My sleep hygiene is way off. For my best degree of wellness and for an unchoppy sailing along my recovery journey, it’s way important that I head for slumber at a set time and rise from slumber at a set time. This is sleep hygiene and it is as crucial to my recovery and wellness as a medication regimen, daily exercise, nutritious meals, strong work ethic, and socialization. And it’s been off. Way off.
I can point squarely to what’s generating the disruption. It’s stress and I’m overwhelmed currently. I can squarely place the source of cumulative stressors into two camps: The lass who attacked me at MHRAC and the lass who is the absolute worst choice in women I’ve ever made (and that’s not hyperbole, not even in the most leastest of leasts). We’ll refer to them in Seussian nod as Thing 1 and Thing 2. And it’s not merely insomnia borne of the stressor-overload. It’s the nightmares that jerk me awake.
For the past month or so, I’ve been having nightmares involving Thing 1 and Thing 2. Last night and many nights prior, my dreaming mind dragged me into a scenario where Thing 2 was filing fairy tale police report after fairy tale police report in rapid every-hour-on-the-hour succession, and each time she did I had to go through this legal routine:
- The report is filed.
- Every hour, a pair of officers knocks on the door to my home.
- I explain to the officers I haven’t seen Thing 2 for months and have chosen not to see her at all.
- The officers explain they have no choice and everything she says is automatically evidence in court.
- I get in the SUV and drive to my attorney.
- My attorney nods her head, takes the most recent report from me, and gives it to her paralegal.
- The paralegal asks me for a check for $2500 or they won’t represent me any longer and I will go to prison.
- I go home and wait for the police to arrive again, so I can do this all over again. From when I wake up until I go back to sleep. Every. Single. Hour. I’m. Awake.
Wonderful dream, yes? You tell me your nightmare is about being locked in a submarine with Donald Trump powerless to stop him from launching nukes at everyone with no discrimination with no way to stop him and having to listen to his unending fairy tales while fire ants set up shop in your jejunum… for all eternity? Trade you.
Seeing as I didn’t finally fall asleep last night until 4 AM (again, after crawling under the covers around 10 PM), it wasn’t until just after noon today that I “arose from slumber,” a kind way of sharing that I was jerked awake by a nightmare involving Thing 1. In this lovely slumber-scenario:
- Thing 1 greets me at the door of the Friday evening DBSA group I created on the Westside and says that I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to the Monday DBSA group I created a few days later, she is there once more to tell me I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to the Thursday DBSA group. She is there once again to tell me I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to the Monday evening NAMI Connection group. She is there because she is the lead facilitator and she tells me I am not welcome at NAMI at all. I’m trained as a NAMI Connection facilitator, a NAMI In Our Own Voice presenter, and a NAMI Peer to Peer mentor. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to MHRAC and she is there. I am the reason she has a spot on the committee. She tells me I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to the Walmart Neighborhood Market near my home where I grocery shop. She is there and tells I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I go to the Walgreens right by my house and she is there. She tells me I am no longer welcome. I’m forced to leave.
- I come home from all of this, and she is waiting at my door. This is my home of 22 years. She tells me I am no longer welcome in my own home. I’m forced to leave.
And here is where I jerked awake just before 12:30 PM today. I wake up at 7:00 AM, not noon. My sleep hygiene is screwed. I believe you can understand why based on these night terrors. Yay.
September 6, 2017 Edit
I’ve had yet another nightmare, and this one has become reoccurring as well.
Earlier this year, I was offered a position with the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line’s WarmLine. This job was rescinded because I have a pending criminal case in Metro Court (Thing 2). This is the nightmare:
- The job is rescinded every day the second I wake up.
- I fake feeling good to get to the next interview.
- No one will hire me because they say “If the WarmLine doesn’t want him, why should we?”
- No one will talk to me in the New Mexico behavioral health community. At all. Ever.
- And none of my friends or family will talk to me. At all. Ever.
- Everyone is embarrassed to know me.
- I feel used and abandoned.
Unfortunately, faking “I’M DOING GREAT!!!” has caught up with me. I’ve moved from “holding it together” to “I’m now in crisis.” Diane (Chavez, counselor of five years) and I chatted about this yesterday where it became all too clear I’ve pushed myself a bit too hard and the nightmares are sure sign that I haven’t been holding it together at all. I really should know better than this.
Fortunately, I have an as-needed medication prescribed by my med manager of five years, Deb Deetz, and our collaboration and partnership is strong and trusted. She prescribed Prazosin HCl to help with the PTSD night terrors (which is really what these are, not nightmares as is often mistaken), and it was very helpful for the months following the attack on me at MHRAC. It was as needed, and around April of this year I found I didn’t need the Prazosin as much and then not at all. I’m going to start taking the Prazosin again.
It’s a blood pressure medication, and the hazard for me is sitting up or standing up too quickly for the first five or six hours after taking the medication. A side effect exacerbated by my already very healthy blood pressure, you see. I tend to get all whoozy lightheaded and collapse. Dang it. Side effects suck. And this one is so worth the hazard. Prazosin quiets and circumvents the night terrors.
I’ve been avoiding defining my night terrors because I was hoping they’d go away. They aren’t, and they are getting worse again, much like the months immediately following the attack on me at MHRAC and very much like after I lost a job I never got to start at the Warmline. And I’ve been avoiding talking openly about all of this, which is a disservice to my recovery and to my wellness and to myself. I’ve learned that avoiding my behavioral health symptoms only makes them worse.
This is my recovery journey, and Thoughtcrimes is about all aspects of my recovery journey. Sadly, these night terrors and learning to cope with them is a huge part of my recovery journey as I move forward with my life. I know that now and strive to learn what works and what doesn’t work, and I’m excited to apply all the skills I’ve developed through the years in dealing with behavioral health symptoms. Thus is my recovery journey.
What I will share in closing is I’m so stoked and so fortunate that Deb knows exactly what will help me with my symptoms, and I’m so stoked and so fortunate that Prazosin works so well (no ramping up over weeks… it’s immediately right when I take it), and I’m so stoked and so fortunate I’ve graduated DBT at Sage, and I’m so stoked and so fortunate Diane and I have such a successful (although recently challenging) partnership, and I’m so stoked and so fortunate I have my Dad, son, Clare, and friends to support me in rough times, and I’m so stoked and so fortunate that I’ve put in tons of hard work already that a challenge like this I KNOW is not insurmountable and I KNOW I will master coping with the aftershocks of having my PTSD severely triggered… including during my slumber.
Filming and screening
I picture the scene
Filming and dreaming
Dreaming of me