It’s no big secret that I have problems with my sleep. Anyone who knows me will most likely know this.
Periodic Insomniac since I was twelve – going through phases of months where I’d sleep for 3 hours a night, and be fine, or then go through a phase of sleeping 10 hours a night for a few weeks…
What’s a little more interesting though, is that when I was little I only had three nightmares that I remember. One, self explanatory, as it had to do with watching It, and then a window blowing out on me; another one being that The Nothing (ala Neverending Story) was coming for me, but I could do nothing, and the third one was fever induced – I had a circus train set, and in my nightmare it turned into a giant snake which then constricted me.
Now though, I frequently have to deal with everything from run of the mill bad dreams through to waking up screaming, drenched in cold sweat night terrors. Most of these are actually pretty explainable (the weird ass crazy dreams aren’t, but they usually incorporate stuff that’s going on at the moment, however trivial and twist it round like nothing else… ) as they relate back to things that have happened in the past.
Another fairly open secret nowadays for those who know me is the extent to which I was abused as a youngling. I take the use of that word very seriously, and it has taken me a very long time to be able to use that word in reference to myself, instead choosing to justify what had been done to me, but after spending time seeing a psychotherapist, which actually helped me more than I thought, and having her very clearly define what had happened as ‘long term systematic abuse’ has allowed me to accept that to be the case, and actually be able to move on from it somewhat. This is relevant because most of what tends to go on in the worst of my sleep issues is fallout from those experiences, and there’s little I can actually do to affect that. I’m at the point where I can accept that what happened to me was wrong, and most of the time I can say with conviction that I didn’t deserve what happened, nor was it my fault. I also know that it’s over, I live a long way from where it happened, and all sorts of other stuff, but because of the ways I (didn’t know how to) dealt with it, I end up going through it.
At it’s worst, it will start with a night or two of really odd dreams (this time round, I dreamt that I was kidnapped and abandoned in Norway in just shorts and Tee shirt – taking the fact there’s a boat currently docked http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/local-news/ocean-giant-due-on-the-tyne-today-1-4990831 in on there – I’d gone to look at the boat, interested in how it works and then been taken to go see it in action, just not as I had thought) and then go into full blown nightmares/night terrors – i differentiate between the two as to whether I can wake up from them or not) which happened on Monday.
Invariably, because I know what’s coming, despite the fact that I know that the are just dreams, can’t hurt me, and it’s a relatively normal response etc etc I still then get extremely anxious about going to sleep, leading to me putting it off as much as possible. Tuesday, I didn’t sleep at all. (This was exacerbated by a difficult conversation too, but that just left me worrying about that in the time I was failing to sleep) Wednesday, got a little, in very broken slots but again more issues, Thursday managed to tire my brain out, so passed out and got a straight four hours, and the rest of it very broken. Yesterday, I ended up falling asleep on the bus on the way to and from work (can only put that down to the motion and exhaustion), and then ended up just passing out straight into what I call ‘dead sleep’ where I don’t dream, and my brain is just OFF. Although oddly I can still hold conversation and not be aware of it, as demonstrated by the fact I actually fell asleep yesterday whilst on Skype, and whilst I don’t remember it, am told that I answered coherently when was gently prodded, as I was sitting up with the laptop balanced on one knee with mic and cam going… :-S
Tonight will hopefully be better, as there was no issue last night, although a lot of anxiety still exists around sleeping, I can talk myself round with that, but am expecting broken sleep.
Ultimately, the only things that I’ve found that do actually help are that when someone else is in the house I’m a little less prone to having them in the first place – don’t have to be in my room, just present.
And having someone nearby, helps with the nerves/panic/anxiety around getting to sleep, especially when they don’t object to cuddles/curling up with. Very much a feeling safer thing there, as a guaranteed way to be able to get me to sleep if I’m having trouble is to stroke my head which is like a secondary off button to being conscious as I tend to drop out like a light very very quickly..
There is the primary off button as well, which is another spot which has a dual effect of making me melty and also disengages my ability to actually think, which is actually quite amusing. I’m pretty good at locating that spot in others but it’s very rare the favour gets returned… maybe something to put on the christmas list… xD
So yeah. I’d planned to be asleep two hours ago, however instead I’m getting all anxious about sleep.
Also feeling rather sidelined. which is knocking my general self esteem some. Not intentional I think,but just seems to be too much of a coincidence when four people independently seem to be shooing you away. Hurts a bit more when one of them is a sibling as well. Which comes into the second word of my title. Wasn’t sure whether to go with surrender or submission.
There comes a point when a line is drawn and you have to call time. Enough is enough, and you seem to be just wasting your energy by making the effort. It’s how I feel with my brother. I’m the one making all the effort here, and I’m offering to take the time, effort, money, travel to go and see him to keep in touch, and it just feels like it keeps getting thrown back in my face. Makes me wonder what it is that I’ve done, or am I just not good enough? Is now the time to stop, and submit, to say that enough is enough? It hurts more because it’s my brother, and I always thought that since we got to know one another (a long story for another time) that we got on fairly well…
I’ts leading to a fair bit of self doubt and wondering what’s wrong with me? But maybe it’s time to let go..
Trying to counter it with the fact that I have friends who are honest and true, and I can’t be all that bad if they want to know me despite my flaws, but sometimes it’s harder than others, Especially when I’ve got sleep-demons and demons from the past poking their oars in too…
So onto my final topic. Tomorrow I’m off to one of my Sanctuaries. York. I’ve got several places that I like to go and escape to to regather myself together, especially after a hard time. York is one of them, Durham another, Hebden Bridge another and Mam Tor is the other. Each one has something different about it that makes me feel a little more together. They’re places I can just be in, whether by myself, or with others.
Was hoping I’d be able to have some company tomorrow in York, but no-one is about. It won’t stop me enjoying myself by any means, but would have been good. Was thinking earlier about previous visits, one with an old friend Kyu, Where we ended up drinking white wine and eating peanuts at 9am on a Saturday morning because we could and it was amusing. Kyu went on to Scarborough later in the day, but fun was had… Also the time I walked around the walls and just went and got myself lost because I could. The picture of me with a barn owl was taken in York at Coppergate as well.
I do find myself yearning occasionally for the day where I am able to find Sanctuary in a walk down the beach, or in the swimming pool, but I guess as well, this is right, as sanctuary is something separate to the everyday normality. So it should be right that it takes an effort to get there. to find the sacred and the profane…..
Now, I’m feeling sleepy, so I’m going to curl up, and hope to sleep well. If you read this far thank you for sticking with me…
And any offers to come find my off button would be appreciated at the moment! A woman can live in hope I guess!!! 😉