PTSD related sleep problems flaring up


Sleeping has become a real pain again. Having everyone here for Christmas has messed up the hard won semblance of stability in my sleep-wake cycle quite a lot. Having people around during the night increased my PTDS related watchfulness, being on high alert doesn’t agree with sleeping, and to finish the mess off, the sleep and loss-of-control and darkness related anxiety reared its ugly head. And as is so often the case, the brunt of it is only showing up with a delay, now, once everything is calm again.

Going to sleep last night was hell. I ended up crying and threatening I’d hurt myself if mom left me alone during the night. (Any trust that she was not going to shove me into bed and lock the door to leave me to a miserable nightly death had gone out the window.) And while I calmed down when she assured me that she was there and let me curl up with her, lying down itself gave me new anxiety and eventually triggered a flashback that consisted of the physical sensation of someone choking me.

I think it was at least three at night before I was calm enough to fall asleep. Not that it was very restful, but at least it was sleep. Even so, this morning I feel done for. My eyes are itchy from crying so much, my nose is stuffy and my head hurts. I’m weary and irritable and would like for the whole world to leave me alone, but at the same time I panic when mom only so much as walks a few steps away from me. And I already dread the next night.

I guess it’s progress, though, that even through most of this crap Christmas blowback, I can keep my self-observing me switched on, instead of being fully immersed in the moment only. I’m more aware than I used to be. For example I have always begged mom to give me some drug in the past, because I felt like I was not going to survive without, and I did not this time, because even when it felt awful, I was still aware it WAS going to get better eventually, even when it felt nothing like getting better at the time and drugs weren’t going to make it a shorter struggle in the long run. This kind of double consciousness, for the situation as well as reflections upon the situation, is new.

So what do we do instead of drugs? Mom and I made a battle plan during breakfast:

  • keeping to my usual sleep schedule, getting up in the morning even when I’m tired, without sleeping or napping during the day
  • keeping to a healthy diet of unprocessed foods, avoiding sugary snacks, sugary drinks etc.
  • going outside every day to catch some sun and fresh air
  • making an effort to resolve feelings from the day before going to bed
  • making an effort to make bedtime a safe, cozy time again
  • cuddling and calm talking and stuff before sleeping
  • no going to bed and falling asleep alone, so I can turn to mom for help early on when I notice things start to go bad, instead of waiting too long and ending up in the thick of it
  • lots of feelings-of-safety enhancing stuff during the day, like getting back to our familiar routines, sensible quality time, etc.
  • and as a long term goal keeping on working on reducing the PTSD effects during therapy, obviously

So far so good. I dearly hope It won’t take too long until the worst sleep shit goes away again. I’m not keen on giving the last crap night too many repeats. Ah well, whatever. I’m sleep deprived, so I’d probably start rambling if I kept on writing. So I figure I’ll start the day instead and see what it brings. Have a good one, everyone!

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nobodysreadingme
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 15:17:24

    Sleeping is a major hassle for me.
    Napping during the day is tempting. I resist it. It’s hard.
    Cuddles are good.
    Sun, fresh air, a bit of exercise are good.

    I like the sound of your mum.

    • Lola
      Dec 29, 2012 @ 16:22:57

      Man, sorry that sleeping is such a hassle for you, too. It can be really nasty, can’t it? I also find it hard to resist the napping. Or to resist sleeping in after more than half a night spent awake. I could sleep peacefully in the mornings after sunup. But I used to to that when I was living at group homes and stuff, and it only messed what little normal sleep pattern I still had up completely. So I try to keep resisting, holding on to the prospect of normalizing things again.

      And yeah, my mom is cool. I’d totally lose track without her. Even when she makes me go outside when I’d rather stay in the house. But I’m glad she’s there, and that she’s generous with the cuddles, especially on a day like today.

  2. nobodysreadingme
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 16:28:17

    We’ve dome the whole Internet ‘hugs’ thing.
    But you know what I mean

  3. Trackback: The Sexual Healing Journey begins « Who needs normal?!
  4. Hawkruh
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 19:33:36

    Glad you have your mom and her cuddles to help you with the night. Not sleeping is HARD!

    • Lola
      Dec 30, 2012 @ 20:32:04

      Thank you. 🙂 And yeah, not sleeping is hard, sleeping is hard, too, I’m not looking forward to the night any. But I know I’m still lucky I’m not alone. That and the cuddles make a difference.

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