Wednesday 2 November 2016

A blog post I never published while suffering from nightmares

I came across this draft blog post which I never published - from April 2016, on the subject of nightmares and lack of progress from the professional therapy I'd been undergoing. Really, it's as true seven months on as it was then. The difference, though, is that I don't feel quite so helpless and I'll tell you why in another post very soon, once I've 'tested the water' so to speak because I don't want this to be another "This is it, I feel soooo much better..." (end of 2nd paragraph). In the meantime, here is that draft post from mid April 2016:

Over the past two years I've had a bundle of different therapies for the PTSD-like, anxiety-led symptoms that began to develop a year or so after my son went into remission for his eating disorder. Following each therapy, I've thought: "This is it, I feel soooo much better, fixed, sorted, I can start to forget about the past and look to the future - and just get on with my life."

But it appears not to be so...

Weeks or months after each therapy, the feelings return. This year I had the worst nightmare I have ever had in my entire life - and I am no stranger to nightmares; I have them every other night, sometimes every night.

Sometimes more than once in one night.

And all of them are anxiety-led.

You know the kind of thing... missed trains, exams you haven't revised for, school lessons you've missed, forgetting lines on stage, getting lost in London Underground-style tube networks, needing to be somewhere urgently when you're miles away and struggling slowly through a sea of glue-like mud, needing to call someone urgently and forgetting the impossibly long telephone number after the first few digits, not being able to find a working bathroom / toilet... the list goes on and on.

But the worst are the ones where I am kidnapped by maniacs who are going to kill me.

And all of these are so very real.

Which means that I often feel like a zombie first thing in the morning after an appalling night's sleep. When I wake up my mind feels as if it's been through a cement mixer overnight. I feel traumatised.

Sleep medication doesn't work. It makes me sleep, but it doesn't stop what my brain decides to do during those sleeping hours. Neither does any amount of CBT exercises or mindfulness, nor self-hypnosis nor any of those sleep hygiene things you can do.

It's as if, once asleep and free from all CBT-like mindfulness control, my mind thinks: "Bingo! I can go C.R.A.Z.Y. now... I am F.R.E.E. to do what the heck I want and wreak havoc."

Which it does. Admirably.

And no-one seems to be able to do anything about it.

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