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Thread: Hypervigilance

  1. #1

    Hypervigilance

    Alright, folks. Is there ANY way to get past this? Is there any hope that I don't have to be keyed up all of the time and always aware of everything around me? I suppose it can be good in the fact that I look at every angle of a situation but it gets tiresome and all I want to do is RELAX!

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  3. #2

    Hypervigilance

    Hypervigilance is the outcome of feeling unsafe -- you are basically scanning the environment for potential threats and attacks.

    Thus, the "cure" is to get to a point where you have one or two or a few safe places and people in your life, e.g., building trust in a relationship and in your partner -- in time, you can then relax your guard with him, and over time it generalizes. This of course requires risk, taking a chance, a leap of faith. But as you do this and acquire greater confidence in your ability to get close to people and not be hurt, as well as greater confidence in differentiating between those who can be trusted not to hurt you and those who can't, bit by bit the need for hypervigilance diminishes.

  4. #3

    Re: Hypervigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    Alright, folks. Is there ANY way to get past this? Is there any hope that I don't have to be keyed up all of the time and always aware of everything around me? I suppose it can be good in the fact that I look at every angle of a situation but it gets tiresome and all I want to do is RELAX!
    Hi Ash ... sorry to hear about the tough going ... its really hard to feel the constant on gaurd... sounds lik its very intense your you. Are you taking any meds to try help take the edge off of that?

    Meds to calm your mind and system, and becoming aware of any self-talk you might be doing that gets and keeps your gaurd up and replacing them with realistic objectivity thoughts?

    Thereare 'thought stopping" techniques that can help with the thinking parts.

    also WHO and WHAT are triggering this in your environmnt and YOU right now? ... do you have any free time from everything/everyone that might be effecting you? A time and space/place where you can feel your gaurd relaxing?

    I had to live in a fairly safe neighborhood, free from stress and conflict (including from personal relationships) before I could start relaxing and sleeping again. I also have to assess if theres something about the people in my life ...like I don't trust them, have to walk on eggshells, and so forth.

    The "chronic situations" are the ones that "keep me on gaurd and hypervigilant"

    I removed myself from what I couldn't remove from me and my life.

    It all helps. I don't know what your particular triggers are though, are why they're triggers.

    Take care ... :) (I know it really SUCKS to feel!)
    Hugs from Kanadiana ...

  5. #4

    Hypervigilance

    For some people, hypervigilance isn't about who or what, because NOTHING is safe...

    But that can change, as I said. All it takes is that first step, that first risk with someone who merits trust and lets you prove that to yourself over time to start the process.

  6. #5

    Hypervigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    Thus, the "cure" is to get to a point where you have one or two or a few safe places and people in your life, e.g., building trust in a relationship and in your partner -- in time, you can then relax your guard with him, and over time it generalizes. This of course requires risk, taking a chance, a leap of faith. But as you do this and acquire greater confidence in your ability to get close to people and not be hurt, as well as greater confidence in differentiating between those who can be trusted not to hurt you and those who can't, bit by bit the need for hypervigilance diminishes.
    Ugh. I see your point. The truth is that the thought of "relaxing" terrifies me. For some reason I am so afraid that if I let my guard down, something awful will happen. Intellectually, I know this is not true but emotionally it consumes me. I have flat out refused to take that leap of faith in the past. I know that it doesn't make sense.

  7. #6

    Hypervigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    For some people, hypervigilance isn't about who or what, because NOTHING is safe...
    You hit the nail on the head, David. This doesn't have to do with anyone in particular. It's a constant issue for me regardless of where I am or what I am doing. It's a compulsive belief that this hypervigilance has kept me "safe" all of this time so a big part of me doesn't want to let go of it. Another part of this is the fear that if I give up control, I'm afraid of what will end up happening to me. Will I lose my grip?

  8. #7

    Hypervigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    It's a compulsive belief that this hypervigilance has kept me "safe" all of this time so a big part of me doesn't want to let go of it. Another part of this is the fear that if I give up control, I'm afraid of what will end up happening to me. Will I lose my grip?
    The Adlerians talk about "solutions" in life problems: At an earlier point in your life, when you were experiencing a significant and distressing problem, you developed certain "solutions", certain ways of adapting to a situation that were at least to some extent "successful" for you -- they may not have "solved" the problem but they allowed or helped you to cope with the situation.

    Years later, you encounter a different situation which evokes a similar feeling, and you respond by reverting back to the same solution that "worked" for you years before. The problem is, of course, that this is not the same situation, you are not the same person, none of the others involved are the same people, it's not even the same world. And applying that old solution really doesn't work in the here and now. But you are reluctant to abandon it but it had some partial success before and you fear NOT using it now.

    That's what I think you are describing. It's similar to what happens to many abused or traumatized individuals, to concentration camp or torture survivors, to individuals traumatized by war, including soldiers in a war zone -- it's over, you can relax now -- but you can't relax...

    Part of what Adlerian therapists do is help you go back to where and when you discovered or developed the solution and to recognize how what once saved you has now become a barrier or an obstacle, how what was once your friend has become your enemy. You no longer have to fight the demons that were attacking you when you developed the solution -- now it's the solution you need to fight.

    Addendum
    I'm not an Adlerian psychologist, by the way -- this is what I have gleaned from listening to and working with them for a number of years and/or how I have integrated Adlerian concepts into my own thinking about therapy. Any Adlerians out there: Feel free to jump in and corrct anything I have attributed to Adlerian psychology that isn't accurate.

  9. #8

    Hypervigilance

    Thanks, David. You are, of course, right! Intellectually I admit to myself that what worked in the past no longer works and only keeps me down. I just wish that I didn't have that compulsion to hang on to it. I have changed so much in the past three years and really grown as a person. Some things are just harder to get over. But man I could use some relaxation. Do you think that it could account for my constant anxiety?

  10. #9

    Hypervigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    Do you think that it could account for my constant anxiety?
    Yes. This is where a therapist could potentially be very helpful to you, as you are poised to take that very scary step forward. Because it is scary and you need to find a way to feel safe when you do it...

    But do remember I said "safe" not "unafraid": Remember that quote from Albert Payson Terhune that I keep talking about? "Courage consists in holding on just one minute longer" -- Courage does NOT mean not being afraid... it means doing something even when you are terrified.

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