Your automatic response in any stressful situation will be the one that your autonomic nervous system found most effective in the past.
The freeze response takes over when we cannot fight or run away from the situation, and it is too overwhelming. This is common in children who are not able to escape from stressful situations.
Let’s think about the freeze response.
Unable to move or defend yourself
Feeling dissociated and detached from thoughts and feelings
Notice that these are all common symptoms of depression.
It makes sense to me that if someone is stuck in a freeze response, their energetic system has learned to be still, shut down, and depress energy. That vitality is not flowing through the person’s system, and it is frozen.
It makes sense that when we are exposed to repeated stress that this depression of energy would get worse, and when we are in a safe environment, it would start to flow. We could expect a transition period where we are physically and mentally safe, but our nervous system is overreactive to triggers that remind us of the past.
We can heal our nervous system and bring ourselves out of the freeze response. Somatic psychotherapy and yoga are wonderful places to start. Be gentle with yourself on your journey.