Saturday, November 17, 2007

Coming In From The Cold

I did learn a fair bit yesterday from visiting the trauma specialist.

He thought I had dealt with it all well and agreed this last episode was about loss and the realization that it truly wasn't something about me that caused the abuse.

However, he did note, and I am so used to it I didn't even mention it as a problem, that I am hypervigilent 24/7. In other words I never feel safe. I am always on guard. Those who know me swear I'd make a good spy, or do actually work for MI5 , because of the way I survey all around me and notice everything! It does make a good driver as I anticipate very well and see everything.

Trouble is it affects me in ways that are not good. 24/7 tension for a start. It prevents me doing things I want to do. Like flying. Like taking up invites to go places that require overnight stays or longer. Then my autonomic nervous system kicks in and I don't sleep or go to the loo. So being away is exhausting and physically uncomfortable. So I don't do it. On my trips with John, which we have down to 5-6 days because that is all I can cope with, I manage but only with the aid of medication.

Quite naturally, most people assume my major difficulties are down to my physical disability. They are not. I can handle that and I do handle it very well. Even when the pain is bad I handle it. It is this not feeling safe that causes the problems. The inability to sleep and keep my bowel working. The state of high alert 24/7.

Now I definitely want this fixed and he thinks he can help me to overcome it. I left him feeling that I really could be free of past altogether. Oh I know it will always be part of me, it made me, but it won't have to rule my present anymore. I am excited about this. All the stuff I just accepted about how I am, the hypervigilence, the compulsive checking, doesn't need to stay with me!

I DID have a need to be hpervigilent but that need disappeared many years ago. Trouble is I lived in fear for so many years that the habit didn't leave me. I am still always waiting for the next blow. Always anticipating it.

I am really glad I kept my appointment when I thought the need for it had passed. I am pleased I followed my gut which was telling me to go and see him because I might learn something. My gut was right. I did learn something. And I was right that as far as dealing with my emotions, the grief, I have been doing so and done well. He doesn't feel the need to help me there. The last thing I expected was to discover that something could be done about the tension and hypervigilence. Mainly because it is so a part of me, I didn't realise it was a problem!

I cannot really imagine what it will be like to live without this but am excited by the prospect of doing so. Perhaps then I really will be free after all.


LizzieK8 said...

When I go through times like this, I talk to myself. I point out that I can determine in no way that my safety is compromised. That I've been in similar situations and nothing bad has happened. I have the conversation with what I call the logical part of my brain speaking to the emotional part. Eventually, although the emotional part never really truly deeply believes I'm safe, it concedes that the changes are good to great nothing will happen.

It becomes less of an issue. Never completely gone, but less of an issue.

And work to detach the fear from the vigilance. "I'm looking around to determine nothing is threatening" rather than "I'm looking around to determine what is threatening." The first assumes your world is safe and you are proving it, while the second assumes you must live in fear.

When the panic starts to creep in, say, "I will not live in fear."

It takes some time to reprogram the "thinker" and the "feeler" within you, but it can be done.

Congrats on the progress you have made and Cheers! to the progress you will make.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if, by helping to ease your tension and vigilance, there will be some easing of your MS symptoms. If nothing else, it should ease some of your muscle pain. That would be a wonderful byproduct of the work you are about to do.

I am so happy you are getting some help with this. You have done a great job and you are a beacon to many of us.

Best wishes to you on Sunday!

Anonymous said...

more good news! it sure is great that you found a specialist that understand your needs

Anonymous said...

It's a small world. I was just talking to someone about the difference between caution and fear, that one rules cation, and is ruled by fear.

FuguesStateKnits said...

Colin! Yes! This is the best news I've heard all week:)

Unknown said...

Colin, this is such a positive entry that I am ecstatic! I also agree that the lessening of the hypervigilance may ease some of the muscular tensions. That would be a wonderful by product!

Continued good wishes!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting Colin - I have never heard of hypervigilance but as soon as I read it one enormous great penny landed with a clang. I immediately thought - How Exhausting. And I am going to think a lot more. Ta!