I have PTSD–the hyper-arousal variety. Symptoms include insomnia, a short temper, hyper-awareness of your surroundings and being easily startled. I call them Chihuahua symptoms, because I’m startled by everything and have fear aggression like a mean little dog.
I’m an insomniac. I often wake up in a panic with my heart going a-thumpety-thump and can’t get back to sleep. Sometimes, I wake up and I can still feel phantom fingers wrapped around my neck choking me.
When I wake up in mean little dog mode and try to go back to sleep, that’s when my brain involuntarily replays all my awful experiences from embarrassing school moments to getting punched in the face by the domestic violence monster. I call them cringe moments, because they make me cringe (duh). Sometimes, I can’t get any sleep because of them.
My brain seems to think that the middle of the night is the perfect time to remind me of awful things. Thanks, brain.
This is only compounded when I share a bed with another human being. Male and I spent five very exhausting days and nights together. Male has PTSD–the numbing variety–but he’s also a bit of an insomniac. The two of us together are a picture of sleeplessness. It’s a good thing my bed is enormous.
Fortunately, after fifteen years or so, I’m mostly comfortable sleeping in a bed with him. Still, every time he couldn’t sleep and would go downstairs for a bit, it would wake me up. When he came back to bed, it would wake me up. One night, early on in his visit, he came back to bed and I completely panicked, because I didn’t realize it was him at first. It took a second to remember that he was staying with me.
Both monsters–the domestic violence monster and the pedophile–came for me in my sleep. Neither one of those bastards would allow me to feel safe while sleeping. They ruined it for me forever. I sleep through nothing.
After four years of dog, I don’t wake up every single time she moves (only about half the time I reckon). And, by the end of Male’s visit, he didn’t always wake me up when he left or came back to bed. When I woke up, I’d reach out to see if he was there, instead of being confused and panicky as to why someone was in my bed.
I’m not sure if my insomnia is entirely due to PTSD or if I would have been an insomniac even if two monsters hadn’t destroyed any sense of safety I had while asleep. It’s probably a mixture of both. It’s going to take a few nights of reaching out for Male before I realize that he’s in another time zone. And, next time he visits, the panicking will start all over again for a few nights. Ah, the joys of PTSD and insomnia.
Are you an insomniac? What do you do about it? Did anything exciting happen in my absence? Do you dislike Chihuahuas?