It’s not easy being Jason Bourne or Hypervigilance can be exhausting

I love the Bourne movies. I’m not really a big action film fan so it’s kind of strange that I enjoy these movies so much. I figure it’s because on some level I identify with Jason. You know how he can take a mental inventory of existing threats, distances to escape routes and possible outcomes. Not that I can do that but that is at least what my brain has tried to do. One of the symptoms of PTSD is hypervigilance. I was a fairly cautious person before the shooting but after the shooting there were times that the hypervigilance became debilitating. Being at school, of course, automatically heightened my level of stress. I remember sitting in class assessing what would happen if a shooter were to walk in the room. Who would get shot first? Who would have the easiest access to an escape route? If I pull my knees up and cover my chest with a text book would that slow a bullet down? Maybe, but my head would still be exposed.  It took me nearly a month to get through a whole day of school without either coming late, going home early, staying home altogether or taking a break in the Library or counselors office. I recall sitting through one class holding my knees tucked up and shaking uncontrollably. Graduating and moving on to University helped ease the vigilance but it was still there. After I had kids it got worse again. I would pay attention to what stores in the mall had alternate exits, I knew what rooms I could go in and lock the door behind me in the Library, I would be leery of anyone who was alone and wearing a coat that they could conceal a gun in.  I wasn’t a person who enjoyed being in large groups to begin with and this was just exacerbated by my constant need to be aware of threats. A few weeks after the shooting I went to attend a large youth conference. Registration took place in a gymnasium. It took a person on each arm accompanying me through the gymnasium to even make it possible for me to walk through it. You can’t walk into a group that big assess threats and develop a sense of trust quick enough. Hypervigilance is exhausting.

There has been a light at the end of the tunnel for me, the Jason Bourne part of my brain turned off , or at least decreased  significantly, a couple years ago. I never would have thought it would happen the way it did.  I went back to the High school,9 years after I had graduated,  to choreograph a musical they were putting together. It was hard to go back to the school but  I spent a lot of time there and had a lot of fun. I don’t know all the psychobabble to explain what happened but it’s like the joy and fun went into my brain and kicked the Hypervegilance’s butt, Jason Bourne style.

For those who have seen A View from The Top make sure you put the right emPHAsis on the right sylLABle


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