Sleep

I have always been a morning person. Early bird catches the worm and all. I was never one to sleep the day away like my kids often do now. I do my best work in the morning and love to see the sunrise.
This time of year, my anxiety gets the better of my and I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia is my constant companion. I worry about so many things at the holidays, making lists in my head, replaying conversations, and catastrophizing all that can happen. It is always an issue but this time of year it gets worse.
I have worked long and hard to calm my anxious thoughts and behaviors, but sleep is one of the most difficult. For years I would lie awake waiting for my wasband to arrive home. He worked nights and often went out drinking after work. I never knew what his mood would be when he arrived home and often slept on the edge of the bed afraid to even breathe. Mornings I would tiptoe out of the room as not to wake him and incur his wrath. I would keep the kids as quiet as I could for the same reason. It was a difficult dance for all of us.
For years after I left, I still had trouble sleeping and would get out of bed feeling like I had been in a fist fight. Every muscle ached…especially my hands.
One evening, my therapist mentioned that I looked more tired than usual and asked me to talk about it. As I spoke, she watched me then she asked me to lie on the floor and show her my sleep position. I did as she asked, hopeful she could provide insight into my insomnia.
She asked me to talk about each part of my body and how I felt. What I realized was that every single part of me body was tense, my whole body was in a tight ball, my shoulders were by my ears, and my hands were in fists.
She told me that I was a resting fighter, always vigilant. That I was ready to defend myself in while I was resting. I was not, in fact, really ever sleeping. My body and brain would not allow me to let me let my guard down. Trauma is stored in the body and appears in many different forms unless it is healed.
It has taken intentional practice to release that trauma and vigilance, letting others into my life. The boundaries are firm, walls are high, guarded fiercely to protect myself and those I love. I am keenly aware of my body and its cues when it comes to sleep and other trauma responses. During the holidays, insomnia wants to not just visit but stay. So when the insomnia rears its head I can say hello and send it packing again, not allowing it to overstay its welcome.
Trauma takes many forms. With the help of others, we can identify as well as address the issues in order to find hope and healing. This is an ongoing process as healing is not linear. We are all in the process of becoming stronger humans. With some help, and some sleep, we can all find peace.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace


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