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Mindfulness leaving me hyper vigilant.


glfinding

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I can not express how hard i have been fighting for the past two years. Before that i was at rock bottom for the zillionth time, and it was the fourth time i had lost everything.  Many problems. Many problems i still deal with. A big tool i have used for the past couple of years is mindfulness. To me, it is actually pretty tough. A few parts to it. I am good at though. But i have been struggling with it lately.  One thing i do a lot, is bring myself back to the present moment, if i am dwelling on the past or fantasizing about the future.  I do this for what seems like a hundred times a day.  I feel like i have to expend so much mental energy on mindfulness. At the end of my long ass day, i just feel completely drained.  I love what mindfulness brings to my life, but i am tired. And have been tired for some months. I have been diagnosed with ptsd, and have had symptons of hyper vigilance with it. And though i have had a handle on it for a while, my mental routine reminds me of being hyper vigilant.  Like i have to be on my toes every second of the day. That i can not be relaxed. I mentioned this to my psychiatrist, i asked if she ever heard anyone say that about mindfulness and she had.  Not sure how many people on here use mindfulness. Thought id make a topic about it.

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I've just started a DBT program, and mindfulness helps... I guess. To me it seems like I'm just supposed to distract myself so I don't get upset. Just forget about everything and you will be fine. Well okay, sure. I guess I used to be more mindful when I was younger and still dealt with all of these issues, but all it did was let it fester under the surface unresolved. I keep bringing myself back to the present moment, but it's still just pain. I'm told that it's okay to feel what I feel, and just sit with it, radical acceptance and all that. But for how long can you just sit with pain without wanting to end it? I don't want to be present all the time. I want to disappear into myself.

I don't know that I feel hyper vigilant. I'm not sure how to describe it... I feel annoyed? Like I'm constantly poking myself with a stick or snapping a rubber band on my wrist just so that I don't have a panic attack. Like sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la," but in a more calm and reserved manner. It's constant. I don't always want to be fighting my mind. I don't want to have to do this over and over day in and day out. I just want to breathe without having to focus on it. I just want to think clearly without being terrified of my own thoughts.

Anyways. -hug-

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My counsellor told me i was mindful about a few things i brought up last time we met...she also mentioned if we dont distract ourselves after acknowledging it it will build up and then it just blows up without warning. Im trying to let that settle in my mind.

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I took a dbt class. Was great. I took it during my first rehab. Was the first time i realized how bad my thinking was. I learned to analyze my thoughts. Was able to notice my automatic judgements.

A big part of mindfulness is acceptance. Actually the opposite of ignoring or distracting. The ability to sit with your emotions without judgement.  I have never known too much fear, have always been wreckless and wild, anxiety is just something ive never had.  But i bet it makes mindfulness tougher. As i mntioned, i find it tough sometimes. In the end maybe a better alternative, i guess this past year of recovery has worn me down.

Annoying is similar to what i feel about it. 

Edited by glfinding
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On 4/17/2017 at 6:20 PM, glfinding said:
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I can not express how hard i have been fighting for the past two years. Before that i was at rock bottom for the zillionth time, and it was the fourth time i had lost everything.  Many problems. Many problems i still deal with. A big tool i have used for the past couple of years is mindfulness. To me, it is actually pretty tough. A few parts to it. I am good at though. But i have been struggling with it lately.  One thing i do a lot, is bring myself back to the present moment, if i am dwelling on the past or fantasizing about the future.  I do this for what seems like a hundred times a day.  I feel like i have to expend so much mental energy on mindfulness. At the end of my long ass day, i just feel completely drained.  I love what mindfulness brings to my life, but i am tired. And have been tired for some months. I have been diagnosed with ptsd, and have had symptons of hyper vigilance with it. And though i have had a handle on it for a while, my mental routine reminds me of being hyper vigilant.  Like i have to be on my toes every second of the day. That i can not be relaxed. I mentioned this to my psychiatrist, i asked if she ever heard anyone say that about mindfulness and she had.  Not sure how many people on here use mindfulness. Thought id make a topic about it.

Ok, so I don't think mindfulness should be draining for you. If anything, it should help you find some sustained peace with regard to your thinking. I have PTSD, too, and was doing mindfulness a lot - like all the time - and what I discovered, through the help of some folks I was training with, was that there sometimes has to be some down time and also some time devoted to self-compassion. If you are not taking time out to pamper yourself and work on self-compassion, then all the mindfulness in the world is not going to mean squat.

If you aren't already, it might benefit you to get involved in a mindfulness group or take a refresher course, so you have someone to chat with about these sorts of challenges.  Also, if you've never explored the idea of self compassion, you might want to do that.  Google Kristin Neff.  That is her specialty. She talks about the science behind it, and also provides some guidance and courses in how to be more self-compassionate.

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I've been thinking about the whole hypervigilance/mindfulness conundrum, because what you said here really got me thinking. I've had these issues at times, too, esp. when dealing during times of intense PTSD symptoms.

I think hypervigilance is really an inability to notice the present moment in a very real and purposeful way, to see that we are safe *now* and that there is not a danger confronting us at this very moment. Hypervigilance is all about keeping us safe from what we know about the past; mindfulness is about *noticing* those emotions and thoughts but allowing them to pass by and not grab hold of them and take over our present moment.

A trained mindfulness teacher (if you don't already have one) should be able to help you with some simple visualisations that make mindfulness less draining for you. It could/should be a very healing practice.

Best. 

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I think mindfulness is a great tool.  But, I can understand how you could become hyper vigilant and thus have the whole practice feel stressful.

I have a problem with being hyper vigilant as well.  I'm always trying to make sure that I'm doing something to better my situation....and it has to be the "BEST" course of action.  It becomes exhausting and counterproductive.

I realize that it's easier said than done, but I think learning to let go and just let things be can be very beneficial for people struggling with hyper vigilance.  Sometimes I'll read and listen to instrumental music (this keeps my mind from wandering and allows me to just be in the moment without exerting too much energy to do so).  I also do yoga and just tried Tai Chi.  That may sound a bit odd, but it seems to be very calming.

I suppose the best advice I can give is that sometimes we need to try less and simply be.

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Forgive my ignorance everyone. I have yet to start. @Shadows22 i thought mindfulness was supposed to do that on its own. This whole thread is starting to make me question even starting. :(

Ah but this is what i do. Get all freaked out before it's needed if needed at all.

Edited by Natasha1
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@Natasha1 Yes, that is what mindfulness is meant to do; keep you in the present moment and keep your mind from wandering.  So, I guess what I describe really is mindfulness in a way lol.

As I said I think it's a useful skill to learn and practice.  I guess the point I was trying to make is that I could understand how constantly having to redirect yourself could become frustrating (over a long period of time). The goal with mindfulness, as with many skills, is for it to become natural and in time you'd keep yourself in the present without having to think about doing it.

I think that by learning to let go and not having to "think"  about being mindful could help negate the potential of one becoming hyper vigilant. 

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