Fibromyalgia and Hypervigilance, What is it? How Does It Hurt Us?

A state of greater sensory sensitivity, accompanied  by  an exaggeration in the intensity of behaviors, whose  primary objective is to detect threats, which makes the  subject more irritable than normal.

A state of greater sensory sensitivity, accompanied by an exaggeration in the intensity of behaviors, whose primary objective is to detect threats, which makes the subject more irritable than normal.

Hypervigilance: it  is a state in which one is  constantly tense, on guard, and exceptionally aware of  the environment.

Some researchers believe that hypervigilance is a feature of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.There is research that supports this hypothesis, while others do not.The idea is that our brains become overly aware of things, which can include painful stimuli, noises, bright lights, and general activity.That could explain why our bodies react so strongly to sensations that most people would not experience as painful, as well as why we are so sensitive to noise, light, chaotic environments, and more.With hypervigilance, not only are things easier to notice, it is very likely that we will not be able to divert our attention from them.When something is making noise in the other room, we immediately notice, get very distracted by it, and probably agitate until it’s over.

The same happens when feeling the pressure of a belt or how a fabric rubs our skin. Our brains perceive it as a threat, our brains fixate on it, and our psychological response is far more extreme than it should be.My personal opinion is that hypervigilance plays an important role in these diseases, as it does in other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias, which have some physiology in common with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
My Hypervigilance Experience
The human brain perceives a large amount of information about our environment, of which we are not aware.There are too many signals that bombard our brains at the same time, so there is a filtering process, things considered unimportant are filtered out, and you are never aware of them.Anything that your mind considers a threat, however, draws extra attention. This can be a highly personalized response, based on what your brain has learned is a hazard.
I have arachnophobia (fear of spiders.)So I am almost certain that I will be the first person in the room to notice that there is something on the wall or some small movement on the carpet in the room.My brain is constantly on the alert for them, especially in places where I have seen them frequently.We used to have a bunch of worker spiders in our laundry room in late summer.As a result, there I am always on the alert, and alert to the point of anxiety.When I see a spider, I want to run away, huddle in a safe place, and scream.

Since my fibromyalgia started, my response to aggravating environments is similar.A few months ago, I was standing in line to buy something in a small store, an employee had turned on music, very loud, and it was extremely fast paced.Fortunately, I was with my husband and when I handed him the items and told him he had to get out of there, he understood me.Outside, I sat in front of a wall, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath until I was no longer in danger of an anxiety attack.I can’t tell the difference between this reaction and what happens when I see a spider.
Living With HypervigilanceMost parents experience a certain amount of hypervigilance when it comes to their children.When you have a baby, the tiniest moan can make you fly out of bed. You notice small risks that other people don’t notice, like an exposed electrical outlet, or a drink on the edge of a table.It is not healthy to spend too long in a state of hypervigilance.Police officers and soldiers in combat zones experience it often, and it is what puts them at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.Hypervigilance can disturb sleep, cause avoidance behaviors, and make us nervous and anxious.Being on the alert all the time is exhausting.It can make you irritable and prone to flare-ups.Panic attacks are definitely possible.Considering the list of symptoms, it seems highly likely that hypervigilance is part of our disease, at least for many of us.Those who do not have anxiety problems may be an exception.

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