Practical Help with Hypervigilance from PTSD
Sometimes the smallest things can increase your sense of safety – something which is so important when you’re battling PTSD. Hypervigilance can end up taking over a PTSD sufferers life, but some of these tips might go some way to helping you feel a little more at ease.
Clear Shower Curtain
For many PTSD sufferers, the ‘unknown’ can trigger flashbacks or anxiety attacks – furthermore a shower curtain can feel like a barrier to seeing what is around you. This fear can come from so many sources, but the loud noise from a shower, coupled with being in the small enclosed space of a shower cubicle, can be a real issue for some people. A clear shower curtain like this one can make all the difference.
Consider installing a motion sensor light near your front door. If the light isn’t on, no one is within “the perimeter”. It’s important to note that small animals and strong winds can trip these lights so try to keep the this in mind if the light does go on. These battery powered, motion sensor lights are a good starting option.
One common symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the repeated checking of locks on doors and windows due to a feeling of being “insecure”. To ensure total piece of mind, check if your window locks are functioning correctly. If they’re looking a little old or are difficult to operate, a quick trip to your local DIY shop to replace these can give you an little more piece of mind. You can also add window restrictors (also used as child safety devices) to add a little more piece of mind.
If your hyper-vigilance makes it difficult for you to sleep, installing a burglar alarm can give you some peace of mind. Many high-tech systems these days will allow you to set the alarm from the comfort of your own bed (or for a 3am check that you definitely put it on before you went to bed). For a cheaper option, some fake alarm decals or alarm box on your house can be a good preventative measure and give you a little additional comfort.
Keep your garden neat and tidy
Eliminate any potential places that you may fear someone could hide. Be sure to keep large bushes and shrubs away from windows. Make sure any trees or tall plants are secured well so they don’t catch your eye if they are blowing in the wind.
Keeping windows closed
If you feel that every noise outside is keeping you awake at night, perhaps consider keeping your windows closed, but purchasing a fan to keep you cool – you can now get almost silent fans to ensure noise blocking doesn’t then trigger your hypervigilance.
Use a night light
Night times can be some of the most difficult for those with hypervigilance – and the darkness can play all-sorts of tricks on your mind. Try installing a night-light in your bedroom, or the hall just outside, so you know that if you do open your eyes, you can see a little clearer. Alternatively, have a bedside light with a flick-switch that you can reach easily. You may not need to use it, but knowing it’s there if you need to use it, can be great at offering piece of mind.
Move your furniture around to suit you
To help you relax, move your furniture around in your home so it suits you. This might mean moving your sofa so that you can see the door or windows when watching TV, or perhaps moving desks at work so you can see the whole office and not have people walking around behind you.
Listen to music
For some PTSD sufferers, listening to music or having the TV on can be difficult, if not impossible – it means they can’t hear what’s going on around them. For others, playing quiet music on headphones whilst out and about can help to serve as a distraction for any sudden noises. However, it’s important to be careful to be very aware and careful when nearby or crossing roads if you have headphones in.
CCTV with alerts to your phone
These says, you can buy fairly inexpensive CCTV systems with motion detection for in and around your home. Many of the CCTV systems like this one, will send alerts to your phone if movement is detected – and the sensitivity can be altered to suit. Many also have night vision as a standard feature.
Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.
PTSD UK Blog
You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.
How photography helped me manage my PTSD – Guest Blog Matt Dolinski discovered that photography helped him managed his PTSD and other mental health issues. Starting by taking photos on his mobile phone, Matt is now organising ‘Photo Walks’ to
How running can help people with PTSD The physical and mental benefits of everything from gentle jogging to serious running are well known and exercise (particularly running) can help reduce the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (both PTSD and
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