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Day 44 – Sleep Troubles: New Bed Day!



I think societally we need to understand that sleep trouble is rarely a lack of relaxation techniques, hot baths or lavender!

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Sleep Troubles: New Bed Day!


Feelings of helplessness, immobility, and freezing. If hyperarousal is the nervous system’s accelerator, a sense of overwhelming helplessness is its brake. The helplessness that is experienced at such times is not the ordinary sense of helplessness that can affect anyone from time to time. It is the sense of being collapsed, immobilized, and utterly helpless. It is not a perception, belief, or a trick of the imagination. It is real.”

Peter Levine

Sexual abuse plays havoc with the mind. When we are engaged in sexual activity beyond our will, the only stress response we have at our disposal is freeze. If the act is happening and we can’t fight it or flee it, we have to choose freeze. This is also referred to as the immobility response.


In the animal world this is like when an animal plays dead hoping that its predator will leave it alone.


When we as humans enter the freeze state in terrifying and traumatic situations, the strong emotions of fear and helplessness can get trapped within the body. Humans have not mastered the art of being able to release the immense energy that builds within us when we are in such a situation.


Some theorists believe that this is in part what leads to people experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as we are not well equipped to release the emotions that we had to shut down from during the immobility response.


Sleep disorder is one of the most common symptoms of PTSD.


For as long as I can remember I have always had trouble sleeping. All ex-partners of mine will be able to verify this! It is not a nice trouble to experience and is very frustrating as it most definitely put a strain on every relationship I have been in. I have an incredibly hard time sleeping in bed next to a partner. An issue I am working on so that going forward I do not experience the distress I have to this point in time.


It is most frustrating when people suggest simple things like relaxation techniques, a hot bath or lavender to aid. Although it’s not always appropriate to launch into the whys and wherefores of my sleep problems, I think societally we need to understand that sleep trouble is rarely a lack of relaxation techniques, hot baths or lavender.


When our sleep is disturbed it is often due to unresolved emotions that we are not working through, whether we are aware that they are there or not. It also does not need to be as significant as trauma, just enough unresolved emotion to cause internal disharmony can disturb sleep.


Sleeping on the Sofa

As an older child I began sleeping on the sofa in times when my sleep was really troubled. The sofa offered me some kind of comfort that a bed could not. I think I liked the feel of the back of the sofa up against me. As if it was protecting me.


This carried on into adulthood. Much to the annoyance of many a landlord or house mate! I realised it wasn’t a normal behaviour, but I also didn’t know how to fix it. I began having counselling at age 17, yet no therapy to date worked to help resolve my sleep problems.


So, the sofa it was! No matter what house I was staying or living in, if I felt I needed some comfort at night I would head to the sofa of the house to sleep.


Just over 5 years ago this turned in to me sleeping on my sofa full time… as in every night! (apart from if I was staying over with a partner)


I’d had a bed but after the bed broke I tried other beds and nothing worked. My sleep problems can be quite something and very frustrating to navigate. I just couldn’t find a bed or mattress that I felt safe enough to settle in for sleep.


I bought a new sofa in 2008 after our family came into some money… I realise that might not be everyone’s first choice of thing to buy, but at that time I just had a very uncomfortable futon as a sofa and I wanted some comfort in my living room.


I bought a very comfy corner sofa. I loved it! I still love it! Maybe in part it’s that I associate sofas with safety. Whatever the reason, because I loved it and because we didn’t need my sofa in the living room, I decided to use my sofa as my bed instead.


The first point at which I was alerted to this as a safety behaviour recently was when I listened to David Goggin’s book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’. He talks about how neither he or his mother could sleep in bed following them escaping David’s abusive father.


“I couldn’t sleep in bed anymore. Neither could my mother. She slept in her armchair with the television on blast or with a book in her hands. For a little while, I tried to curl up in bed at night but would always wake in the fetal position on the floor. Eventually I gave in and bedded down low to the ground. Maybe because I knew if I could find comfort at the bottom place there would be no more falling.”

David Goggins

I have loved sleeping on the sofa. But recently in the Internal Family Systems therapy I was having, I had an internal shift in thinking and feeling.


I had also been feeling like my spine was becoming unhappy with me sleeping on the sofa nightly since it has a bend in it and so I invariably end up sleeping in a bit of a bendy shape.


One particular therapy session gave me the internal shift I needed to help me change my mindset and seek to sleep in a bed again.


So, I ordered a bed and a mattress!


New Bed Day!

Last night was my first night in my new bed! I was super nervous most of the day. I have had such problems with sleep and finding a good bed and mattress that it was very hard to not let those past memories impact me in the here and now.


I used the butterfly hug, a technique my new therapist introduced me to, to help calm myself and it seemed to work well. Despite some initial restlessness, I managed to sleep fairly well for me!


It felt great to wake up in a bed and see a bed in my bedroom rather than a sofa.


I hope this is another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my journey to being free from the abuse I suffered.


I can’t wait for sleep time tonight! 😴

Day 44 - 365 Day Journal

Reflections


PTSD Symptom

Still nothing to see here! 😃


Tuesday Night

Things that were awesome today:

Getting my new bed!

Getting a compliment from the mattress delivery driver on my physique

Having a great chat with my friend Dan John


Wednesday Morning

Things that I am grateful for:

I am grateful for being able to sleep in my new bed


Health Dashboard - Tuesday


Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages

0


Fitness

Low Intensity

Run


Moderate Intensity

Row


Strength & Mobility

Squats plus foam rolling and mobility


Veggies & Fruit

Tomato

Pepper

Mushrooms

Pak choi

Spinach

Courgette

Onion

Garlic

Ginger

Coriander

Spring Onion

Strawberries

Banana


Meditation & Mindfulness

Before bed – Guided meditation


Day 43 - 365 Day Journal

Reflections


PTSD Symptom

Nothing to see here! 😃


Monday Night

Things that were awesome today:

I had a great day of getting things done for me since many of my Monday clients needed to re-arrange with me. Although I know some might find this frustrating, I quite enjoy the ‘bonus’ time in the here and now!


Tuesday Morning

Things that I am grateful for:

I am grateful for the Internal Family Systems session that has helped me find a mindset where I feel comfortable to try sleeping in a bed again.


I am grateful that my bed and mattress, from two different companies, were able to be delivered on the same day!


Health Dashboard - Monday


Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages

0



Fitness

Low Intensity

Row


High Intensity

-


Strength & Mobility

Squats plus foam rolling and mobility


Veggies & Fruit

Tomato

Pepper

Mushrooms

Pak choi

Spinach

Courgette

Onion

Garlic

Ginger

Coriander


Meditation & Mindfulness

Before bed – Guided meditation


I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I have incurred.

I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.

If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in my blogs please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be experiencing.



Copyright 2021 Val Craft – All Rights Reserved

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