I talked on the phone today to a PhD who is involved in helping PTSD patients. Thank you for your service.
Noting my ragged and completely broken sleep cycle, she recommended I stay in bed after an awakening as the best way to go back to sleep.
Nonsense. I’ve tried all that. Me and about a million other PTSD insomniacs.
Staring at the walls until getting tired enough to sleep is as torturous as waiting in a North Korean jail cell. Your mind does not rest. Minutes turn to hours. You do not sleep.
If you woke up from a nightmare then the fun just increases.
Here’s why you may NOT want to go to sleep:
1. A bad nightmare is so shattering that you have to walk it off. You get up, shake your head, try not to concentrate on the horror you’ve just seen, and you walk it off. At least, you try to.
2. You are afraid to go to sleep again. Understandable. No one should fear going to sleep. Nightmare suffers and PTSD victims, however, often fear what everyone else welcomes. Sleep isn’t sleep for us, it’s a crippled joke of what should be sleep.
3. The nightmare may start up again if you go back to sleep too soon. This happens frequently to me. Do not go to sleep!
4. You want to do something positive to try to overcome the negative. Read a book, watch TV, do online work. Be constructive. You just got out of that black swamp and you don’t want to go back in. You want to try to drain the swamp.
You know what is worse? If some idiot psychiatrist has prescribed a sleep med to get you through the night. Do you know what happens? You wake up as before, perhaps after only 15 minutes of sleep, but now you are so drugged out you can’t do anything productive. Watching YouTube in a drug fog is not productive! It is not constructive.
My life is about doing something productive and positive and problem solving. To hell with those sleep meds.
Proper sleep hygiene is for people who have normal sleep overall and just occasional problems. It is NOT for people who are battling the monsters of our minds every night. They don’t give a damn about us, they just want to kill us.
They might succeed.