I’ve had nightmares for as long as I can remember. When I was little I would bury my face in my pillow and cry myself to sleep because I was afraid to close my eyes.
They come and go. Sometimes they last a few days and then fade away for a little while. Sometimes they happen every night for months at a time. Like now. Now, they are all the time. Now, they are constant reminders of the times before.
I think they are worse when other things in my life are changing. I need routine–I crave the stability and sense of security that it provides. Things have been anything but routine the last few weeks–T was away, my aunt came to visit, T came back and went away again, my other aunt came to visit and I took the boys away for a few days. All of these changes have my mind set into overdrive.
The nightmare that happens most often is where I’m fairly young–maybe 7 or 8–and I’m sleeping in my room. It’s really dark. I don’t know why the night light isn’t on, but it isn’t, and it’s dark. Suddenly the door opens. The hallway light is on and there is someone standing in the doorway. I can’t see their face because they are silhouetted against the light in the hallway. They just stand there–for what seems like forever–not saying a word at all. I’m trying to stay still, barely breathing. All it takes is a couple of steps and they are beside me. I don’t know who it is. I still cannot see their face. All I hear is ‘shhhhh, I won’t hurt you‘ and then they are on top of me and I can’t breathe. I try to scream and nothing comes out. A pillow is over my face and I can’t move. It’s sheer panic and then I’m awake and shaking. It’s the type of shaking where your spine aches. I might try to go back to sleep but I’m usually too scared to close my eyes and often spend the rest of the night tossing and turning.
I think it’s so unfair that not only do we need to survive what was done, but also live through it time and time again, not only during our waking hours but in our sleep as well. I often wonder if abusers have their sleep interrupted the same way? Do they sleep well at night, knowing that they’ve destroyed some else’s life?
For me, I still sleep with a night light most of the time. I still sleep with tons of blankets on top of me. It feels a bit childish, but if it makes me fall asleep easier I’m not really ready to give it up. My doctor did give me Trazadone a few years ago to help me fall asleep but it just made me feel like crap the next day, so I stopped taking it. I don’t know if medication can help with nightmares or not.
T says sometimes talking about them helps. I wish he was here, but we still have another week of vacation. I’m working really hard at doing things to keep myself busy while he is away, but I’m not doing okay with it, not really. I think I’ve reached that sort of calm, detached way of being but things don’t really feel okay. He feels really far away from me as I’m having such a hard time the last few days keeping him in my mind. I’m trying so hard not to contact him but I just might fail.