on hypervigilance

Once upon a time I lived with my Grandmother for a stint.  I was always on the move from a friend’s house, work or school. Always felt like I was being chased and being in her presence felt safe.  I would run into her house crying about some thing or another and would sit under her living room table for hours at a time, feeling out of sorts but hidden and safe.  She talked to me in a comforting way until I calmed.  She never asked me to come out of my ‘space’.  She treated my behavior as if it was normal so I came to believe that it was.

As a teenager, I entered the world of psychotherapy after getting a job with benefits.  I sought out help on my own because I was in a state of depression such that all I wanted to do was die.  Years later, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I shied away from medication so addressed it with a lot of psychotherapy. Through that I’ve learned that most people cannot handle being on the listening end of my childhood experiences. They carry a disturbing weight. The therapists eyes could not hide the struggle that reflects toeing the line between being personally affected and professionally present.

As I got into my 20’s, I found various life circumstances requiring me to address things that I had not needed to previously. For example, I desperately wanted to finish college but kept dropping out because hyper-vigilance became too difficult to handle. When walking around campus or sitting in class I was constantly scanning my environment waiting for someone to attack me.  I found it difficult to listen and focus. To get through those emotions I found myself talking it out to a therapist quite a bit.

It is an interesting thing, that judgments on your mental state are often made based on how you appear to fair in society’s eyes. How well you wear your mask. If you are a productive and seemingly successful member of society, then you are assumed to be doing fine.  So much of the world chooses to look at ‘appearances’ and skip over what it might take someone to ‘appear’.

I’ve had more than one psychologist ask me how much money I make a year. It always seemed irrelevant to the topic at hand. I’ve never brought up finances or even talked about money in any session. Money is simply a reflection of energy.  It comes, it goes. Focus should always be first on energy, not money.  One must precede the other.  How much, how little, is based on how well energy is aligned with both passion and purpose.

I determined that those who asked were those who had trouble stereotyping classifying me, identifying the proper DSM code to assign to my anguish. I laughed when asked. I am used to being underestimated. It is difficult to put me in a box. $50K or $500K – how does it impact my diagnosis?  Is it supposed to?  I’m of the opinion that I occasionally bought into personal judgments disguised as professional dialogue or guidance.

In my 30’s, decided I could do more for myself through research, including placing myself in specific and uncomfortable experiences, than through talk therapy.

Anyways, it occurred to me a few months ago, that I still carry this odd behavior of moving from place to place, or, of erratically being on the move. I have defined this behavior as a need to find creative space, and, while there are elements of truth to that, I am beginning to consider that I’m also hiding.

Begs the question: What or who am I hiding from?  I hope it is the right question because it is the one I will now work to answer…

What am I grateful for?

  1. Finding the answer:  The what is the truth and the who is myself.   I was simply not ready to acknowledge the pain that hid behind my smiling eyes and the actions that would need to be taken once I did.
  2. Landscaping my soul (post).
  3. Karmic meetings and souls that help bring you to yourself.

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