Tuesday, February 15, 2011


From Wikipedia,
Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli and a constant scanning of the environment for threats

Hypervigilance, our traumatized kids have it. Unless I am totally unusual, I think all us mom's of traumatized kids have it too.

I LOVE my sleep. I go to sleep easily and return to sleep when woken very easily. It has always been a blessing. My husband struggles with sleep and my ability to sleep well irritates him. This week I have been having difficulty sleeping. My anxiety is definitely higher this week, but behaviors at home have been pretty mellow. The only reason I can put my finger on is that I am currently on a pack of prednisone (a steroid). It makes me hot, like internal fire combustion hot, it makes me STARVING and I am pretty sure it messes with my sleep. So my mind has been on over-drive while laying in the dark.

My husband got up at 5:30 this morning and I was awoken. Somehow within the next 15 minutes all 3 kids ended up in my bedroom. The eldest in a twin size bed that is in our room and the two smaller children in my bed with me. Even if I could have fallen asleep, which I was trying to do really hard, I caouldn't have rested well. I was so concerned that the eldest would awaken and do something to the smaller children. I live in hear that he will make a poor decision that will haunt me for the rest of our lives. I fear that he will either act out sexually or that he will get angry that they will not wake up and play with him that he will hurt them.

As I lay there trying to relax with an arm or a leg over the children so I would know if he moved them (he has tried to drag them out of our bed by their feet before) the word hypervigilance came over me. I became aware of the changes in my body. I was becoming extremely tense and a headache was starting. My legs were twitching and my mind was racing. I realized I kept scanning the room and trying to squint in the dark to make sure he had not moved in his bed. My hearing was heightened as I listened for his bed to make a noise and I realized I was holding my breath while I listened.

Living in an environment like this cannot be good. I have always realized the toll that constant supervision takes on us, but the hypervigilance adds another layer to that physically. What is the answer? I don't know. I suppose we have to change the situations that requires the most hypervigilance when we can. Thinking about it now, I could've woken the eldest and sent him down with the hubby and turned on my door alarm. He really needs his sleep, but it would've been a small price to pay for some much needed rest from the hypervigilance. I suppose I just need to be aware of what my body is telling me and trying to work the environment to make it better.

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