Last night might have been one of the worst attempts at sleeping that I think I’ve experienced in a very long time. Normally I don’t have much of a problem crashing out at night. I think it’s likely due to the fact that my brain is so worn out from overthinking and analyzing everything that it basically says, ok I’ve had enough, time to sleep. I honestly don’t know if that’s true or not but that’s what it feels like.
I wrote this piece last night and published it earlier today, Telling a close friend about past sexual abuse, a double edged sword? I talk about how I told a close friend about my past sexual abuse at the hands of a teenager, the son of a family friend and neighbor where I grew up. I won’t go into too much detail but I’d encourage you to read it to gain some more background on this post.
Essentially, the whole experience of letting someone else into my past, other than my therapist, sent my brain into a tailspin that I absolutely did not see coming. My therapist has been encouraging me to seek additional support resources outside of the office, and I thought maybe I was ready for that step. Note to self, I clearly was not. I guess that’s why this whole healing process is a journey of trial and error. Perhaps in the long run that experience of talking to a friend will turn out to be something positive, but that remains to be seen. I’m not holding my breath though.
I went to bed last night around the same time I usually do during the work week. I turned on my sleep machine; ambient sounds. I usually sleep to the Everglades or the Rain, sometimes I’ll play the ocean waves. Normally though the Everglades is my go to sound. Imagine watching an episode of Survivor man or Bear Grylls, when they are in a swamp somewhere at night in a make shift shelter. The sounds of the water, crickets, and other insects and animals that come alive in the darkness.
That usually works wonders for me, well that and I have a fish tank and the rippling water from the filter is also quite relaxing.
Last night though, everything went south. I was restless, couldn’t get comfortable, my mind was completely focused on the events of this past weekend. I was angry, frustrated, worried, and in disbelief that someone else knows of what happened now. Regardless of the fact that all details were not disclosed, they know my deep, dark secret! Talk about vulnerable!
Then I got a new memory, of something to do with crickets. Not the actual insects themselves, but the sound they make. I have no idea how it fits into the puzzle of memories in my head, I mean all I know was that the sound of crickets was driving me up a wall and half freaking me out. I had to reach over and switch over to a different sound, and then do a 5 min Emergency Calm meditation on my Calm app just to try and ease my racing mind and curb some of the anxiety.
So my mind is freaking out about that I’ve let my secret get out, and I have a new memory for no rhyme or reason. Perhaps the memory was triggered sounds, which I’m guessing is the case, but why now? Why after months and months of never having a problem? And what caused me to get so up tight about talking to my friend, why did my brain decide it wanted to visit the worst roller coaster ever and just keep getting back in line for me?
Eventually I did end up falling asleep from pure exhaustion, I think around 3am or so.
This is part of dealing with PTSD and Flashbacks is all about for me. Not just the physical feelings and memories of the trauma that tend to hit me in the mornings, but also these random new memories that don’t fit in anywhere.
For an analyzer, an over thinker, this type of situation is a nightmare in every sense of the word.