This is congruent with my experience and how I react now to stress:
When a rabbit or other animal is trapped by a predator, it will freeze and assess the situation. It might then flee or attack, what we usually call the “fight or flight response“. If that fails, a last-ditch defence mechanism is to go completely immobile, to play dead.
Researchers in Brazil now say that in times of grave danger, this same automatic last resort is also exhibited by humans and is experienced as a terrifying feeling of being “locked-in”.
Terrifying feeling is exactly right. It feels as if it will never end and that I’m totally exposed. A target.
…physiological evidence of “tonic immobility” in humans…. Participants who reported a strong sense of being paralysed, frozen, unable to move or scream, tended to show less body sway, higher heart rate and less heart rate variability.
Even reading about this phenomenon brings the terror regurgitating up to the surface. I also experience it as an overwhelming sense of dread. It’s an incredibly large factor in low quality of life and suffering. It seems to be an automatic/autonomic response, and I wish I could minimize it, but so far, no success.