During the mass shooting at Michigan State University this week, Lauren Hudson heard many of the noises she heard in the first mass shooting she survived: people screaming, doors slamming and the thwacks of furniture as students rushed to barricade themselves.
In her 14 months recovering from the Oxford High School shooting, loud noises have persistently tormented Hudson. On Monday, her body shook. She cried. She wondered whether she would survive a second shooting. She wondered whether multiple gunmen surrounded her. Whether the shooting had been planned.
"It is very easy to slip back into that space," she wrote in an email in response to questions from the Free Press.
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Hypervigilance is a heightened sense of awareness of one's surroundings − People experiencing it may pay close attention when someone new walks into the room, look for exits as soon as they enter a crowded space or may be jumpy in reaction to a loud noise, such as a balloon popping. It can be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.
It's a function of control for people who have recently experienced trauma, said Sandra Graham-Bermann, a University of Michigan professor and director of the Child Resilience and Trauma Lab.
"Being hypervigilant is very important," she said. "It keeps you from being surprised to get in control of the anxiety that comes with being traumatized."