Often in the list of negative symptoms for PTSD and other trauma survivor responses is hyper-vigilance or sometimes called hyper-awareness. You walk into a room and know where all the doors for escape are located. You count the number of people in the room. You assess the tension level in the room. You consider options just in case. Many therapist try to 'cure' this type of behavior. I one time asked one of my daughters what she thought about on her trip to the store. She told me she was thinking about what was on sale and did she have the right coupons to get the best deal......really? People think about those things? I am scouring the road scene, where are the cars? bikes? Pedestrians? Idiot Jay walkers? I am super aware of all the possible dangers....my reward, I spot and avoid the bicyclist riding the wrong way on the sidewalk. My hyper-vigilance is rewarded. Today, the teacher I work with her face changed from the first time I saw her this morning. Two hours later I could tell that her back problem was significantly worse. She needed me to drive her home. My mind jumped into warp speed in a split second since I am already hyper-vigilant. I dealt with all the changes of taking the teacher home, coping with keeping the class going, and assisting the childcare with a fire drill. I felt burned out when I got home but again, my hyper-vigilance and ability to survive emergencies paid off in a positive way. I appreciate the fact that I sometimes need to tone it down a bit because I get tired but the bottom line is I don't want anyone to 'cure' something that has proved useful again and again and again. I do want to learn to give myself a break when I know I am in a safe place. I do want to learn to recognize what a safe place feels like to me. I want to relax a little but for me, there are advantages to hyper-vigilance.
|Recognizing a safe place|
|Checking out the home front|