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Hyper Vigilance

I feel a little better in general today, more like myself, I think.

 

I was a little upset earlier though, as I walked my children from the school to the car. One constant in this is my continued struggle with crowds, people and noise.

The walk up to the school is OK, sometimes even relaxed- depending on how co operative my toddler is of course, but the walk home is always a challenge.

I have the usual stress of herding two young children through busy school grounds and surrounding streets on the way home. I am not the only parent harassed, many are having the same stress with their children. I know with that, I am not alone.

But it also causes me daily hyper vigilance and I often have to ground.

I want to be like those around me, those I hear talking with their children. Yet, my only goal is getting us safely to the car, without freaking out. I cannot take in what my children are telling me, in fact I encourage them to be quiet until we are well away from the school crowds. I’m in sensory overload as it is, without the added noises of my children.

But that upsets me greatly, I want to hear their excited chatter, I want to discuss their days with them, I want to listen to what they want to tell me.

 

Today, I found myself angry with strangers, parents talking to their children on the way home. Because as they walked behind me, in front and passing me by, I could hear everything they said. I could hear the chatter of their children, the screams of arguing siblings and squeals of laughter. I could hear the teens on their bikes and skateboards and the ones yelling to their friends. Unlike other people, my focus was not on my children’s voices, but instead automatically listening and scanning for threat.

I could feel the familiar panic rising as I went against every one of my extincts and tried to block out that noise. Somehow I made it to the car, but by that point I felt ready to explode.

It’s what I go through every afternoon to pick up my child from school. And today it made me angry, in a way it hasn’t done before.

I wanted to yell at these people to please be quiet, to tell them that their noise makes me unwell. I wanted to tell them not to  push pass me or to walk too close. I wanted to ask them if they knew just how much they scare me, if they realise how hard it is for me to remain calm.

 

I hate how even on good days, some PTSD symptoms always remain. And I hate my abuser for causing me so many problems. Sometimes it feels as if he’s still here with me, trying to exert control. I hate how the echos of what he did remain in my life today.

I don’t want to continue to live in fear, but this is something that is unchanging, something I don’t know how to get past. The reaction feels like instinct now and I don’t know how to turn that off.

So  while things are better today, I’m still reeling a little from the earlier school run.

I’m already nervous about the school pick up tomorrow and the one the day after and in the weeks after that.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Hyper Vigilance

  1. I’m glad you have had a slightly better day.

    I can relate to what you are saying I can’t stand crowded place I start get very panicky. I was just recently at train station and the trains had been cancelled so there was over crowding at the station. If someone bumped or touched me I was getting triggered by it . The amount noise just topped of for me I felt that my head was going explode with anxiety, fear being so hyper vigilance . What I’m trying to say is your not alone in these feelings.

    I know for me if I carry something that I can squeeze or fiddle with I find it grounding . It can at times take bit edge of . Not sure if that’s something you have already tried xx

    • Thank you so much. The carrying something idea is a good one. Especially as I know holding the pushchair and the car steering wheel help me ground. Now my toddler doesn’t use a pushchair much, I guess it’s time to find something to carry with me to ground. Thanks for the idea.

      I am sorry you are going through it too. The train station situation sounds like a nightmare! Thank you for your message. It does help me to not feel alone. x

  2. I can relate all to well. I am constantly chastising myself for not focusing on my daughter because of my hyper vigilance or due to my constant slips into dissociation.

    Like you, I am automatically focused on possible threats. I have been avoiding going to work and even leaving the house is a challenge for me because I HATE being triggered and the hyper vigilance seems to completely take over whenever I’m around other people or in public locations.

    I have cancelled dentist, doctor and such appointments because of this and it’s not getting any easier. Those things are easy to let go of tho but it’s my lack of attention to my daughter and my constant need for quiet time in order to calm down form panic that makes me feel like I’m failing her at times. It’s a work in progress, even if it’s one step forward and two steps backwards at times.

    Isn’t PTSD such a complex bitch.

    • For sure, it often feels like one step forward and two backwards. It’s so hard to be gentle with ourselves when children need us isn’t it? I’m OK when I’m in places I know, I work for a teeny company and mostly I am OK there. But places that are likely to be busy and PTSD rears its ugly head!

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