Last night was not a great night for sleep; instead of shutting off my mind decided to ponder on the whys? Hows? Whats? and whens? of life (my life, specifically). One consistent theme that kept popping up was Sensory Sensitivity and the impact Hypervigilance has on it.
I know, I know, completely random and I could be completely off base and talking a load of rubbish, but I kind of came to my own uneducated conclusion.
As we have evolved as humans we have lost many of the skills and talents that they had 1000’s of years ago. Some were possibly outdated and we developed new ways of living and adapting. A lot of the skills may not be of any benefit in the current way of life.
I guess our senses are no different; we don’t necessarily use them in the ways of the past and possibly not quite as tuned into them as we once were. Threat to life is not what it used to be thousands of years ago, humans have no preditors as such, the main threats are other humans, natural disasters, natural causes and accidents.
Back then we would have used our senses to detect changes in the atmosphere, to sense danger, it was an important tool with regards to our survival. So, we had to be alert and in tune to our senses. Some may even call it a sixth sense. Animals still have that ability and are highly intune to their senses, they have to be as some have many different preditors.
Take a Zebra for example, if it wasn’t alert to its surroundings and couldn’t sense the tiny shifts in the atmosphere, it would be easy pray to Lions. It picks up on the tension the lion is releasing into the atmosphere. Perhaps that’s not a great example, but I’m tired and can’t think of a better one at present.
Until recently I did not realise what I was experiencing could be down to sensory sensitivity, all I knew was certain situations made me feel rubbish and I didn’t always have the answer as to why. A bit like the change in the atmosphere before a storm, I often end up with a headache and feeling on edge before it starts, and it doesn’t go until the storm has passed.
Experiencing trauma can cause an individual to become Hypervigilant, which can play havoc for someone who has a sensory sensitivity due to being continuously on high alert to danger or threats (perceived or actual). You become over reactive and intune to your senses and to the small shifts in the atmosphere. Smells, sounds, light and visual changes, emotional noise.
Emotional Noise is a big issue for me, too many people and too many emotions in one place quickly overwhelmes me and I have no idea how to turn the sense that picks it up off. Some people can judge whether someone’s anger is directed at them and whether they are a threat or not, they can interpret the persons intentions. I can sense that Anger, that emotion, but I can’t always tell if it is directed at me or if I am in danger, so my Anxiety is triggered.
I know this drives my friends and family nuts at times; although I can pick up on their mood I don’t always now if it is directed at me and in the past I would frequently ask reassurance as to whether I had done something to upset them. I am good at forming worst case scenarios in my mind for most situations and i tend to blame myself, so i would need to ask. I don’t do that as much now, I know 8 times out of 10 that their mood is highly unlikely to have anything to do with me. But, it still makes things difficult because I take on board how they are feeling as my own.
Another thing that occurred to me recently was that there were different species of human thousands of years ago. Genetics is not one of my interests and I don’t really understand it, psychology and mental health is my interest. Who is to say that the Autism wiring of the brain didn’t come from one of these other species, any of the neurodiverse brain types for that matter, we know some species interbred. Perhaps that’s why humans were so successful. We need each neurotype to evolve and survive.
Like I said I could be completely off base and possibly at risk of being laughed at. Its not often I share my thoughts for that reason lol.