We have all experienced stress; in some form it is a survival tool that gives us energy and fuel to handle a pressing situation. Sometimes a stressful situation is so overwhelming that we will do anything to avoid that situation for the rest of our life. In these cases, our security system will code everything in that situation into a script that will trigger a stress response as soon as anything reminds us of it. That stress response will grow stronger as our system generalizes it, to the point where we can generate a full life-or-death panic response by simply thinking about it. It is then called post-traumatic stress.
A month ago, a pipe burst in an upstairs wall in my home. Fortunately, the small space where SPT is created was spared while the rest of my home was inundated with water and the resultant outcomes (ceiling collapse, walls torn out, flooring removed, personal property damaged, destroyed). That experience, combined with the now four weeks of frustration due to frigid temperatures (think 45 mph winds gusting through open walls; even my cement Buddha scrunched its shoulders up tighter to ward off the freeze) and frozen communications with the company hired to do the mitigation and restoration work, resulted in intense feelings of powerlessness (a familiar feeling from long ago).