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Old November 12, 2013, 07:51 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Stress Inoculation Training in Everyday Life

I have a problem dealing with what should be stressful events. Minor things stress me (a totally different conversation) but big events that should be red flags kind of pass me right by.

It's happened most recently while driving. I have a learner's permit so I have to drive with somebody of a certain age. I've had incidents where I see something happen (somebody does a U-turn and then slows down so I have to apply my brakes quickly). I'll recognize that it's happening, at some level, but I don't feel anything about it. No fear or worry or anything. It causes a slow reaction time. If someone is in the car yelling that I have to hit the brakes or that I have to go right now to get across traffic, there's a couple second gap where I'm not really processing what happens. By the same token, if someone falls and gets hurt, although I will rush over to them, I feel like it's not a big deal and the person really couldn't be all that hurt. It just doesn't feel real and I don't have that urgency that I should have. Even when I know I should be feeling strong emotions, I may not feel anything immediately. It may take 5 seconds or a full minute for the effect to kick in and me to realize that I should be acting as if it's an emergency and that my heart has been pounding.

I am worried about this not just in situations like driving, but in self defense. I know I can practice my draw so that I can rely on muscle memory and training to get a good, quick draw. I am worried, though, that if I have one of the "moments" where it just doesn't feel like it's happening, that no amount of muscle memory will help me if I can't hit the "initiate protocol" button in my head and realize that I actually need to act.

I'm wondering if there's not a sort of stress inoculation training that wouldn't happen with this reactionary gap. I know some people say their IDPA or IPSC training helps them. One of the big issues for me is not only that I have this reactionary gap, but that people yelling and telling me what to do quickly overwhelms and frustrates me and I have a hard time focusing on what they're actually saying or what I should be doing. My dad was a wrestler for 8 years and suggested that an intense physical regimen where you must filter out information while in a physically tired state. For him this was wrestling but we discussed Jiu-Jitsu (which I have done before) or other types of physical defense classes including those dealing with firearms. He had talked about maybe a civilian boot camp program but I really don't know that that's the direction I want to take.

I'm looking for something that will give me experience thinking and reacting clearly in stressful environments including those that would be potentially dangerous in the real world. I need to learn to recognize a threat as it happens and act on it, as well as cope with the fact that there are going to be people scared and loud, maybe other people angry or trying to intimidate all while I'm trying to deal with a problem.

Have others had experience with a problem like this? What has worked well for them?
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:08 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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I'm no expert but it sounds like you're talking about two different things.

Failure to recognize a situation that requires action won't be helped by "stress inoculation". Stress inoculation prevents you from locking up under extreme stress. If you don't even recognize that a situation SHOULD be creating stress, you can't be "inoculated".

What you're describing (for the most part) sounds more like a problem with situational awareness.

The issue of not being able to act when someone is yelling at you, that might be an issue where stress inoculation might help, I don't know.
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:14 PM   #3
dakota.potts
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Maybe it is an issue with situational awareness. I guess I'd put it like this.

I can be watching for a thing. We can say I'm watching for somebody to cut me off on the road, or watching to see if somebody pulls a handgun out of their jacket.

I know it might happen and I'm watching for it and even have a plan.

Then it happens and my brain goes fuzzy. I know what I was going to do and I know I need to do it. There's no adrenaline, no urgency, and I struggle for a few seconds to recognize it's happening before the wheels in my head gain traction and I realize that it actually is happening right now and I need to fix it. It has to feel real in my head and often times it just doesn't, like I'm watching something on a computer screen.

Often this whole process only takes 2 or 3 seconds, but that's longer than it should be to process it. Sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes I don't notice it at all.

It is further hindered by people yelling "watch out, you're going to hit that guy" and I can only assume I need to be ready to hear people yelling at me "Watch out, that guy's got a gun" or "shoot him now" if I have to defend myself. The extra noise and input from other people tends to make me over think and lock up rather than just do.
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Old November 13, 2013, 11:32 AM   #4
Frank Ettin
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I'm going to close this (at least for now and unless someone gives me a good reason to re-open it). This is at least on the edge of off topic.

This really isn't about stress inoculation. This is about being young and inexperienced. But one does need to survive long enough to gain the necessary life experience to improve.

So it's a matter of recognizing one's current limitations, working at thing, not getting out of your depth and taking the time to learn and mature.
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