We live with it, and we carry on. It’s a hard-wired response originally designed to protect us from physical danger.
But now it’s more complex. We stay and ride out the stress, and we bury the anxiety because the bills have to be paid. This causes damage because the flight and the fight are suppressed and internalised, gradually eroding your ability to see daily life with anything even approaching perspective. Sometimes there is a trigger that smashes your perspective to dust and leaves your mind as exposed and defenceless as though it were an open flesh wound in a high wind carrying shards of glass. The end result is to lose your ability to cope when even the slightest thing goes wrong, as if someone had reached in and ripped out your confidence. You stand outside yourself and see that the way you are reacting is unreasonable and stupid, and you shout at yourself, but the noise from the glass-yielding wind drowns out reason.
Making your way back from there to a version of reality that you can sustain all over again entails a long and difficult journey. But I’ve seen things along the way that have taught me a great deal about myself, about unsustainable decisions I’ve made in the past, about having created unsustainable situations by avoiding some decisions, about how I can expect others to respond to me, and about whether I can have any expectations of others at all.
The journey is ongoing, but I’ve learned that a walk in the rain and telling someone that you love them can fix things. Not everything is complex.