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I'm Not Even Sure How to Say This - Hypervigilance

Discussion in 'General' started by Marlene, Oct 29, 2006.

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  1. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    OK...since my diagnosis I see things in my peripheral vision that aren't there. Couple of examples: I was making a left turn (it's an intersection that usually take a while to cross) and in my peripheral vision I saw what I thought was either a person on a bike or a pededstrian walk next to my car. I turned my head and there's nothing there. OK. I turned my attention back to the traffic and it's there again. Finally after the third time of 'seeing' this whatever I was able to make my turn. Last week I was standing by the fax machine writing out a fax cover sheet when at the top of my peripheral vision I saw this huge spider (I freakin' HATE spiders). Right before I screamed and jumped back I looked up and there was nothing there. Sure glad I didn't scream! LOL

    What's worse is that I'll see someone in my peripheral vision and think 'There's nothing there' and there is and when they move I about come out of my skin. I feel like having my back to a wall all the time so at least I know if I see something behind me it's not real. Inside, outside, bright light, low light...it doesn't matter. It doesn't just happen at one particular time. It's anytime.

    I had to explain this to my husband last night (I've told no one) when I thought I was 'seeing' something and it moved (the wind blew a leaf that was in the foyer) and I about came unglued. How do you explain to someone that you're not always sure if something is real or not and NOT have them look at you like they're mentally fitting you for a padded room?

    The only thing that doesn't make me think that I'm heading towards completely losing it is that I recently read an article by a Vietnam vet who suffers from PTSD. In the article he mentions that sometimes he sees things in his peripheral vision.

    Am I hallucinating? Has my train chugged around the bend one time too many? Has anyone out there experienced this?
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  3. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    Marlene, are you in a hypervigilante state? Are you aware of every little noise, movement etc?

    This sounds like this could be your issue. What are you anxious about? Who or what are you afraid of?

    This might help us get to the bottom of this. In my worst states of hypervigilance I see crap everywhere, jump at everything.. I'm sure many on here can relate to this...

  4. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Hi Marlene,
    Absolutely...once I could hear my sister brushing her teeth even though I wasn't anywhere near the bathroom...every little sound..especially when unexpected can get me to jump...And, yes, at times I also thought I saw stuff/people even though nothing was there...As Bec says, it's probably hypervigilance talking...
  5. sibemom

    sibemom Active Member

    Hi Marlene I understand completly how you must have felt. The first time it happened to me I WAS TERRIFIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!:drugs: I was so afraid to tell my Doc that I waited awhile untill it just kept happening, and then I started to hear voices when showering or sometimes when all alone. I THOUGHT I WAS TURNING INTO SYLVIA BROWN or that the Brain Injury really did much more damage then they thought. When I did talk with my doc he did not react the way I envisioned him reacting and just took it in stride and said this was not uncommon and NO I was not crazy. For me this is one of the symptoms that is very disturbing. My hubby to has learned to just GO WITH THE FLOW when this happens, he was pretty scared too at first.

  6. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Different forms of hallucinating happens with PTSD, scents, feelings, bodily states, images, sounds. It is normal. Sad thing is we are generally do not admit it thinking we have lost it for sure "this time". Example one that plagues me is smelling a fire burning. I was so scared to tell my doc. Even though I have no memory of the fires but there were many confirmed by my mother; as my bro is an arsonist and has been in prison for it as an adult. When I am under extra stress it is worse.

    Extra stress that you may not even be aware of can put you in that jumpy state as Bec described. Just trying to function coming to terms with having PTSD and what it can do to us (hence since this just started after your diagnosis) can pull things up that you may not remember, or put you in "over drive" like it sounds you are describing ie. hypervigilance.

    This does not mean you are ready for the padded room, and being scared of it and that thought instead of accepting it may actually be what is making it more intense. I hope it eases off for you soon and I hope hearing this and knowing you are OK will help you.
  7. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

    oh boy, been there. seeing certain people, hearing them. wouldn't tell anybody for a year. finally, i did, my therapist never batted an eye, looked at me and said, well, you're not crazy. it's audible and visual flashbacks, normal for this.???? and i kept it secret?
  8. Eagle3

    Eagle3 Well-Known Member

    Good to know I'm not the only one that has this...really thought I was seriously losing it for a while!
  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    First off-thank you for letting me know I'm not ready for (as my oldest daughter calls it) the 'I love hugging myself jacket'. LOL As I hit the submit button on that post I was really afraid that someone would say 'Hey! You really are crazy...turn in your membership card and go away.' :crazy:

    I read all the posts and decided to see if I could remember when and where these happened the most. The one the other night at home is the only time it's ever happened at home. Then it hit me. It's either been going to work, at work or coming home from work. What happened on Friday was not long after I got home from a rough week.

    When I'm at work, I feel like I have to be on guard at all times. And as Bec asked, yes I am aware of just about every conversation that happens around me and everyone's movment around me. I used to be able to just tune out the world. Now I have to shut my office door and turn up the radio just to get a little peace. I saw a coffee cup that said 'Good morning. Let the stress begin.' That's how I feel when I hit the door every morning. Sometimes as I drive home in the evenings, I can literally fell the stress melting off of me.

    I really hope it gets better at work. I like what I do, I'm good at what I do, I work with some really great people...I just have an incredibly insensitive shit for a boss. *sigh* Two weeks before my father died my boss's son killed himself. I figured that he, above most people, would be sympathetic to emotional pain. But when he was giving me his 'get over it' speech he told me 'My son killed himself. But did I give into it like you are? No. You have to be strong like me.' All I could think was 'Wow...at least I admit I have problems.' LOL
  10. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Your not crazy marlene, nor is anybody here. PTSD symptoms are a huge learning curve, and just when you think you have lived it all, another symptom will throw something else your way. Anxiety is the factor behind hypervigilance, as Bec stated. The reason your hypervigilant is because your anxious. You narrowed it to travelling to and from work, and at work, hence the anxiety state. Your going to a place of constant exposure, during the exposure, then the trip home is like the rundown of the exposure for the day. You return home, your now "safe". Once that safety factor kicks in as such within your mind, anxiety levels decrease rapidly, hence hypervigilance also decreases. Its nothing more than a normal symptom of the real problem, trauma.
  11. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Marlene, same thing has happened with me before. I'd be working and through my peripheral vision, on several occassions, saw what appeared to be a rat run by, I'd quickly turn my head to see it and never did. Or I'd think I'd see the shadow of someone approaching on my right side and turn and no one would be there. OTOH, often someone would approach me, I'd be unaware until I jumped half way across the room because they startled me.
  12. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Thanks again for helping to ease my fears on this one. It's always nice to hear that you're not crazy!!! LMAO

    When I told my husband that I had posted about this (Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected says 'Oh, where you're seeing things that aren't there?' Yeah pumpkin...THAT!) and gave him the gist of the responses posted, you could just see the relief in his eyes. It probably mirrored mine when I first read the posts. LOL :tongue:
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