More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
To Keep Myself Safe
by Terry, Untreatable Online Blog
September 22, 2009

The goal since my very earliest days was to keep myself safe. Lessons learned early on taught me a painful lesson that the concept of "being safe" was totally in my hands. Through the years I figured out ways to make myself less likely to be the target of my tormentors and by playing that perfect role of the perfect child but of course that came with some heavy duty consequences that I am still dealing with today.

There is a term when used to describe people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) called hypervigilance where the person is overly aware of what is around them as their brain is searching for the next threat. Someone slams the door and your heart jumps out of your throat, someone touches you on the shoulder and it feels like you have just been shot and the paranoia that is created through hyper vigilance gets to the point where you will do anything to dull your brain.

I have kept myself so safe that instead of helping it has caused harm. My interaction with professionals (and not quite so professional professionals) is not spent trying to work through my issues but with me searching for invisible threats and battling the little voice in my brain that is telling me to run.

Now people are going to read this and think if I am ever going to have a shot at real recovery I am going to have to drop the wall and they would be right but that is so much easier said than done. My brain does not remember the positives very well but it will never forget the negatives, for example having a great relationship for a number of years where countless positive moments took place my brain will fixate on the negative and than take one small example and blow it completely out of proportion until that is all I see.

I can look back through all of appointments with therapists, on the psych ward and at the doctors and can find someone to blame for the problems that caused the relationships to collapse or being on edge but in the end the one constant factor in all of the situations is me and my brain. For me to get better I am going to have to figure out how to turn that safety switch often so I can finally see that there is nothing to fear.
I am so glad you posted this. I never understood clearly what this word meant. This is how my brain works. Funny the other day a doctor asked me why i was so startled. I said i wasn't. i guess i jumped when he bumped me. How does one turn off the switch and learn how to leave it off.
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.