I forgot to get you up

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That’s what my daughter said to me this morning. “Sorry Mom, I forgot to get you up”

My heart sank into a pool of shame. My daughter should not have to get me up. I try telling her I am already up, try to fake it that I was up and that everything is fine, but she can see how slow I am moving, that I am speaking slowly too.

Some people ask if I am a night owl when they see me online late at night. I say yes. But in reality my sleep issues keep me awake at night. I have trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, trouble getting into deep sleep, trouble with horrific nightmares, trouble with sleep panic attacks, trouble with hypervigilance (I need all the lights on, lock the doors, close the blinds, tv on for grounding noise). PTSD tends to keep me awake until about 4am, so it is difficult to get up at 6am to help kiddo get ready for school and drive her at 7am.

I try to be gentle with myself. I know I am doing my best. I know I don’t sleep well. I know I am not out partying or something that should make feel guilty – And yet I still do – I feel guilty and ashamed and weak and stupid. I don’t want to be like this. I want to be strong and reliable, especially for my kids.

Driving this morning was extremely difficult and I am not even sure I should have been doing it. I felt like I was a bit drunk, like my thoughts were moving through molasses. I have to tell myself how to get dressed and drive, each step spoken out loud.

Seriously middle school starting at 7am is torture. This time of year is terrible and it will get worse with time change in a couple weeks. I will walk around even more zombie like. Doctors have not been able to help me with this. Therapists have not been able to help me with this. I feel better in the summer when I don’t have to get up so early. I have decided it is not SAD, it is not light deprivation or depression, it is sleep deprivation. My mom schedule is what wears me out this time of year. I do have depression, not denying that, but I don’t think it gets suddenly worse when school starts. I think I get physically exhausted.

I do nap during the day, but my hyperarousal only allows me to sleep for about 15 minutes at a time. If I do manage to sleep longer, the nightmares get me and I wake up sweating, screaming and the fear from those last for hours, while the images can haunt me for weeks, months sometimes depending how bad they are.

I am sleeping separate from Hubby right now, which helps a little to reduce the hypervigilance and multiple triggers and anxiety. Unfortunately we do not have a guest room, so we take turns who gets to sleep in the living room to spare our sore backs and necks from the old sofa or recliner.

Melatonin helps me get to sleep sometimes, but can make the nightmares worse. Keeping up on vitamin D helps. Too much of either makes me very hard to wake up in the morning. Exercise helps and except on very bad days I am doing my best to stay active and keep up on my physical therapy routine.

I don’t want any of this, but this is my battle to fight. I am so tired. I don’t feel like I am winning. Hell I don’t even feel like I am breaking even yet. Is this a winnable war? I am not so sure. I think I need to accept this is my life and make it work rather than keep trying for something impossible.

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10 thoughts on “I forgot to get you up

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. I had a similar problem in high school. I found out it was largely due to stress.

    Now, I have a routine I go through before bed so my body gets gets a heads up before I do. I brush my teeth, check the doors, call the cat to come to bed, get in bed, check my messages, read a book, pet the cat, and then go to sleep. A routine helps.

  2. I truly feel for you! Now in my mid fifties, my sleep is not straight anymore and I don’t fall asleep right away either. I think it’s hormonal, along with worrying about stuff when I should be letting go. I’ve tried Melatonin but it didn’t work. Nothing works and I refuse to start taking pills. So I read for pleasure and when I’m tired, I go to bed, take deep breaths and just try to have control over my mind so that it relaxes. Some nights are better than others. I’m not in your shoes, but I’d like to say “don’t feel guilty or ashamed.” Like you said, it’s all out of your control and you did nothing irresponsible to provoke this pattern. Go a little easier on yourself and maybe even that alone will help you at night. Sending comforting hugs, Lauren ❤️

    • Yes hormones make us keep readjusting, don’t they? I understand being reluctant to take pills. Sounds like a good routine you have there. I do like reading until I get tired, helps sometimes if I can focus on it. And breathing, mindfulness, other grounding techniques are useful too. I go through all of them in the course of an evening. I appreciate your comment and will see what I can do to lessen my guilt, trying to accept this more.

  3. My sister has sleeping troubles similar to yours. She often sleeps on the couch, with the lights on. She had night terrors, nightmares, anxiety, and considers four hours of sleep in one night a huge win. I’ve seen her on social media at all hours, which of course reveals that I’m on the computer at all hours. She’s trying doodling before bed. Helps sometimes. Not always. I don’t think there is a surefire, works every time way. I’m tired of being tired. Praying for strength and courage for you.

    • Yes so many of us with similar struggles. I never feel alone when I am up pacing the floors or online. Doodling is another great suggestion. All of these calming tools for our toolbox.

  4. Since I started sleeping on the sofa I very rarely get nightmares any more, fools my brain into thinking I haven’t gone to bed! When I can’t sleep I play brain games on my Nintendo DS or listen to audiobooks on my ipod. Being told a story is nice and sometimes I fall asleep with it on. Mostly when I am not asleep I try to stay as relaxed and calm as possible.
    I wish I had a magic answer for you. Keep experimenting, you may find something that helps a little. I am sorry you are going through this. When you are awake during the night you are not alone, so many of us not sleeping too.

    • I get less nightmares in the recliner. Like you said, must fool our brain, or I think I have muscle memory related to lying flat too. I have a few apps and games I like at night, but wow my brain is not functional for brain games at that time even if I have energy I am foggy too. I have done some cleaning, wash dishes, scrub cupboards, to mindlessly burn off energy before trying to relax again. Good that games and audiobooks help you. It seems we all have found a different way to cope.

      • I think I have bad associations with beds and laying down and bedrooms too. It’s helpful to read what other people do to cope, sometimes there are things I haven’t thought of trying.
        I think I’ll give the housework a miss though, I’m no good at that even when I’m awake 🙂

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