Hypervigilance and adapting to change/new roommate/

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
Hi everyone!

I've been thankfully doing a lot better lately so I've fallen back on writing here a bit. But I am noticing there is still one thing that keeps happening, especially now when a part of me has been ready for more changes so I have been doing new things, or things I haven't done in years, often now.

The thing is, I guess, a part of me is ready, but a part of me is SOOO cautious. It's a learning experience which I of course appreciate. But it usually goes that few new things happen in one week, and inevitably even if all is going good, I get a bit anxious and hypervigilant. Like I'm good, I'm going with the flow, planning, doing, adapting to the changes and then I reach a point and I just feel myself retracting. Becoming super overwhelmed and super hyper aware of all sounds and noises and colors and surrounding and needing something familiar. There have been a LOT of change lately, some started by me, most of it good. But a lot of change still. I've been trying to come out of my shell more again.

But then my roommate (and it was my first roommate since PTSD, we lived together for a year) moved to another country. So my new roommate moved in, today. I had/have few concerns though overall- since I was cautious- I think it's actually going better than I thought. But I was preparing the apartment for her this morning, then spend some time showing her some things and hanging out this afternoon. And as I said- went good. So far. But then now that we finished and she went on to do her thing, and I went in my room I feel all... exhausted, overwhelmed, that suffocating oversensitive feeling to everything around me, and also to the fact that I'm living with someone new. And suddenly I get this feeling, like I'm done with the day and I just need to switch off or do something comfortable or anything where I don't have human contact with anyone for a while and I can relax. When I first started living with my old roommate my mental health took a huge dip for couple of months. Of course I was generally in a lot worse state to begin with. But I just want to be aware of this feeling and not let it get too bad, if that's possible.

Plus I've generally been sleeping bad since my sleep meds were discontinued and I am trying to find others that help me as much. And on one hand new person living in my space most definitely means I will have trouble sleeping tonight. On another, I feel cautious about taking sleeping pills when there is new unknown person in the apartment(which is paranoid, I know). I just... I know all this sound like it's just a bit of life anxiety/overwhelm. And it's not like I can't adapt to it. But my adaptation process seems to be long and it always throws off my schedule when I start feeling this way, I take often and more breaks and seek more comfort and I'm less productive as a whole. I'm just thrown off and anxious and unsure of what to do with myself. I have lots going on the rest of the week, but today... I feel blocked and too exhausted to keep being productive, whereas at the same time my usual comforts don't sound as comforting or relaxing when I'm all on edge like now. And I have no clue what to do with myself. It's not a logical feeling, it's just adaptation issue...
(and if you read all this- thank you. I know it's long.)
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I think you r good, I couldn't even attempt to live like you are . Before I was married I had a few roommates but, it was usually a disaster and looking back I should never even have considered it unless homelessness/death were the only alternatives. (maybe a college dorm thing could've been ok? Dunno) I wouldn't even stay in a hotel like for work now, like share a room with someone not in my immediate family? No no, not me.

Looking back, it was a mistake on my part to ever have thought I could do it. Most of my PTSD mistakes were like that, thinking I was like everyone else and I could do things. I can't and I couldn't.

I wish you a good experience and I hope you are safe and happy in your new arrangement.
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
I think you r good, I couldn't even attempt to live like you are . Before I was married I had a few roommates but, it was usually a disaster and looking back I should never even have considered it unless homelessness/death were the only alternatives. (maybe a college dorm thing could've been ok? Dunno) I wouldn't even stay in a hotel like for work now, like share a room with someone not in my immediate family? No no, not me.

Looking back, it was a mistake on my part to ever have thought I could do it. Most of my PTSD mistakes were like that, thinking I was like everyone else and I could do things. I can't and I couldn't.

I wish you a good experience and I hope you are safe and happy in your new arrangement.
Thank you! It feels comforting knowing I am not the only one feeling like this- although ideally of course, no one should be feeling this for the reasons we are.

For a while I thought I couldn't do it either- until as you said I was on the verge of not having a choice financially. I had done it years before for ballet camp and that was really hard even with friends I was super close with- but it was still only 10 days. I've had roommates in uni, but most were before I got really bad anxiety and PTSD, and the ones after were at least close friends. Now with my previous roommate, it was hard in some ways, but in the long run, I think it actually was another piece of getting a bit better. Knowing that I can adapt to living with another person I didn't know before and eventually trust living with them.

I didn't really expect that I'd have to adapt again though. Sure, knowing the first time was okay actually helps. Knowing my PTSD is a lot better helps, too. Still, it's a new person, in my safe space, and that makes me quite uneasy.
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
The only bad part about this is... I have no idea how to get myself to sleep tonight. I think the roommate is actually asleep though, since she has early work. Me however... well, this just reinforces my recent trouble with sleep and I just don't feel like going to sleep at all. Trying to re-watch Friends to sort of get that comfortable feeling of something familiar.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
I have been hypervigilant more myself, and I understand how bad it can be. I downloaded some meditations that I play at night, so even if I don't get to sleep, there is a calming atmosphere in my room.
 

Friday

Moderator
I’ve found that after I’ve done something once? It generally takes me about 3 days to acclimate myself.

Now... it’s possible to better acclimate myself with longer periods of time, but those first 3 days are likely to be a bit rough.

So I ignore them.

Not really? But I take all the upset/upheaval as this very very temporary thing... that I will 90% sort, without even trying, but just making it through. The remaining 10%? Is artful. As in I take what’s left and deliberately attempt to sort it. But the first 90% I just let my mind/heart/body work through what it needs to, whilst paying as little attention to it, as possible.

Whilst I learned this about myself years back... something helpful was one of my early psych classes where we were studying landmark studies. Including the upside down one. Come to find? If you put glasses on someone that turn the world upside down? After 3 days they wake up with the world right side up, again. Take the glasses off? Their world remains upside down... for about 3 days. Then *poof* the world rights itself.

So it’s become this phenom tool I use when things are hard. 3 days. 3 days for my brain to adjust. After that? The rest is me. But I can adjust to almost anything, even the world being upside down, in 3 days. In 3 days? Everything will change. Then I can deal with what’s “real”.
 
Last edited:

Friday

Moderator
^^^ Which also means I cut myself one whole helluva lotta slack ^^^

The first 3 days of anything? I -essentially- give myself carte blanche. Anything, bar none/very little, that I need to get through them. After that? Cha. I can deal with whatever comes/is left. But whether quitting smoking, or having surgery, or a new roommate, or any other life-thing... those first 3 days are likely to be off the hook. I don’t worry about that. At all. It’s only on day 4+ that I take seriously.

So if you need to take 3 days off work to do ballet 10+ hours? Or take meds you reserve for emergencies? Or dip into coping mechanisms you usually avoid? IMO/IME Go for it. For 3 days. Because it’s very, very temporary.
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
^^^ Which also means I cut myself one whole helluva lotta slack ^^^

The first 3 days of anything? I -essentially- give myself carte blanche. Anything, bar none/very little, that I need to get through them. After that? Cha. I can deal with whatever comes/is left. But whether quitting smoking, or having surgery, or a new roommate, or any other life-thing... those first 3 days are likely to be off the hook. I don’t worry about that. At all. It’s only on day 4+ that I take seriously.

So if you need to take 3 days off work to do ballet 10+ hours? Or take meds you reserve for emergencies? Or dip into coping mechanisms you usually avoid? IMO/IME Go for it. For 3 days. Because it’s very, very temporary.
That whole 3 day thing is the best thing I've heard in a while! At least the way you explained it sounds very, very soothing to me. Often with these life things, it ends up with my schedule being flipped up and me doing what I need for couple of days because it's just what I can handle.

However framing it as knowing it's a time of change and choosing to give yourself carte blanche and do what your body needs? Sounds way more healthy than pushing yourself to follow your regular schedule, not being able to and feeling chaotic, out of balance and guilty because you're supposed to be doing something else but you can't. Knowing yourself and choosing to give yourself a bit of an allowance for whatever is needed sounds healthier. I've been working but a lot less, since I've also been explaining a lot of apartment things, and reorganizing- and at moments just having a need to just think about nothing. Or to go shop for more organizational boxes or finally dig into the pictures I have needed to organize... Basically a need to work on projects out of my usual schedule that I don't get to often. And rewatch friends many times lol. Ballet does help a lot, started going an extra class a week, and it's showing in the other classes which feels really satisfying...plus I got put in first line in the choreo, and we'll have workshop with famous choreographer in 2 weeks... So this is one part that does....help to concentrate on, I suppose:).

Thank you for the 3 days thing, love the idea! Will try to implement!
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
Trying to let go. Tune in, instead of resisting what I need which I tend to do. Ended up having a random nap at a really random time with no plan and no alarm. Still frustrated as hell at ...everything other than ballet, but, that was a nice nap.
 
Top