Odd thing.. I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am for weeks now. This is nearly every night, exactly at, or within a few minutes of three. Don’t they call that “the witching hour?”
Some nights the waking up is for apparently no reason at all and it’s usually very hard to get back to sleep. Lately though, I’ve been having terrible nightmares. I feel odd saying that I’m bothered by them because I’m 37 and there’s nothing for me to worry about in my day to day life. That and, well, nightmares.. I know that everyone has them from time to time, but these are so…visceral…
I have PTSD. I know I’ve mentioned this before in other entries, but it seems that some of those manifestations will likely persist until my dying day. That doesn’t bother me so much. What I’ve lived through isn’t something that doesn’t leave plenty of scars upon the soul, for a lack of a better term (I’m not a person of faith or spirituality). I’m not in that situation and there’s no possibility of ever being in that situation again as I’m not a child, which is when the vast majority of the traumas in my life occurred.
The nightmares though.. They endure. They aren’t always replaying those events, but often follow the same themes. The ones of late have had me being a helpless victim of incredible violence that always leave me dead, or where dying is inevitable and I’m in terrible pain waiting for my end. I wake with my sheets soaked in sweat, my heart pounding, my chest tight and sometimes breathing is difficult, my throat is dry, similar to how you feel when you over-exertyourself. That’s not the worst of it, though. It’s that waking in the state of utter terror and disorientation. My wife tells me that sometimes I’ll call out, most often shouting “NO!”
This comes with the territory it seems. I haven’t been triggered from anything during my waking hours for well over a decade. For anyone unfamiliar with that term, I sincerely hope you never have to. The nightmares I can deal with. I’ve had them the vast majority of nights for as long as I can remember, but the variety of late has left me shaken enough that some nights it’s nearly impossible to get back to sleep.
So, here I lay wife awake a little after midnight typing this post on my phone, hoping to get at least 4 hours of sleep tonight. I worked a 16 hour day today, which will bring my hours to around 62 this week, which would be more, but I leave a could of hours early tomorrow (today) to see the psychiatrist. She knows about the insomnia and nightmares and is very concerned about both. We’ve not worked together for long, so it’s taking a lot to get her to see that this is just the way things are for me, at least with the nightmares, I mean.
The vast majority of my scars from trauma aren’t external and I’ve been a master of not showing that anything is wrong to the outside world that it’s like a reflex. The environment that I grew up in was one that if you cried, or showed much of any emotion when things were happening, or after, or pretty much seeming unhappy at any point was severely punished – after all, my abuser saw that as weakness. Adding insult to injury, he told me that he was hardening my (insert female derogatory terms) ass up so that I could survive in this horrible world.
He was right in some regard.. Things were so bad that most things that really throw people for a loop don’t even register as being any more of an emergency than being moderately hungry and having to choose between any number of fast food chains (usually Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich wins out, but a spicy Italian from subway in honey oat is a close second). Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t thank him for it, but objectively, there was some truth to it in its own way.
I’m rambling.. And I’m in desperate need of sleep. Time to self-medicate and get and chemically induced sleep. I’m going to ask the psychiatrist for something powerful to knock me down. At 6’1″ and 220lb., it takes a lot. It’s still far more healthy what she’ll come up with versus my taking what I have on hand in a pinch.