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I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want.

If you are looking for ranson, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you. I will find you, and I will kill you.

I didn’t choose that quote to big up myself. Of course, I’m not Liam Neeson, nor do I fantasize about starring in the movie Taken. I’d be hard pressed to come up with that retort even if I were in that situation – with or without Liam Neeson’s fictional character’s “particular set” of ex-CIA skills.

But similar to the movie’s hero I do have a long career, not of course in Hollywood’s make-believe CIA but as a martial art practitioner. I don’t speak of the ramifications of my chosen ‘hobby’ often, but the training does affect and influence me above all of my other experiences. Recently I was reminded of this when I was having a drink with a mentor from when I was a young black belt. This older black belt noticed me glancing at the door each time a new patron walked in, and pointed out that I shouldn’t worry – that he had my back. He then said something about my experiencing some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, I know don’t have PTSD; I don’t suffer the effects of PTSD’s “intense fear, horror, or powerlessness.”

What I believe he was referring to is the effects of self defence and combative training that could result in hypervigilance. Wikipedia talks about this being an “enhanced state of sensory sensitivity” which could “also be accompanied by a state of increased anxiety.” Apparently, according to the definition, the hypervigilant person is constantly “scanning the environment” which was what I was doing unconsciously – though frequent enough to alert my friend.

I can’t pinpoint how this hypervigilance started, though I know it’s been with me for a very long time. What I do know is that I don’t believe it’s a real issue … I’m not in any danger of alienating my family with bizarre psychotic behaviour or am I putting them off with “obsessive behaviour patterns.” It’s at a comfortable point where I’m managing the byproduct of my training, and I’m using it to keep my family and myself safe.

Do you experience hypervigilance? Do you experience hyperarousal to threat stimuli? Or do you experience PTSD? Do you suffer negative effects? Do you have your symptoms under control? Would you like to share your experience wherever you are with it? If you do, please feel free to go to the FaceBook post on this topic.

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