The Hardest Thing ; Giving Up Hyper-vigilance.

Friday

Moderator
I draw a really HARD line between hyper-vigilance (not useful) and vigilance (useful).

Being vigilant? Runs in the background, and important things I NEED to be aware of? Pop. As they should. It does no good to be so dissociated that I burn to death in a house on fire, whilst meditating. Vigilance alerts me to the things going on in the world that I really do need -or want- to be aware of.

Hyper-vigilance is jumping at shadows, throwing myself to the ground for cars backfiring or an empty bag of cheetoh blowing under a car. It’s the meth-head writing in a notebook after cracking the Venetian blinds, so unfocused and alarmed by anything that the important stuff? Is lost in a sea of bullshit.

When my hyper-vig is running hot the grocery store becomes an acid-kaleidoscope-nightmare of whirling sounds and colors. People become caricatures of themselves. There’s no prioritizing, no automatic anything. It’s a clusterf*ck.

Drawing the line between the two? Usually means I need to sort shit manually, at least for awhile. Which is exhausting. And takes time. But eventually? The more I assess & dismiss (or more rarely assess & act) the more those 2 things start differentiating. And... eventually.... my vigilance can just run in the background, again. And I can trust my instincts to yank me out of the present to focus on what’s different/wrong. But it does take time. Both in the unilaterally ignoring the alarms blaring at nonsense, and in manually assessing and dismissing (or assessing and acting).

So there’s a bit of a balance achieved; first in putting myself in situations that require active assessment (like trying to find a single person in a crowd of people), and in not submerging myself for so long that I get locked into hyper-vig, unable to assess anything. Much less make a decision about it.
 

River_Witch

New Here
When my hyper-vig is running hot the grocery store becomes an acid-kaleidoscope-nightmare of whirling sounds and colors.
Oh my god, this. This is my experience. I’ve found myself cowered near a grocery end-cap, unable to manage, at least a half-dozen times. For YEARS, I didn’t know it was hypervigilance running amuck so reading this description today felt wildly validating. Phew. Words are so powerful — thank you!!

Re: shifting out of hyper-vig... well, OP, I’m still learning. But usually it’s a process of:
1. Naming what is happening inside of me. Reminding myself my nervous system is activated and that explains what’s going on.
2. Breathwork: I like box breathing (counting to four while picturing a window frame), or elongating the exhale.
3. Finding physical safety (I jokingly refer to it as getting in my safety tube. Sometimes closing the door to the room I’m in, closing curtains over windows and limiting external stimuli can help. Locking doors, reducing light, putting on ambient music, making sure my clothes are comfortable, etc.)

Many yoga classes start with breathwork, so sometimes I’ll start an online class even if I’m amped up and surrender to the process because experience tells me it will help bring me down. I try to do this without judging myself for things like checking my phone mid-class or scanning out the window.

Meditation is a little trickier but I have more luck shifting from hypervigilance into a moving meditation than I do a seated or still meditation.
 

Freida

Sponsor
One trick i learned from my ptsd guru was to stop fighting the hypervig and make an actual threat assessment

Plant both feet on the ground and then sowly turn in a circle
Identify and name anything that I believe is a true threat to my life
Decide a course of action for that specific threat...will I fight/flight/freeze?

Repeat as necessary

Its worked amazingly well- even if I do look a little funny 😁
 

River_Witch

New Here
One trick i learned from my ptsd guru was to stop fighting the hypervig and make an actual threat assessment

Plant both feet on the ground and then sowly turn in a circle
Identify and name anything that I believe is a true threat to my life
Decide a course of action for that specific threat...will I fight/flight/freeze?

Repeat as necessary

Its worked amazingly well- even if I do look a little funny 😁
I love this! Thanks for sharing; I’ll be sure to try it soon!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I'm not sure it's a choice you can make?? However if you apply yourself to do a particular task then it shifts your brains focus because your concentrating and focusing on something else therefore lessening the hyper-vigilance.
 

Nade

New Here
Giving up the Hyper vigilance is something I am asking myself at this very moment. Or more begone and let me rest.
I have been recently triggered, and I have noticed thru hindsight that I had steadily become more and more jumpy......jumping at shadows, shying away from things, flinching. Resorting, or returning to hypervigilance. For me this leads to anger......then guilt....circle of doom.....
I don't like constantly looking over my shoulder, listening for every little sound, every little sniff of something different in the air, a raised voice, a loud noise....overloaded sense's...... It gets very tiresome.
I'm trying EMDR. I judge its success in 2 ways......firstly How I feel, how I react to triggers after. Secondly, the change in me as noted by those around me. My partner, my family, co workers, and friends. So far its been great, I look forward to my next session.
 

Freddyt

Learning
When my hyper-vig is running hot the grocery store becomes an acid-kaleidoscope-nightmare of whirling sounds and colors. People become caricatures of themselves. There’s no prioritizing, no automatic anything. It’s a clusterf*ck.
Went for that shopping trip this morning. Blind in one eye and it still is visually overstimulating.

I'm not sure it's a choice you can make?? However if you apply yourself to do a particular task then it shifts your brains focus because your concentrating and focusing on something else therefore lessening the hyper-vigilance.
45 years of living with it, its not a choice anymore. Its comfortable - normal if you will. I can usually only tell its happening when I start getting really tense and my neck starts feeling really tight. Then I have to spend time in the car working back down before I go anywhere else.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
How do you shift out of hyper-vigilance to be able to meditate or do yoga, or do whatever you like to do?

I live with various levels of vigilance, not always hyper but present. ADHD, ect keeps me revved as well. I find walking meditation or exercise allows integration during moderate hypervigilance. Breathing exercises while moving allows grounding from the center and I can reach a Zen. Music, art, interest help.

Extreme situations of hypervigilance, I have already shifted, disconnected into surveillance mode for assessment of optimal survival. These occurrences will not yield to patterned techniques. I must remove myself ASAP from the stimulus or situation inorder to allow the adrenaline spike to dissipate and reduce the possibility of error in reaction. Redirection of focus (once the area I am in feels secured or safe) is a matter of then doing the things in my first paragraph. Sort of like wash, rinse, repeat Is the cycle of promoting proactive choices.
 

Nade

New Here
Giving up the Hyper vigilance is something I am asking myself at this very moment. Or more begone and let me rest.
I have been recently triggered, and I have noticed thru hindsight that I had steadily become more and more jumpy......jumping at shadows, shying away from things, flinching. Resorting, or returning to hypervigilance. For me this leads to anger......then guilt....circle of doom.....
I don't like constantly looking over my shoulder, listening for every little sound, every little sniff of something different in the air, a raised voice, a loud noise....overloaded sense's...... It gets very tiresome.
I'm trying EMDR. I judge its success in 2 ways......firstly How I feel, how I react to triggers after. Secondly, the change in me as noted by those around me. My partner, my family, co workers, and friends. So far its been great, I look forward to my next session.
* i have now completed several sessions of EMDR. Daily sessions, and the change in my reaction to the triggers is magical. I have begun calling my psychologist a magician.
 
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