Sunday, December 07, 2008

Its late, I'm tired and I'm scared as shit to fall asleep. I have a fairly long history of nightmares, I would suspect most people in my situation would, but the intensity has been ratcheted up lately. Most of my bad dreams occur with such regularity that they no longer have the ability to frighten me. I wake up from them and shrug them off as a marker of my current state of mind, like something akin to a nocturnal mood ring. More adventurous women can relate to my dreams like their stable of lovers. "Hmm... last night I was with John, I must be having body issues today" or "Rob again, guess I wanted comfort sex'. Same concept, different circumstances.
Except, in the last few days my nightmares seem to have crossed over into my waking moments a la Freddy Kruger. I wake up in my bed, sweaty, my heart pounding, and I know I'm awake but I'm still surrounded by this malevolent force. I don't know how to shake it off. With each creaking of the house I anticipate someone coming for me, hunting me. It's waiting, bidding its time for the assault to begin. When I give it a form it becomes a vulture perched on the footstool, hungry to pick over my carcass. When it lingers behind me it's so tall, it casts this enormous shadow over and around me, blocking out the light. It's Benecio Del Toro's character in The Cell come to visit in my sleep. Horribly and intensely violent, graphic and disturbing. The worst is when it's the dogs. This snarling, rabid pack that descends on me in a feeding frenzy and rips out my throat. I am pinned beneath this heap of anonymous teeth and claws, my face seared with their body heat and spurts of hot blood and I can't breathe. And I wake up gasping, hungry for air, thinking that its all over it, its just a dream. But its still there. And I know I'm awake. It's not as if I'm confused about that, but it's like the nightmare is following me out my dream state, stalking me. I wake up and I'm terrified to even turn over because I'm convinced that it's there, sneering at me. I can feel its breath on my neck just as real as I can feel the heat from my lap top right now. So I just lay in bed. Frozen. Listening. Trying not to breathe hard so it can't find me. I can't close my eyes either because even though I don't always remember my nightmares, I still know whats happening in my slaap is infinitely worse then what happens when I'm awake. And this goes on for hours and hours at night.
The inner psychologist in me would say it's because I'm starting to feel emotions again rather than living in perpetual numbness. And I'm sure some good will come out of this but for right now it is sapping the last bit of strength and dignity I have left. I'm 30 years old and I'm afraid of the dark. I'm shaking right now because I know I have to sleep tonight and I know what's going to happen. Sometimes I try to stay up all night but then I'm just exhausted the next day. I'm struggling against the bogeyman and he is winning.
A friend of mine who knows some of what I'm going through, enough to know that he should be worried about me, offered to let me sleep at his house with him. Nothing sexual, just a chance for me to get some actual sleep. I initially said yes, and now have backed out of it. And I don't know if I should or not. The idea of falling asleep in the arms of a man I trust is like Heaven to me. But what if he makes a move or tries to kiss me. What if I have a nightmare and flip out on him. Not just cry, but full on PTSD flip out. I was out recently and someone playfully grabbed my neck like they were fake choking me and I thought I was going to die. I froze up, I almost vomited. Luckily I didn't scream, but I was with people who don't know my current situation and there was no hiding my reaction. And that was an ideal situation: I was in a good place emotionally, I was in public with multiple people, I felt like I was in control. Counter that with me being in a one-on-one situation with a man ( and I am terrified of men, fucking terrified of them) and its a recipe for disaster. So he's a little upset with me for backing out, and I'm still alone at night with these nightmares. Sometimes I run through my phone book texting friends hoping one is awake and can keep me occupied for a few hours. But that is going to get old fast, and soon they're going to start asking questions, and I am not read to go public yet. I just don't know what to do. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm scared as shit to fall asleep.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about what you're going through. I don't have anything useful to offer, either, and I wish I did. But, for what its worth, there are quite a few of us out here who care.

FridaWrites said...

Getting a big (but friendly) dog because of your daughter might help. Good dogs are good company and can be naturally protective in unusual situations. One of mine picked up on my fear of men and would come between me and men and bark unless it was a friend.

Hey, You said...

I'm so sorry. How long ago was the incident with your husband?

I've been assaulted and was subsequently terrified of all men. I identified with a lot of your post. All I can tell you is that time is the great disintegrator of feelings. It took a while, but I eventually reached the point where I was comfortable with men again.

A few men will understand, but you can't expect most of them to, not even most of the good ones. It's not something they can really relate to. Heck, there will be women who won't understand.

Give yourself time to get back to a more normal view. You have irrational fears, but they are very real, and you can't just set them aside. You might try taking control of your inner thoughts, fighting back, using your rational thought processes to combat the fear. Fear will be dominant initially, but as you exercise your skill at defeating it, fear will begin to shrink.

May you find the peace you need.

Nosce Te Ipsum said...

Your post touched me deeply; I too was assaulted and suffer from PTSD.
There are still many night when I sleep with the lights on, or on the couch in front of the TV, when I am alone.I still find it hard when SA's come into the Emerg.

Nevertheless, I have found that everyday is a journey. Some days after a sleepless night just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other is the only thing that keeps me from going off the deep end. Other days, I am able to laugh and smile.

I try to remember that although what has happened to me has changed me irrevocably,I choose not let it run my life.
Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...


I'm a guy, and I've been hanging out with a new girl, who I playfully, gently barely tapped on the shoulder, I mean, like I would do to a kid, when she beat me at a game.

She freaked out, started to cry, couldn't talk, I mean I felt like I just dropped a priceless vase and was watching it break, I felt so terrible, I thought I had somehow physically hurt her (although I knew that to be impossible).

I found out the truth later, and it's what you expect. I felt only one thing when she told me her past, anger, overwhelming anger that any man anywhere could physically harm a girl.

I mean, I knew it happened, I had heard about it but I had never seen the aftermath.

I'm not to much younger than you, but just know this, most guys are good and most will understand.