Posted on BrainLine May 8, 2013.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.
About the author: Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe, PhD
Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe is an Army psychologist who serves as the chief of Clinical Recommendations at the Deployment Health Clinical Center at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
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D.Plaster replied on Permalink
You don't have to be military to experience this condition. Many children and adults have this due to abuse, neglect, and traumatic life experiences/ surroundings. I do these things and have since I was 3yrs. old. I'm in constant survival mode, even though for the past 30 years there is no immediate need. I see things differently than others and my brain does not shut down. I'm always on high alert and aware of my surroundings. I have already scanned potential threats and escape plans/defense plans before I sit down. I know all I need to know about you within 5-20 minutes of meeting you by the words you choose to use and when/where you choose to use them. The tone of your voice, your silence, your body language, your appearance, condition of your home, where you choose to eat at, your refrigerator, med cabinet, and the company you keep, the way you answer the phone/door and the way you walk. This all happens in a matter of seconds to minutes. I don't know how to stop it. It's automatic and a lifestyle. It's sad to say that this happens even with the ones I love. Trust must be earned, but no one receives it fully, not even my " trusted circle ", it is done in " levels of trust ", and with the flick of a switch......gone forever. Most of the time these days, I'm envious of how others seem to be so generous with their feelings, trust, relationships and so forth, but sometimes I'm grateful that I had the childhood I endured. It's a tool, a weapon, an alert system, and a defense. A lot like prayer. I am blessed to have the people in my life that I have, they don't know everything about me, but they know enough to love me anyway.