This Summer holiday (which is oh ever so nearly over!) I have really, really noticed Bonzo’s hyper vigilance in action. There is no escaping the fact that this is getting worse.
So, hypervigilance – what is it? This is Wikipedias version – reads about right to me.
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.
In hypervigilance, there is a perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviors, smells, or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma. The individual is placed on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near. Hypervigilance can lead to a variety of obsessive behavior patterns, as well as producing difficulties with social interaction and relationships.
Sometimes, it is quite amusing, sometimes it is quite (very) irritating. Really, it is plain sad.
Amusing – last week at somepoint I sauntered downstairs (as I always try to) to make a cup of tea whilst Bonzo, as usual, looked at books in his bed. Since I was planning on popping out the front with the dog we were looking after I put my jeans on first. Thinking nothing about this, tea in hand I went back upstairs.
Well, that was it. ‘When did you put your jeans on, I didn’t see you put your jeans on, why have you got your jeans on, why didn’t you make your tea first, what have you got your jeans on for, I didn’t hear you pick them up, where were you when you put your jeans on……?’ Put that on repeat for about 3 hours and you are almost living it with me.
I did actually get a slight smile out of him when I gently teased him ‘see, Mummy can sometimes do things without you noticing’…….. but it didn’t stop the questioning.
Needless to say, I am back to my routine of getting dressed after my cup of tea. Anything for a bit of peace.
On a daily basis we have to observe and talk about every noise. It is very lucky we live in a detached house. (though the neighbours could touch our house if they leant out of their bathroom window!)
When I go upstairs he stands at the bottom narrating what I am doing. From sorting clothes to doing a wee – nothing goes unlogged. And if I am really lucky, these days he sometimes logs it in his ‘diary’ too. Joy. ‘Mummy went for a wee at 8.45, then she flushed the loo……’
He continuously calls me to make sure I respond to his monotonous recall of my every move. I don’t always respond cheerfully as it gets just a tad annoying – especially when there is no school to give me a break!
However, it has it’s uses.
Yesterday, after a great day out with cousins and friends, we couldn’t find the dogs lead. ‘Oh, I know where it is’ says Bonzo, ‘Elaine took it off him during the picnic and put it next to the bush’ – and off he zoomed to get it.
Maybe, after all, it has it’s uses.