Hypervigilance, Catastrophizing, and Avoidance

We’ve discussed in other posts that fear and pain get tangled in a web together, one perpetuating and strengthening the other. For me, the fear around the pain, how it was affecting my life, never knowing when I’d have an episode, or how it was damaging my relationships was even larger than the pain itself. I was caught in the very heart of avoidance, hypervigilance and catastrophizing. Indeed many of the treatments from expert providers fed into these fears: don’t sit on this type of chair, don’t wear this type of shoe, don’t eat this type of food, don’t do this exercise, use good body mechanics, use this mouth guard, shoe lift, supplement, foam roller, neck pillow, on and on and on it went...for years. My system was so used to checking and avoiding and catastrophizing that it became part of me, as natural and automatic as breathing. Writing this here brings up so many emotions. I’m so sad for the younger me, that woman caught in the web of pain and trying to get out of pain and in the end, making it worse through all the effort. I see her and I grieve for her. It didn’t have to be that difficult. And I’m so very grateful that I’ve found my path out of the web of fear and hypervigilance. I’m so grateful to understand the great damage we do to ourselves physically when we let trepidation rule our waking thoughts.


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