HYPERVIGILANCE: ALWAYS ON THE EDGE

Having PTSD means being stuck in high alert mode.  You are aware of everything going on around you all the time.  The problem with this is that it requires a tremendous amount of energy to maintain, plus you are already operating at full speed.  It’s very difficult to cope with additional stressors when you’re already at the peak of hypevigilance.

Part of learning to cope, is learning how to reduce those stressors, or at least, control your reaction to them somewhat.  Finding activities that help you relax can be a good way of reducing some of that stress.  Then, when other stressors come along, you won’t go to pieces because you’re so overloaded.

There are so many things you can do to change your focus.  Find something you really enjoy, and give yourself permission to let go and really enjoy it.  For example, if you’re a hunter, go hunting more often.  I believe there is healing in walking through the woods even if you don’t see any game.  If you love to fish, get out there and fish.  For you it is therapeutic.  If you can lose yourself in a good book, then get to the library and choose a topic you’re interested in and dig in.

The thing is we need to get engaged in life again rather than sitting on the sidelines watching to see that we’re safe.  None of us can truly control everything that’s going on.  I finally reached the state where I said I would let go of some of my need to control in order to enjoy life.  After all, what good is it if I spend my entire life focused on keeping myself safe and never experience joy again?  Far better to dance in the sun a bit and, if that bad things come of it, then at least I danced in the sun!

I would rather spend my energy doing something I love than worrying about something I can’t control.  In the long run, I think I’d rather have quality than quantity.  I want a life worth living, not to live a life that bleeds me of every ounce of joy expended in just existing.  I want to dance in the sun…don’t you?

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