Hypervigilance sucks ass.
People who have PTSD, anxiety issues or schizophrenia often experience hypervigilance.
I already hate feeling anxious, but when you are hypervigilant, anxiety never really goes away. Even times when I feel calm, what I feel is much less anxious, but not really calm.
I’m always worried about something.
Joey leaves for work and a few minutes later I hear sirens? My stomach churns until he comes home.
I worry about bills and work and health.
It takes very little to make me jump. I hate that. It’s embarrassing. This happens at work all the time. It’s bad enough when I jump, but there have been times when the jump is accompanied by this weird intake of air that sounds like a baby dinosaur who got their tail stepped on.
It’s part of my charm.
New places or people horrify me.
One of my worst case scenarios is a party at another person’s house. Not family parties. I can handle that. I’m never going to love them, but they don’t freak me out.
Going to someone’s house for the first time for the purpose of sitting around with a bunch of other people feels like punishment to me.
This is not an exhaustive lists of all my anxious thoughts, but a fair sampling.
What if I can’t find the bathroom and have to ask someone where it is? I’ll die.
What if the bathroom door doesn’t lock?
What if I spill something? Oh god. I’ll probably spill something. I spill shit all the time.
Or worse, what if I break something?
Fucking hell, what if the toilet backs up?
Don’t drink too much. You’ll say stupid shit and your face will turn purple.
Shit. I think my face is already purple.
What if people talk to me?
What if people don’t talk to me?
What if I start talking in that weird loud voice I get when I’m nervous? Because the flop sweat comes right after.
What if the bathroom door doesn’t lock only I think it’s locked? That could happen.
The hypervigilante who lives in my brain works 24 hours a day.
Well, I think she sleeps sometimes. But often I have anxiety dreams, so I think she’s on the case even when I’m sleeping.
My hypervigilante gets super concerned about everything.
I don’t think she’s bad, she just wants to make sure I am prepared for everything. No matter the situation, she rushes in and starts screaming and yelling all the things I need to be aware of that can go wrong.
She is thorough. Also, kind of ridiculous.
I mean, she rarely makes up impossible situations, but she is the queen of improbable situations.
For instance, when I go into a public toilet, the first thing I do is to make sure there isn’t a human head in the toilet bowl. Why do I do this? I don’t fucking know. I just know that when I go into a public bathroom, I have to check to make sure because my hypervigilante usually whispers a few sentences like “Probably going to be a head in the toilet this time” or “Check for the head before you touch anything. Fingerprints”.
So, almost always, I have my hypervigilante watching out for me.
Making sure I’m always at least a little keyed up. Sometimes, when she is tired and not being creative she just says things like “Something horrible could be happening right this minute and you just don’t know about it yet. Good night!”.
I wish making fun of hypervigilance made it easier to deal with, but it doesn’t. If you have your own internal hypervigilante, then I wish you all the peace you can get.
I don’t think this hypervigilante will go away any time soon. It hasn’t yet.
I guess I just have to make my peace with my intruding fucked up anxiety superhero.
If you don’t identify with this, but know someone who “worries a lot”, then spare them an extra thought and let them know that everything is going to be okay.
We need to hear that often.