Some psychological problems do leave traces.
Traces on our minds and emotions, on our capacity for joy and intimacy. And even on our biology and immune systems.
Most survivors of atrocities and terrors when they think about what they experienced.
They try to push it out of their minds, trying to act as if nothing happened, and move on.
But the part of our brain that is devoted to ensuring our survival is not very good at denial.
Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the slightest hint of danger.
This accelerates disturbing emotions, intense physical sensations, and impulsive and aggressive actions.
These posttraumatic reactions feel incomprehensible and overwhelming.
Feeling out of control, survivors of trauma often begin to fear that they are damaged to the core and beyond redemption.
It takes tremendous energy to keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror, and the shame of utter weakness and vulnerability.