Tag: sleep

Coming back at 2.45am

I haven’t slept yet tonight. It’s unusual for me as my medications usually knock me out soon after my night time dosage. That sleep is one of the much needed escapes I rely on. My head is all light and floaty now but … no sleep.

I think it’s because I’m still in the process of coming back from a dissociated state that I slipped into at some point early yesterday evening. This is one of the times the process of coming back is awful and drawn out. The time for which I was gone was good on this occasion. I think it gave me some kind of release. I am not totally sure. I know the little-child-me took over. I think she was happy when I answered her at first. But she got very scared in the end. But coming back is horrible, partly because of the guilt about what I did whilst I was gone (it’s automatic before I have any evidence to know what I’ve done) and partly because of the confusing emotions I get whilst I’m coming back. Tonight the start of coming back brought this sudden switch to emptiness combined with a feeling of being bereft. Time felt distorted. Then jumpiness and feeling sure I was being watched developed as well, along with the recurring notion people were standing just outside my field of vision waiting to grab me (and do what I don’t know but it’s scary).

Suddenly exhaustion is tugging at my brain and I feel as if I’m swaying and I know I’ll sleep now. Writing it down seems to have helped.

Ginny xxx

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Awake but locked into my dreams

I had a terrifying experience whilst I was waking this morning. Recently my flashbacks and intense dreads have blended with nightmares so that the flashback will first work its way into the dream, then I’ll be locked for a long time into a state where I feel I’m conscious (and I’m aware of physical sensations in the real world like the feel of the mattress under me or noise outside) but the flashback continues all around me and I can’t move  and often can’t open my eyes from it. In my hallucination / dream I’m screaming and panicking to move and get free but for a long time I can’t. Usually when it eventually ends I’ll be able to move and full consciousness returns and I’ll be very upset. Occasionally I go back into sleep for a time.

Today’s experience has left a peculiraly lasting fear with me although it was bizarre and did not involve explicitly reexperiencing a past event or threat. Afterwards my anxiety was really high, I was shaking, crying and for about 4 hours I felt as if I was bordering on a panic attack. I spoke on the phone to a family member, about what had happened but also about other nice things like how they were decorating for Christmas, to ground me and draw me back to the real world. A little later I forced myself to go out, pushing through the panic and feeling so dizzy and faint. This also helped and I was rewarded with beautiful gentle afternoon sunlight. Ducks and gulls were circling over the river and the sunlight in the trees through the mist gave a delicate pastel glow. I went into town and got the last couple of Christmas gifts on my list. Somehow, reality became a little firmer and safer.

I apologise that the rest of this post may not be terribly interesting to anyone but me. Reading about my dream or hallucination probably isn’t very appealing! I have written about what I experienced as a way of processing it and accepting that it happened, facing it and hopefully making it a bit less scary. Also, I think what I experienced tells me about ways I am feeling (in the real world) trapped, scared and dissociated from a couple of identities within me which I don’t allow to speak or feel and one of which doesn’t really dare be heard. I think it may be useful for me to come back to this later.

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In one of these bizarre conscious-but-trapped states (is this the horror people with Locked In Syndrome feel?), I was panicking desperately trying to fully awake, open my eyes and get off the bed, when a woman I couldn’t see came to me and told me that my friend A was very sick and going to die. She had not asked for me and wouldn’t, but I must go to see her.

In real life I lost touch with A several years ago. We were never very closest friends but we connected over various work and discussions at church and spent some time together and I felt somehow that A, an extremely private person who very rarely spoke of herself at all and shrank away from any time spent on her, struggled deeply inside with fights I could somehow empathise with.

In my hallucination this morning, I decided immediately that yes, I must go to her, and so I stopped screaming and panicking about not being able to force myself up off the bed. I started to go with the woman I couldn’t see to A’s house. I asked her, what about A’s husband G (in real life A is married). The woman told me G was overcome with sadness for A and couldn’t any longer reach her. He didn’t know what to do but he wanted me to come. The woman I couldn’t see and I went to some kind of building I don’t remember, except that there was lots of wood and it had lots of rooms or passages. The woman I couldn’t see was gone suddenly and I wondered how would I know where A was. But then suddenly I found myself in A’s room. I was aware that her husband G was in the room but further away in the corner not able to come closer, though he wished he could. At the same time my terror resurfaced and came to its peak and I remembered again how I was trapped and couldn’t move. I was being crushed by terror and dread. A was in her bed; she was really sick; she was dying; though I was really afraid I absolutely had to look at her without fear. Despite the fear I was longing to look and be with her.

So, with all my courage and in so much pain I looked. Suddenly I was right by her bed kneeling on the floor wanting to take her in my arms and hug her. Then the utter terror returned because at first I couldn’t see her. Then I realised with horror she was all covered over with these richly embroidered sheets and cloths – like altar cloths or priests’ vestments, I thought – and her hair was covered as though she were a nun… but somehow she had become fused or blended with the bed. It was surreal and frightening. Then she looked straight at me and I remembered the pain she was in and how her husband was hurting so much but couldn’t reach her anymore and couldn’t go on. She smiled at me and told me I do not need to be afraid.

Then suddenly she was in intense pain. It gripped her. She was no longer fused to the bed but sat up then fell forwards near the foot of the bed. She was no longer covered up by the sheets or dressed as a nun; instead her hair was loose and she wore a childlike flowery dress. I reached out to soothe her and rub her back and cried out, what should I do, all her muscles were rigid with pain. Was she going to die? Panic cosumed me. I started to pray the Hail Mary, but part way through I suddenly could not remember the words even though I pray that prayer many times a day. I was looking right at her hurting, and completely helpless.

Then suddenly the bed and room was gone. She was taking me through corridors I didn’t know. Where was G, I thought. Where were we going? I wanted to get out and get away. I couldn’t even say one simple prayer. I must be going to go to hell. That must be where she’s taking me. I’ve run out of time. Again, I was fighting and crying so hard to move and get off the bed and open my eyes and make it stop. Still I was totally frozen.

Then somehow, we were in an elevator going up through different floors. My friend A was in front of me now. She was still wearing the flowery dress. She was going to heaven, I thought, and I wished I could go too. A wasn’t ill anymore. She was happy. As the elevator went on I got more and more scared and kept trying to move though I still could not. Each time we stopped at a floor I was sure this was my punishment and damnation. I was going to be thrown out of the elevator doors. I couldn’t see or don’t remember what was on the floors we stopped at. I was scared but eventually A was smiling and telling me not to be afraid. We were on the way up.

Eventually we stopped and the doors opened. You see, A said. It’s all alright. We walked out into a room full of tables and there were people I somehow knew to be A’s family members, as well as her husband who was no longer separated far away and could now reach her, and the woman who I couldn’t see when she had led me earlier. Don’t be afraid, it’s the way to heaven, said the woman.

Then the hallucination ended and suddenly, at long last I could move and stand up. I was in intense pain through all my joints and in my muscles, as though they had been cramped or under exertion for a long time. Despite having felt so frozen still, actually at some point during the night I had moved a lot because I had kicked covers off the bed and knocked booklets off the bedside table. Waking, I felt unengaged from the real world for a few minutes, then dread and anxiety boiled up inside me and it became terrifying how I had been unable to move and unable to step out of the hallucination. I was intensely afraid for a short time that something had happened to A, yet then I saw clearly that what I’d seen did not mean that, this time. Sometimes I do have thoughts and dreams about people that tell me something isn’t right with them, but this was not one of those times.

I think this is all to show me important things but I have not yet figured out how to express them.

Ginny xxx

Horrible feelings I don’t understand

I’m feeling really bad tonight. My head hurts. My chest aches. I feel empty and hurting at the same time. I miss my friend; I miss a lot of people lost in different ways. I felt drained after therapy this morning, which isn’t unusual but it was intense today. Things are happening in therapy. It’s needed but I feel like I’m coming apart as well. I don’t really understand the pain. I’m sleeping so much at the moment but I’m back in bed now. I can’t concentrate on anything I’ve tried to do. I’m going to pray, offer it all to God and try to rest in prayer.

xxx

31 Days of Summer Lovin’: Day 16 – Dreamy

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With thanks to Soul Seaker for creating this challenge – for details and acknowledgements please click HERE.

Anna Rose, sleep well tonight

The stars are dancing on the carpet of the sky

 

Time to close your wondering eyes

Where I see the sleepiness creeping

Anna Rose, makes my heart smile, to know you give love so freely

Anna Rose, makes it worthwhile, your love makes me see things so clearly…

With thanks to NibbNltts for the video

I’ve probably shared this before but I love this gentle lullaby by Vienna Teng and it seemed appropriate to today’s theme of “Dreamy”. If I had a daughter I would sing this to her at night. I have two goddaughters and when I’m with them, their love and curiosity and enjoyment has a restorative and hopeful power.

Ginny xxx

 

Is that an absinthe with your coffee? – These fragile little changes.

Is that an absinthe with your coffee? – These fragile little changes.

Wednesday was a really difficult day. I had come back from my stay with my friend and my goddaughters and started to have a glimmer of the thought that perhaps, mentally I was feeling a little bit better for the first time since well before Christmas. I wanted to hang onto the good that the weekend with my friend had given me.

In what has become a frustratingly typical pattern, as soon as I began to take hope in this and the idea that I had a rest day to recuperate before going back to work the next day…. bang went that one.

First I got a letter about my Housing Benefit. Somebody thinks I earn nearly £300 per week and therefore they have stopped my housing benefit. My claim had already been suspended for several weeks whilst they recalculated the (clearly extremely complex – ahem!) change to my income caused by the fact that I am working 2 more hours each week. So I have been receiving no benefit whilst waiting for the decision to be made, and hoping to receive a payment. Now they have stopped it completely so I have nothing. £300 per week coming in would certainly be nice but certainly is not true! I have no idea where they got that figure from. It’ll be another trip to the Housing office on Tuesday to try to sort this mess out.

Then I spoke to the CPN working with the Victim Support services. She had been meant to call me a month previously. I am still too upset about what she told me and how she handled things, to be able to write very much about it. Basically she still flatly refused to help me or even in her terms “signpost” me to support.  The Personality Disorder Service have given her the impression that they are doing trauma work with me and meeting all my needs, which is just absolutely untrue. They are not, they have told me they have no intention of doing it, and they are not helping me access the services that would do it. She continued to block me at every turn as I tried to suggest ways she could help me.  Apparently I am just not allowed to have the support any other victim of crime would receive, just because I have a personality disorder, and apparently, everyone thinks this is fine and wonders why I’d need any help with the nightmares, hallucinations, flashbacks, panic, etc, etc…

I was in complete distress after that call. Once again, I felt as if I’d been tricked into trusting someone, brought to the edge, cut open, left as raw as possible (going through the inevitable distress of making the statement and reliving the memories and the vulnerability of having started to trust somebody to be there), then kicked, ridiculed, not believed and rejected. It was like going through being a victim of someone’s abuse and deception again.

Something inside me was different this time. Something resisted the instant urge to cut and cut til the noise stopped and overdose to freeze everything out and enter the safe, numb world and preferably lose consciousness. Perhaps there was some little thing inside me, built up during the weekend with my friend, or built up from the strength of having resisted self-harming for several days, and the grace and mercy of my God. This time I decided to make it different.

I didn’t shut myself away. I stayed outside and walked. I went to a cafe I know I like and that feels safe. I ordered a coffee (it’s the best coffee there, in my opinion) and the suspicious green concoction pictured. No, it isn’t absinthe 😉 don’t worry. It’s a very refreshing drink made from almond syrup, mint syrup, ice and very cold water. Odd, I know. LS., my favourite barrista there, invented it. Anyhow… so I ordered my coffee and I sat and wrote down everything I was feeling about what the CPN had said and how I’d been treated by her and all the wrong information that had been passed from the PD Service and other sectors of the mental health trust. I sent the PD Service and email to say that I would now be making a formal complaint. I also sent them another email requesting in writing the discharge summary / care plan and letters they have so far refused to allow me a copy of.

I went and got my nails done. I went home and made myself some food for dinner. Okay it was only cooked frozen veg and chicken with considerable assistance from Captain Birdseye*. But it’s the thing most reminiscent of cooking myself an evening meal that I’ve done since autumn. After dinner I didn’t binge-eat. I had some more coffee and I made several greetings cards. (Hand making cards is a hobby of mine when I’m feeling more well.) I took the proper dose of my tablets and I slept. I had nightmares and had to move back to the sofa half way through the night, but at least I slept in the bed for a little while.

So, you see, I did what I could to break the pattern and keep some strength going and not resort to only what hurts me most. Instead of cutting and cutting the hurt into myself, I wrote it all out on paper. Instead of imploding I started to take action, beginning my complaint. Instead of agreeing with the voices shouting ugly, evil, liar, etc, I pushed them away and did something nice for myself and something nourishing. Instead of letting the destruction going on in my head take hold, I tried to create something positive and pretty.

Here’s to these little changes.

Ginny xxx

[*For those readers not from the UK – “Birdseye” is a popular brand of frozen / part-prepared meat and fish products; Birdseye fish fingers used to be advertised by the character of “Captain Birdseye”]