Is it hyper-vigilance

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Gare

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Hi. I’m new here.

In the last few days after a major anxiety attack and mental health episode I decided to take steps to learn more about how to deal with my Childhood Trauma from Bullying and alcoholic family members. I learned about CPTSD and learned about the term hyper-vigilance.

I wanted to describe my situation in hopes that folks might have some clarity to shed on this for me and maybe help find some resources to assess it directly and proactively.

I was the victim of about 9 years of intense bullying from the ages of 4 to about 13. While I won’t go into the story of that too much I will say that for years I’ve been trying to cope with it. For years I’ve thought that I had kicked it with meditation, yoga, self medicating, intermittent therapy, self help books. Well in the last six months to a year I have realized that I don’t think I’m even close. I recently started overreacting to minor challenges in conversation with colleagues, friends and my partner. They were like things that I’d just get really tight and reactionary about. But the other day I had a huge panic attack/episode of anger that found me shouting and crying and hyperventilating over a single comment someone made to me about being late to an event. I was convinced that this person was attacking me verbally and unfairly characterizing me. And I ended up creating a major rift with this person, which led to where I am now, depressed, anxious and looking for help.

So I learned about this hyper-vigilance and how it seems to include being on guard for an “attack” and also maybe miscomprehending and overreacting to small things. This has happened to me over my lifetime in my workplace, with friends and with partners. I get extremely anxious and upset thinking I’m being ridiculed and find myself basically ruining the relationship or my reputation and either quitting/getting fired or breaking up with someone.
It had been several years since this has happened to me until this past weekend. And this time I looked through the event, recounted the dialogue as it began via text before becoming a phone and in person thing. As I looked at it a day or so later I began to realize that how I had initially interpreted the dialogue was completely wrong and my reaction was not at all appropriate to the situation. It was like I invented much if it, and the little that was critical of me certainly didn’t warrant a major blow up. In any case now I’m looking at possibly ruining another relationship at an age and time in my life when it seems like I should long be over this. It’s pretty sad. And I want to address and repair this part of me.

I don’t know with limited resources and a lot of trouble finding a therapist if I’ll be successful. But I’m sure it’s CPTSD at the wheel and I believe this hyper-vigilance aspect of that is making me a hair trigger for overreacting and screwing things up, not to mention major avoidance of anything that I’m anxious about, even good things, job interviews, events, new friendships.
 
As I looked at it a day or so later I began to realize that how I had initially interpreted the dialogue was completely wrong and my reaction was not at all appropriate to the situation. It was like I invented much if it, and the little that was critical of me certainly didn’t warrant a major blow up.
making me a hair trigger for overreacting and screwing things up,
major avoidance of anything that I’m anxious about, even good things, job interviews, events, new friendships.
Reads less like hypervig & far more like your stress levels are maxing out, leading to dysregulation… supported/directed rather heavily -as it often is- by core beliefs and cognitive distortions.

Don’t get me wrong, hypervig may play a part… but the 1+1=64 thing that PTSD often does courtesy of cognitive distortions & core beliefs, plus the blowing up & lashing out, and using avoidance as a coping mechanism to manage your stress levels? Are all just really textbook.

I think you’d get a whoooooole lot out of reading these 2.5 articles 😁

1 & 1.5 The ptsd cup explanation
Many people with PTSD struggle to understand why they fly off the handle at such little things, i.e., the toilet roll is around the wrong way, someone walked in front of you, that stranger looked at you, etc etc. The reason is actually quite simple, and easier to show than often explain, why those with PTSD tend to get angry quicker, more easily, and faster than others at little stupid things.

2. Primary cognitive distortions (negative thinking styles)
The 10 primary cognitive distortions are:
  1. All or nothing thinking -- You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  2. Over-generalization -- You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Mental filter -- You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it so exclusively that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water.
  4. Disqualifying the positive -- You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
  5. Jumping to conclusions -- You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. (Involves mind-reading and fortune-telling.)
  6. Magnification and minimization -- You exaggerate the importance of things, or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny.
  7. Emotional reasoning -- You assume that your emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are, as in "I feel it, therefore it must be true."
  8. Should statements -- You try to motivate yourself with "should" and "should not," as if you have to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything.
  9. Labeling and mislabeling -- This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself.
  10. Personalization -- You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which, in fact, you were not primarily responsible for
 
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hello gare. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

i find myself worried about the dangers of self-diagnosis here. i know my own head is not a safe neighborhood to travel alone. from a masked social distance, a zebra can look an awful lot like a horse; very similar but not quite the same thing. second, third and fourth opinions advised.

a year or so ago, covidic pandemic fatigue was surfacing with a masked and unchecked vengeance. we still don't know if ^it^ is over and we are, collectively, trying to ignore the opportunistic infections out of existence. i am tempted to call the pandemic management style, "hypervigilance by law." we are well into our third year of global hypervigilance. the newly exposed faces i am seeing around my neighborhood don't seem to be losing the hypervigilance as quickly as they lost the surgical masks. i know i feel bullied by the remaining maskites. social distance still increasing. . .

but i digress into editorial opines. . .

welcome to the forum. gentle support while you sort your own.
 
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