“Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb but how well you bounce.”
Last night I dreamt I was in my ex-husband’s house. Even though we were no longer together, I was visiting for some reason. He had a bunch of company in the living room. including some of his brothers. I was tired from having worked late and excused myself to go to bed. When I left, the rest of his guests decided it was getting late and left to go home. Enraged by the notion that I caused all his friends and family to leave early, my ex came after me upstairs and attacked me. He wrapped his hands around my neck and squeezed for all he was worth. I could feel myself being suffocated, gasping for air with no relief. Then out of no where, Adam (my boyfriend) came in and stopped him. I can’t remember much of what happened after that because I woke up.
That is just one example of the many nightmares that have kept me up at night over the past two weeks. They typically come in cycles, but this one has been particularly long. They don’t always feature my ex, and they are nowhere near as bad as the night terrors I had while I was with him. However, they are bad enough to wake me up all night and leave me exhausted during the day. On the bright side, this was the first nightmare I ever had someone come rescue me in, so maybe I’m making some progress.
Sometimes I wish I had a system reset button I could hit when this stuff happens, but instead I’ve come up with other methods (through trial and error) of dealing with it. The hardest one if trying not to focus on or stress about the sleep deprivation because the more I fixate on it, then worse it seems to get. Another trick I use is completely wearing myself out. If I go through a particularly tough workout, many times that’s enough to work out the excess anxious energy. Plus, it’s usually a great self-esteem boost! I also try not to eat, watch TV, or use the computer right before bed (typical sleep hygiene stuff). However, recently none of this has been particularly effective.
One thing that has changed dramatically over the past year is how much better I can deal with this situation now. I can acknowledge that it sucks, but it doesn’t send me spiraling backward with frustration and despair like it used to. I can reassure myself that it will be temporary, and I only need to work “X” more days until I have another one off to attempt to catch up on sleep. I am also more aware of my negative thinking, and the fact that it is just that. It doesn’t make me a negative person, it’s just a sign that I’m fatigued or processing more than usual. I am finally getting the point where I can cut myself some slack, and that is a MONUMENTAL step for me.
So, although I am currently being plagued by nightmares and had an absolutely terrible day of being run into the ground at work, I give this day an A+. My reasoning: it sucked...A LOT, but I made it through and held it together. I didn’t get down on myself, cry, or allow myself to become completely overwhelmed. Six months ago this day would have broke me, but today I made it through exhausted and smiling.
In other related news, I managed to drag Adam with me to the gym yesterday and conquered another 15 minutes on the stair master- and we did push ups (and by “we” I mean I and he critiqued)… It was terrible and wonderful all at the same time. 🙂