Our conscious mind is the “intellectual/aware” part of our brain, our subconscious mind is our “emotional/irrational” part. The conscious mind does not like to suffer emotionally so it locks in any painful memories that it does not want to retrieve and recall into the subconscious mind, with retrieval to be avoided on a conscious level. Even though the conscious mind has avoided remembering a traumatic event, it continues to be driven by it as it only takes one of the five senses to be activated in the present to trigger the emotions of the event.
As the conscious mind cannot make sense of the traumatic emotional memory from an event that is locked into the subconscious, it will then attribute it to whatever is happening in the present moment. Hence, post-traumatic stress occurs and manifests in these excessive emotional reactions in the present without any knowledge of their true source and can manifest in depression, anxiety, dissociative states, nightmares, insomnia, anger, aggression and many other symptoms.