Hypervigilance is one of the key issues of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Interestingly enough, when it comes to chronic illness, some of the risk factors that can make you more prone to experiencing hypervigilance are Fibromyalgia, Hyperthyroidism, and adrenal disease to name a few.
Standard hypervigilance is a result of experiencing trauma from an external, traumatising event like being a victim of violence or being a witness to it, experiencing physical or mental abuse, accident or being caught in a natural disaster.
Hypervigilance will leave you constantly scanning your environment, monitoring for signs of imminent threat and can produce symptoms like:
- Mental distraction and inability to focus or complete tasks
- Frequent head jerking or eye scanning
- Inability to sleep
- Emotional or physical dependance on others to provide your sense of safety
When you have body Hypervigilance, the threat is internal, rather than external.
Body Hypervigilance is a breaking of trust between you and your body and you feel that you can no longer rely on it to keep you safe. In fact, it can often feel as though it is only your constant monitoring of and vigilance about your body that is keeping you alive and that if you stop for any reason, your body will do something potentially fatal.
The breaking of trust is not just limited to your body. When you have chronic illness, you can run face first into the limitations and failings of the medical system by experiencing disbelief and medical gaslighting that can keep you from gaining a diagnosis and cause you to doubt yourself and your own sanity.
You can also lose trust in your faith and come to question your religious or spiritual beliefs as the reality of chronic illness brings you face to face with the concept of your own mortality.
In Episode 12, Season 2 of the Emotional Autoimmunity podcast, I explain what body hypervigilance is, share my own experiences of it and tell you exactly what you can do to help yourself overcome it.
You can listen here on the blog or search and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and most podcast players and if you enjoy this episode, I would love you to leave a review.