JR Thorpe does a good job of breaking down the details of this in the article below.
“A study of trauma and the brain published in Revue Neurologique in 2021 found that there are two main neurological areas where trauma rears its head: the defensive part of the brain, and the cognitive part. That can affect how your brain views threats, how your memory works, and how you regulate your emotions.”
Yes, it’s true. The brain of someone after a severe trauma may stay on constant alert for new danger, may have a harder time regulating itself, because of that constant alert state, and may have trouble with memories.
I think this says a lot about the things we hear about survivors often. Their testimonies are riddled with muddled memories, they have a hard time not being hyper-alert all of the time, and they can often have difficulty with mood swings, and emotional outbursts.
I think it’s also important to recognize that for the last year, many of us have also been living with various amounts of trauma. COVID-19, racial and gender violence, political violence, etc, just to name a few things that we’ve all been exposed to in overwhelming fashion, and that trauma is having an impact on our brains, as we speak.
Of course, the good news is that it is treatable, we can get help learning how to control our emotions, and find ways to turn off our hyper-alertness. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
It’s also OK to give each other plenty of grace in the meantime though. There’s been plenty of trauma to go around.