I am shitting myself about having a conversation. How ridiculous is that. I started another round of therapy last autumn. I have always struggled with my sleep, but in times of stress it just gets awful.
I often lay awake for hours unable to get to sleep. Have horrendous nightmares some times to such an extent I get to the point where I don’t want to sleep. I wake frequently with any whisper in the house jolting me back to reality.
Last summer Covid kicked off another period of terrible sleep. I was struggling with the kids. The youngest really struggling with nursery and the eldest trying to navigate the transition to high school amongst a long list of unusual restrictions, my breaking point was the day before my eldest last day in primary school, her little sister got a temperature so under the guidelines at the time we all had to isolate until she had a negative pcr result.
That night I held my daughter crying in my arms for hours. She was worried she would miss the last day of primary school and I felt broken. I was met with a barrage of opinions from parents, some suggesting to ignore the rules, others praising me because their vulnerable relatives could get ill. And all i really cared about was this poor little girl who’s life had been turned upside down, desperate for an ounch of normality and I was the one denying her that.
As you would expect so insude nights of bad sleep.
Fast forward to the autumn I braved reaching out for some help, fed up of the sleep issues and a raft of problems that came with it and I landed sessions with an amazing psychologist.
We have covered loads of good stuff. Practical tips of how to settle if I wake in the night with a nightmare, ways to get off to sleep well, things to always avoid the lists are endless. We have also uncovered some truths that I was not previously at least conciously aware of… I hold myself to ridiculously high standards, I am actually rubbish at self care (getting better) and I might not have left the past as firmly behind as I would like.
Now we have reached what feels like a tipping point in our discussions. Face the really hard stuff of thank him for the great guidance and part ways. For a couple of weeks I have danced around what I think needed to be discussed, continuing to focus on self care and sleep.
Taking the plunge…
I was not brave enough in a session to tell him what I thought we needed to get into. But after reading an article online …
I emailed him….
Fast forward to our next session and of course he raised the email, even though I tried to avoid it. He used his usual brilliant style to gently choax me into at least acknowledging the conversation. As always he positioned the choice with me, doing it or not doing it was my decision. But he pointed out some potential benefits and filled me with plenty of confidence in his ability to help me navigate some tricky terrain.
We spoke about our approach to talking. Seams crazy right you just talk. Seams not. To be fair I have avoided talking about some of this stuff for over three decades so I suspect it won’t roll off the tongue.
We discussed some potential approaches, timeline, writing, and something else I have already forgotten. I sensed a blended approach would be likely. I have written a little about a couple of my experiences in these blogs so if all else fails writing seams like a good route. I do wonder if I could just write it all here, but I just don’t feel with some of it and there is something that tells me writing won’t be enough. I think I long for someone to get on a level, understand the moments, tell me what they see.
We discussed measures during the session if stuff gets too heavy, Chris is going to take regular checks of my levels of distress and I have the option of changing the subject immediately if I need too.
Then came the importance of considering before and after session care. Shit this is starting to feel heavy is all I was thinking. Chris wants to ensure my safety. Safety really? Actually maybe that is sensible! What have I gotten myself in to.
I honestly wondered if I should find the exit and just leave well enough alone, but one of the biggest things that I think nudged me forward is that my eldest keeps asking me questions about my past and to date I have just delayed saying we can talk when you are older. She is high school now I am not sure how much longer I can use that excuse.
We agreed the need to line up nice activities after a session things to look forward too. (I may find myself going to ikea every week!).
I also had homework to start my event timeline. So I decided to draft it tonight in the hopes tomorrow I can forget all about it until next week. Though I am not sure that will be entirely possible. There is something about one hour every week that is agonising. Trying to off load a life time in 50mins to then wait seven days for the punch line. Still it is better than holding your breath for a life time.
Why the hell am I sharing all this with you my avid reader. Partly because I am scared and some how writing it down makes it less scary. Partly because if there is one person out there struggling with PTSD or travelling the treatment path wanted you to know we are not alone.