Nightmares

I’ve been having consistent nightmares for about one month. I have them pretty regularly anyway, but they don’t wake me up and I don’t get up in a sweat when I do finally wake up. They don’t scare me- they’re just annoying.

I had one last night about my ex. It was very uncomfortable. I got the same feeling I used to get when I was with her. She would make me feel like a child.

My therapist has a new theory that my suppressed emotions from the past 10 years are coming forth while I’m unconscious. He might be right, I suppose.

Most of my nightmares are not about clowns or falling off of cliffs; they’re mostly about things, events, or people that I’ve had negative interactions with or that I haven’t grieved for.

Sadness and grief are my most suppressed emotions. Since starting therapy, I’ve started dealing with current sadness when it comes, but there’s a decade worth of events that I haven’t “dealt with”, so this is fun.

Finding Balance

As someone who is newly seeing someone, I am struggling to balance my obsession with wanting to be around this human 24/7 and still taking time for the things I was doing before I met them.

I can’t help it, my oxytocin is going crazy and I want nothing more than to spend all of my time getting to know this new woman. I also know that I need to spend time with myself and make time to do normal things like grocery shopping and laundry. Yesterday was me trying to do that. I had time to spend with her, but I chose to watch The Notebook, bake brownies, and “re-start” a puzzle. I went to bed, slept really well, and here I am at work the next day.

I have a schedule for each week. I am a planner and I own many a calendar to record my events for each month. Weekly, I work Monday through Friday, roughly 7am to 1pm, give or take. Thursdays I spend with my grandma, 3pm to 7pm. Friday and Saturday I am normally in my mom’s town after work. Occasionally I would stay through Sunday, but I think that was too much. So, currently, my available days to see this new human are Monday-Wednesday after work and Saturday and Sunday (given I am back in Atlanta at a decent time [on Saturday]).

So, where is the time I schedule for myself? I don’t know. That is the answer. I guess it might fall on Thursday nights and maybe one afternoon M-W? I’m not sure yet. I also don’t know if I can keep to a schedule concerning that need. Also, isn’t allowing myself to see and get to know this new person partially self-care? I’m not drained by being around her. Now, that’s how you know they’re a potential keeper.

Long story short, I’m figuring this out. If I figure out a system, great. If not, great. I’ve been winging it all these years anyway, so why stop now?

It’s One of “Those” Days

I think it began last night, when I drove home during a thunderstorm/flash flood warning. I was driving 40mph on the interstate and trying to focus on my breathing. I don’t know what it is about driving through the rain at night, but it makes me so incredibly anxious. I wore my headphones to block out some of the noise.

This morning, I woke up a 6:00am. I got dressed, grabbed my food, and walked about the door. As I sat in my car and listened to the radio for a few minutes. Then I turned it off. I could feel that my mind was tired. I didn’t sleep terribly and I went to bed before midnight. I just felt really weak.

On my way to work I picked up some Post Its at Kroger. There were a lot of school buses on the roads because school has started again.

Now I’m in the office building. I went to the bathroom to adjust my bra straps; they were too loose and falling off of my shoulders. I returned to my work area and poured some of my homemade granola into a mug because I did not bring a bowl. The granola proceeded to spill into my mug and everywhere else as well. I got up to get the broom and ran my right thigh into the pointy handle of the drawer next to it. I grabbed the broom and returned to the crime scene.

So, here I am. I’m eating mediocre granola cereal and trying to keep my eyes open. I’m hungry and full at the same time. I feel like I could both sleep forever and never sleep again. I could cry and laugh simultaniously.

I’ll be staying late at work today. We’re doing troubleshooting exercises and there’s a new girl to train. There’s nothing interesting at my house anyway.

Roommate Troubles

So I got in a little tussle with my roommate and her friend last night. Or, this morning, rather. I don’t normally post things on any social media concerning people I live with because if they were to find those posts, it could be awkward, but in this case, I think it’s fine.

The story goes like this: When I first moved into my house, I slept fine. Yes, Atlanta is loud and people love drag racing at 3am, but my earplugs covered that for the most part. However, the longer I stayed in the house, the more often my roommate would bring her friend over at late hours, predominantly after work.

My roommate works the late shift, so she doesn’t get off of work until 10pm-2am, it depends on the night. I would think that after working a shift like that the only thing you want is your bed, but this is not the case for her. More nights than not, her friend comes over at this time too and they talk, sometimes watch movies, and eat/smoke together.

Over the course of the past 2 months, I have physically come out of my room about 5 times to tell them to please turn it down or crack a window. A few nights ago, at 2:30am, she and her friend were being loud in the living room. “Loud” at 2:30am is not “loud” at 3 in the afternoon, I recognize that, but my room is right next to basically everything in the house, so everything sounds “loud” at 2:30am. Also, that same night, as her friend made her entrance to our house, she slammed the door. That’s just inconsiderate and not being mindful of the other people [who have day jobs] sleeping in the house.

So, I didn’t say anything that night, but I did say something last night. They weren’t being that loud, but loud enough that I could hear them through my earplugs, so I had to say something. It was also almost 1am, so past the time people should be “hanging out” in my opinion.

I came outside and requested they be more quiet and more mindful of the other people sleeping in the house. Her friend, who doesn’t pay rent here, gets a little defensive and says, “What, so you want us to whisper?”

Internally, I got a little mad because she doesn’t pay rent or live in this house, so it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t want her to do. I told her, “No, you don’t have to whisper, but you do have to be more mindful and considerate of the other people in this house. For example, when you came over last Thursday at 2:30am, you slammed the front door.” She didn’t have anything to say to that and so I said goodnight to them both and went back to sleep.

There is definitely some tension in my house now, but I don’t think they understand what insomnia is or what not being able to ever sleep through the night feels like. The placement of my bedroom is also dumb because my walls are the opposite sides of the living room, kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. I. Hear. Everything.

Insomniac or nah?

I started having issues sleeping right around the same time my anxiety and panic attacks revealed themselves (about 10-12 years ago).

With that being said, bad sleep/insomnia also runs on my mom’s side of the family. My mother does not sleep well and neither does her mother.

For me, the issue doesn’t seem to be falling asleep. In fact, that happens quite quickly sometimes. However, I wake up multiple times throughout the night. This leaves me feeling frustrated and exhausted when I have to get up for work.

I actually function quite well and don’t feel much of a drain throughout the day, but it’s annoying not sleeping completely through the night.

What have I done to combat my sleeping issues? Let me list them for you.

  • Weighted blanket- I don’t actually know if this makes a huge difference, but I love it. I love the weight and warmth. It was one of my best purchases.
  • Melatonin
  • Baldriparan
  • Cooler room temp- This has helped the most.
  • Noise machine set on white noise- I would like to note that I wear earplugs at night AND I still have the noise machine on because I can hear it through my plugs and still reap some of the benefits (it drowns out the other sounds in my house like my roommate getting off of work at 2am)
  • Ear plugs- Happy Ears. Buy Them. Now. They Are Amazing.– I spent years going through a multitude of earplugs ranging from foam to wax to this silicone version and I’ve made my choice.
  • I find that taking a hot shower (just body, no hair washing) right before I go to sleep is nice.
  • I stop drinking liquids at 7pm so I only get up once to use the bathroom during the night.
  • I sleep in complete darkness.
  • I have made my bedtime 9pm every single night whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

I’ve never actually been diagnosed with insomnia, but I’ve also never asked my doctor about it because it seemed normal to me. I will probably ask my doctor about further options the next time I visit just to get that professional opinion, but I don’t see much changing.

My Anxiety

My anxiety always feels like I can’t take in a full breath. It always feels like yawning and then not hitting the “top” of your yawn. It’s a heavy weight on the top of my chest. It’s shallow breaths. It’s a fear of not being able to breathe and not having anyone there to help.

Once on the brink of a panic attack, my legs and arms get tingly/partially numb. Everything around me begins to sound like white noise.

From there, it goes one of two ways: either I sit down somewhere and ride it out or I start trying to implement my coping skills and hope it goes away.

I have a few coping skills/tools and some of them are silly, but when you feel like you can’t breathe, there’s not much you won’t do to relieve it.

  • sitting down/squatting in an almost fetal position seemed to calm me
  • applying makeup, specifically eye liner or mascara that would require more concentration
  • eating food
  • brushing my teeth
  • shaking my hands and arms to get feeling back into them
  • podcasts for distraction
  • calling someone on the phone
  • writing in my journal

I also have collected prevention tools over the years and I don’t use them all, but I’m sure it would help.

  • When I first went into therapy I was told to use something called the Alpha Stim SCS.
  • Since the end of May of this year, I’ve also been trying CBD oil. Honestly, I haven’t felt much of a difference, but I also haven’t been taking it regularly for the past 3 weeks.
  • I’ve been drinking more water and eating more healthy foods.
  • Sometimes I take lavender pills.
  • I try my very best to get good sleep and enough of it, but that has been a lifelong challenge that I can expand on in another post.
  • I do not consume a lot of alcohol, and when I do, I limit myself to a single glass of wine or beer.
  • I stay away from caffeine.
  • I’ve been trying to move more through stretching, just getting up more at work, and actual exercise, but I’m lazy and sometimes I can’t be bothered even though I know it would probably help immensely.
  • I continue to push myself to do things that make me a little uncomfortable because you have to conquer the things you fear to overcome that emotion.

My anxiety has never kept me from going on adventures or living my life, but it has limited how far I would travel for those adventures and it gets annoying when all you want to do is enjoy yourself, but these “what if” questions won’t stop buzzing.

It’s a struggle, yes, but yesterday’s therapy session felt promising. Read more about it here.