Michele Leavitt

Coming to terms with my inner hypervigilante

It’s thrilling to have a piece published by an organization you admire – so I’m especially delighted to have this essay in The Establishment, a groundbreaking online feminist magazine.

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about my anxiety over the current political situation and how it was interfering with my writing life. This current essay is an expansion and revision of that original post, and like all forays into revision, I learned so much from the process.

In this case, I also learned so much from the questions The Establishment’s co-founder and editor Nikki Glouderman asked me. Those questions forced me to dig  deeper into the research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and hypervigilant behaviors and to further clarify my own thinking.

The traumas I suffered took place long ago, and I’ve often acknowledged those traumas in my writing. But, I’m very resistant to acknowledging anything that smacks of my weaknesses/disabilities/disorders. My identity depends on being a survivor, on rising above adversity. In revising this essay, I ended up admitting that PTSD gets in my way, and that it may always get in my way.  So thank you to Nikki and Est., and to the magic of writing and revision, for pushing me toward some self-awareness.