An interesting thing occurs among anyone whose spent significant time in fight-or-flight response (trauma):

You get used to it. So get better at managing it.

Reps & practice = improved executive function within fight-or-flight compared to non-trauma companions: working memory, flexible thinking, decision making, self-control, awareness, etc.

This gets counterintuitive & confusing.

On the surface trauma-stricken peeps appear more fragile & easier to break (into fight-or-flight). But once broken, this same habitual fragility becomes pure strength.

Of course, this all breaks down when fight-or-flight occurs without actual trauma present. But among real trauma, those accustom to fight-or-flight can sometimes manage the whole shebang exponentially better.

I spend hours a day in full fight-or-flight (a meowing cat once triggered me).

It’s exhausting, but one thing I noticed is being able to articulate & operate much better in the face of stress than non-trauma companions.

Decisions, sentences, mechanical movements, acute awareness all get heightened. As does my ability to rebound: 10-15 min post full physiological panic I’m 99% recovered & moving on.

So I am weaker to break while stronger when broken.

Panic is no picnic & comes at great nervous system cost short & long term; the reality of chronic fight-or-flight is never good; Running from imaginary sabertooth all day is not healthy.

But come actual sabertooth, you want someone accustom to driving the survival-ship or it gets messy quick.

I’ve often wondered if the same principals applied to fight-or-flight combat training would help PTSD folk manage day-to-day panic better.

Meaning: panic-training wouldn’t remove the fight-or-flight from occurring, it would just help improve management of executive functions while among unwanted panic.

Combining this reactionary mitigation with proactive strategies might lessen the net emotional burden on survivors.

So many of my own interpersonal breakdowns occur during panic-driven states that catch me off guard. So learning how to manage this panic can offer a reduction in overall harm, ie: better damage control.

The personal failures I experience from panic-states combined with subsequent apologies all adds to the guilt, depression, and low self-worth I experience.

This degrades the mind & body cumulatively over time: like adding pebbles to a backpack over years & never taking them away.

Perhaps if we could teach trauma-survivors how to both prevent AND react better to fight-or-flight, we can mitigate the net mental health loss & subsequently improve overall quality of life.

Less pebbles in the life-climbing backpack.

Too many pebbles will & does break you.

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