Apologies for the radio silence this week but this particular post I really struggled to write so it’s taken a while…
Since being away the stress of travels has affected me in numerous ways, but after the first week and a half of being here insomnia has surprisingly resurfaced for a little while.
For about six months during my second year of college I had dreadful insomnia and it was a vicious cycle. I’d have what I named an “insanity dream” where I would have a very realistic dream identical to my real life with the exception that everything around me was all in my imagination. Then I’d dream that I had woken up and was still insane but without realisingI was still asleep.
The trouble was when I did wake up I struggled to differentiate between the dreams and reality and it could take me hours of testing my surroundings to figure out whether I was awake or not.
Imagine being unable to tell if your reflection, your home, even your family is real.
The tricks my mind played on me meant at night I’d be too frightened and anxious to fall asleep and when I did I would have another insanity dream. This endless cycle basically had me too petrified to sleep to the point that I was only getting 2-3 hours of rest a night.
In hindsight I believe the dreams were the result of experiencing derealisation and panic disorder without understanding what was happening to me. The insanity dreams only lasted a couple months but the fear and struggle of sleeping lasted for much longer.
After some time I was prescribed some sleeping pills which were bloody horrible! They sure knocked me out but it felt artificial to me and I would be so drowsy in the morning. I also had a bizarre side effect that made me taste chemicals and metal all the time. So my two favourite pastimes, sleeping and eating, had been taken away from me! Not cool.
Anyway, eventually I weaned myself off the medication and finally started to have a good night’s sleep although I am a little bit afraid of the dark now. But I am exceptionally proud of myself for continuing my A-Level studies and still getting okay results despite everything!
I haven’t had too many problems with sleep for a while but I started to have some issues since being here in the last week. My emotions are swinging up and down at the moment. I think as a result of the stress I started to have some dreams which were really messing with my head to the point where I was getting too anxious to fall asleep.
That were a few pretty unhappy with a couple of breakdowns in the mix, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t felt really depressed. Thankfully lots of love from home sending me happy thoughts means I seem to have pulled out of it nice and quickly. I’ve still been trying to have as much fun as possible despite feeling drained, but my rewards were paid off when I got up early and snorkelled with wild green turtles the other day!
“Takes a deep breath.”
This post was a tough one to write. Because of the dreams loosing my mind is still my biggest fear so writing about it brings back an awful lot of memories… but I’m trying to encourage openness about mental health so I shouldn’t hide my issues away if I want to set a good example.
If you are having trouble with bad dreams or insomnia I would say the best thing to do is talk it out with someone qualified who can teach you coping mechanisms and how to move past it. For me the key was learning about PTSD and its side effects so I realised it was normal for me to feel this way, I wasn’t crazy after all.
Onwards and upwards. I’m leaving for Thailand in a few days which excites me yet terrifies me at the same time so I’m sure I’ll be loosing some sleep over that!
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