so shutting down relationships adopting ways to block out certain thoughts, memories of feelings, or restricting a behaviour to keep safe. It makes complete sense that if we found the experience so overwhelming the first time around, why would we allow ourselves to be at risk of ever coming near and experiencing like that again?
Traumatic memories are also harder for the brain to process and store in memory. This can prevent someone from processing memory, meaning that it can return in uninvited ways like flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks or perhaps in physical manifestations like pain or recurrent illness.