Another one I wrote once upon a time that I’ve decided to share here…
Everyone has sleepless nights. Often it is caused by stress, a broken routine, illness, children, or all manner of other things. Sometimes people can go for a couple of weeks without sleeping well. That is not insomnia. That’s just a bad couple of weeks. Insomnia is an uncontrolled chronic inability to sleep properly.
Children need to learn how to go to sleep by themselves. They wake up during the night and as far as they are concerned, it’s time to get up and be active, but they are still tired. Parents lose a lot of sleep over this problem until they find a way to teach their children to settle themselves back to sleep after waking up. There are various methods for doing this, the most common - and contraversal - is the controlled crying method. There are other ways, but that is not the issue here. The fact is, children need to learn how to do it… and so do some adults.
Some people simply never learn how to settle themselves properly back to sleep, others forget how after a long period of disrupted sleep. A sleepless parent who has spent too many nights unable to settle may forget how to relax back to sleep. How many times have you woken up 3 minutes before your alarm would normally go off to realise you don’t have to go to work and you can sleep in… and be unable to actually do so? This is more of a routine problem than insomnia, but it can lead to insomnia if left unchecked. The person wants to go to sleep but just doesn’t know how. Many people turn to using sleeping tablets in times like this to force themselves to get to sleep. Once they are asleep they are usually okay, they get a good nights sleep and can start getting back into a routine. If they could learn how to settle themselves to sleep without any medication, they would be able to get back into a good sleep routine and have no problems. The tricky part is learning how to settle.
Some people, especially teenagers, have a tendency to throw out their sleep patterns because they are too interested in what they are doing to want to go to sleep. They spend many late nights doing something interesting and then have to drag their butts out of bed to go to school or work at the same time each morning regardless of when they went to bed, and they suffer a lack of sleep night after night… and this can eventually become a habit whereby they end up being able to rely on having a reduced amount of sleep and still function somewhat normally for long periods. This isn’t insomnia so much as another change in routine. It’s not a safe one, as lethargy will still have it’s effects on reaction times and cognitive ability, but people do it all the same.
When people start doing all the wrong things, like consuming drugs, drinks, and foods that create a physical and mental stimulation that keeps them awake, they are only contributing to the problem. These factors can also lead to insomnia if left unchecked.
People that are suffering from extreme stress, have ADHD, anxiety, or any number of other such conditions can have a lot of trouble getting to sleep. Once they are asleep, they are usually fine, it’s getting to sleep that is the hard part. For these people, learning to settle is extremely hard because it’s not just a matter of learning how to do it, it’s also a matter of getting past the problem that is keeping them awake in the first place. This is where appropriate medication or therapy to control the cause of the problem is important. Once that is remedied, their ability to go to sleep will improve… if they can learn to settle.
With a proper routine, keeping an eye on what we eat and drink, the medications we are using and how and when they are to be used, and learning how to settle ourselves to sleep, insomnia is something that can be avoided in the first place, and if it’s too late, it can still be completely abolished by taking control of the situation and doing something about it.
Sufferers of PTSD have all the above problems, and a few extras thrown in for good measure. Their sleep routines have usually been thrown out the window for a long time before they were ever diagnosed. Getting back that routine is harder than for most people. PTSD sufferers can also have anxiety, stress, hyperactivity, hypervigilance, paranoia, and hyperalertness… all of which are underlying problems that stop them from getting to sleep. Overcoming one of these problems is hard enough for anyone to do… just try to imagine having them all at once. If they can all be overcome, then they still have the problem of learning to settle on top of that.
PTSD sufferers also have nightmares, which wake them up in a state of sheer terror. Getting back to sleep after that is one thing. Imagine going through that night after night, re-living your greatest fears every time you close your eyes. You would eventually get to a point where you simply wouldn’t want to go to sleep anymore… and that is exactly what happens. The sufferer can’t go to sleep, doesn’t want to go to sleep, and if they do fall asleep, they wake up in terror very soon after. This is insomnia at it’s worst.
I have gone for years on end surviving on an average of 4 hours sleep in every 24 hour period…for months on end with an average of 2 hours sleep in every 24… weeks on end with only 1 hours sleep in every 24… and at one point I went for 3 weeks with no sleep at all and it literally drove me insane and almost killed me. I ended up in hospital in a catatonic state, and after not getting any sleep there either despite every sleep inducing tablet they had, a doctor came in on the 5th night and gave me an injection that put me to sleep… I stayed asleep for a whole 2 hours before waking up again. At that point I was given a very strong and highly addictive prescription medication that would knock out an elephant, that let me get to sleep most of the time and usually kept me drowsy enough to go back to sleep if I did wake up… and I was still lucky if I could get 5 hours sleep on it. But that was better than nothing. On the bright side, I’ve had times where I not only have managed a full 8 hours sleep every night for months on end, but at some points I’ve crashed for as long as 24 hours after a long period of insomnia. Getting 10 to 12 hours solid sleep after a nasty lack of it is a wonderous miracle, but it happens often enough to keep me sane.
Telling someone that has PTSD to go to bed and get some sleep can be like telling them to go and build an aeroplane out of matchsticks, get it to fly 1000 feet in the air, and jump out of it without a parachute. The prospect of going to sleep is not only difficult, for some it can be downright scary. Even if they can get past the fear of facing another night of terrifying nightmares and want to go to sleep, they may not be able to get past any anxiety, hyperalertness, hyperactivity, hypervigilance, stress, or paranoia they may have at the time. If they can get past all of that, they then need to be able to settle. That’s all assuming they haven’t been filling their body with stimulants, such as too many cups of coffee and chocolate cake. You’d be better off suggesting they do something quiet so they don’t keep everyone else awake and give them some space to wear themselves out and settle themselves down so they can sleep when they are ready… and if they get to sleep and don’t wake up, don’t wake them up if you can avoid it.
Sleep deprivation can be very nasty, and even dangerous, for anyone. A lack of decent sleep can lead to slowed reactions and a decreased ability to notice things… which makes driving a vehicle or operating machinery dangerous as you may as well be drunk. It also causes irritability, shortened temper, mood swings, and depression… which can create social problems. It reduces cognitive ability, concentration, and memory abilities, making learning and even just thinking difficult at best. It’s also physically exhausting and can effect a person’s health, making them far more prone to every contageous disease they come in contact with, as well as more susceptible to conditions such as stroke, heart attack, cancer and all the big nasty ‘natural’ killers that we are all vulnerable to.
When we sleep, our brainwaves change and go through a series of ‘re-programming’. Part of this pattern includes a dream state and REM (Rapid Eye Movement), among other things. Without this process being completed, the brain stops functioning properly. Please note, just because you can’t remember a dream it doesn’t mean you didn’t have one. The only time you will remember a dream is if you have awoken during this dream state. Most of the time people don’t wake up during it, but sometimes after it has finished. Most people can have up to 4 or 5 dream cycles per night, yet they wake up and are lucky if they can remember one dream.
Studies have been done on the effects of sleep deprivation, and sleep deprivation has even been used as an effective torture method. The brain can not handle being awake for too long. Negative effects are many and varied according to exactly how little sleep has been had and what has gone on in the time awake. Eventually permanent brain damage and death are the extreme results. Some of the more nasty effects I have suffered over the years when it has gotten really bad for me include: hallucinations, delirium, memory loss, seizures, some (fortunately very minor) brain damage, and once a complete mental breakdown.
Don’t take a good nights sleep for granted. In fact, don’t take any sleep for granted. If you are suffering from insomnia, get to the bottom of the reason why and do something about it. If your problem is like mine, there may not be much you can do. But if you are one of those people that play computer games and sip coffee all night and then complain all day about not getting enough sleep, I suggest you take a real good look at yourself and what you are doing, and realise how lucky you are; and know that people like me wish we could be like you.
I once wrote this as an article on another site some time ago, but I’ve seen so many blogs about self-harm on tumblr that I thought it might be a good idea and may help someone if I post it here, with a little editing and an addition I left out of the original article. As far as I’m aware, because I wrote it and didn’t sell it, I should still own copyright…? If not, tough luck. Sue me. People need this information. If you have a friend or relative that is self-harming in any way at all, please be supportive and try to find out and understand why they do it…
· Psychologist: “Have you ever deliberately harmed yourself by cutting?”
· My response: “Only when I couldn’t afford a tattoo or a piercing.”
· Psychologist: “But that’s…”
· My response: “exactly the same sort of pain, it’s just more socially acceptable. People don’t look at you like some sort of messed-up freak.”
· Psychologist: “I’d never considered that.”
Self destructive behaviour is a lot more common than anyone realises. And it doesn’t just take the form of cutting one’s skin with a sharp blade. There are many different ways to be self-destructive, some are just more obvious than others. I’m going to try and run through some of the different ways people self-destruct. Keep in mind, I’m not a psychologist, I’m just going with what I’ve learned from doing it myself and being there when people close to me went through it as well.
What makes some of these things difficult to detect is that some people do them for different reasons other than to be self-destructive. I’m not going to go into the reasons why people become self-destructive. That’s a book unto its own. I’m just pointing out some things that even one of my psychologists missed, and show how easily it can be missed or misinterpreted. There are many complex reasons as to why anyone does anything. These are just a few of the most common examples that I’ve encountered in some way so far.
Cutting. This is probably the most obvious form of physical self-destruction. It can vary from tiny paper cut like scratches to deep cuts requiring stitches. Some people do it to get the endorphin release that this pain gives - which can help relieve or re-focus mental and emotional pain. Some do it for attention and sympathy. The easiest way to tell if it is just for sympathy and attention is fairly easy - they make it very obvious to everyone, often in a rather annoying fashion. When it is to re-focus emotional or mental pain, they will often try to cover it up, make excuses, and even get embarrassed if it is noticed. However, if it is purely for attention, this person needs help and should not be ignored - or they will end up doing it for the pain aspect. Some that seem to do it for attention also started out doing it for the pain factor and somewhere along the line realised they needed help, so started making it known that they do it.
On the flip side: with “emo” sub-culture becoming almost fashionable among young people, some cut for the sake of wanting to be like their friends and because their friends are doing it, they do too. Then, some people do it to try and hurt others emotionally: “You upset me so much, look what you made me do!” This is a form of emotional abuse. I personally think rather lowly of anyone doing this for the reasons of peer pressure or abuse, because it cheapens the pain of those that are in genuine trouble and do it for real.
Burns. I’ve known many people that burn themselves instead of cutting. A common form of this is pressing the hot metal from a cigarette lighter that has been on for a while against the skin, creating a little first or second degree burn - that, depending on the lighter, can look like a weird little smiley face. Others will just melt hot wax onto their skin, hold their hand over a candle flame until it hurts, or various other forms of creating pain through heat. But then, others will do it just to look “tough” to their mates… or out of sheer curiosity as to how much something really does hurt! Yes that seems even more nuts than doing it for the pain factor, but I’ve seen it done - and I’ve seen a few people look very stupidly sheepish afterwards as well.
Scratching and hair pulling. These are often seen as mere nervous traits, but are often also a form of self-destructive behaviour. They cause small amounts of pain and if done badly enough, can cause minor injuries. Often the person doing this doesn’t realise why they do it. However, after a bad case of head lice, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of constantly scratching and pulling at hair just out of habit. Someone who has naturally dry itchy skin may scratch out of habit a lot more often than other people, and can get a bit carried away with it at times. That doesn’t mean they are deliberately trying to hurt themselves.
Tattoos and piercings. These create a very similar pain to cutting, and thus the same sort of relief. However, some people only get them because it is fashionable, it expresses something about themselves, or they just think it looks cool. There are other reasons, but when someone gets “addicted” to getting ink and steel driven into their skin, that’s often a sign that there’s a bit more to it than just appearances. Also, if they haven’t the money for a tattoo or piercing they may then show signs of other forms of self-destructive behaviour.
Extreme Sports. Some people take part in extreme sports that create huge adrenalin rushes, can create vicious injuries, and even result in death if unlucky. These people aren’t out to get injured or killed, but the fear factor of facing those high risks creates an adrenalin surge that creates a temporary emotional high. The same sort of emotional high that one gets from cutting only more intense. Even sports such as boxing can fall into this category. That’s not to say that all people that partake in these sports are doing it for this reason - but many that do are doing it for that reason and just don’t know it themselves. But, some just do it to keep fit and because they can take a personal pride in doing something unique to them, that few others will dare even try.
Failure. Some people fail study courses they take on for many reasons. Some people have learning difficulties, terrible teachers, too many other things going on in life to concentrate on learning, or a million of other reasons for not passing. Some people can’t hold down a job and get fired or quit for all manner of reasons. However, some people do it deliberately. Some people are so afraid of success that they deliberately sabotage their own efforts so that they fail. Often they don’t even realise they are doing it. This appears to create a rollercoaster of emotional and mental turmoil for the person, and that attracts sympathy and attention from others in much the same way that people that cut for attention do.
Rejection. Very closely related to failure is social rejection. Some people will do things to deliberately sabotage friendships and relationships between themselves and others. Some will even go so far as to deliberately push and pressure people into hurting them. Again, this creates a rollercoaster ride of turmoil for them that gets attention and sympathy. However, some just have no idea how to maintain such inter-personal relationships, others are simply afraid of allowing anyone to get too emotionally close to them, and some are just too unlucky to find others that can relate to them and want to stick around.
Ill Health. Some people will deliberately make themselves ill to get attention and sympathy, some even find that being physically ill helps take away the mental and emotional pain they suffer. Others fake illness to get this attention. Elderly people are most commonly known for this, however it can happen to anyone at any age. And then some people are genuinely prone to poor health. Some parents have been known to deliberately make their own children sick for sympathy and attention. Some women go on a pregnancy and abortion rollercoaster or deliberately cause themselves to miscarry. Although such behaviour may seem very heartless, cruel, and selfish, it is a cry for help that should not be ignored.
Drugs and alcohol abuse. Of course, this is also a very obvious form of self destruction and many people turn to drugs and alcohol to take away mental and emotional pain. But, some people do it because “it’s fun” or “it’s cool”. Of course, there’s nothing fun or cool about frying your brain and ending up spending the rest of your life totally messed up, if indeed you actually live long enough to do that, but some people sadly do think that way - and then find themselves addicted.
Sexual promiscuity. Some people simply have a sex drive that knows no bounds with no morals to keep it in check. Others do so for the sake of getting attention, not realising that it’s not really the type of attention they need. The little emotional rush they get from having a one-night stand doesn’t last long and they continue to crave that feeling of being wanted by and attractive to others. This can be dangerous, not just in that they are exposing themselves to disease and relationship problems, but also in that it can become like an addiction - and if they get rejected a few too many times, it can make the underlying problem worse for them.
Eating disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are the most two commonly known of, but there are other eating disorders that exist. Some people starve themselves as a form of self-punishment, others deliberately over-eat to make themselves over-weight for the same reason. Many people with eating disorders don’t like themselves the way they are - or are deeply psychologically effected by how others express how they see them - and they go too extreme in an attempt to rectify what they perceive to be their biggest problem. And then again, some people simply don’t know how to maintain, lose or gain weight in a healthy stable way.
Other wierdities. There are other strange things that people will do for attention or to cause themselves harm. Children are often prone to hitting their head on things - and sometimes they do it deliberately. Some do it out of experimentation because they have seen someone else doing it, others do it to feel pain, attention, and for all the reasons of other self destructive behaviour. Some may bite themselves. Some stick fingers in places they know all to well they shouldn’t. Some people, especially children, can be very creative in the way they behave in a self-destructive manner. They explore and experiment until they find something that will make others sit up and take notice. And often they just do things to find out what will happen. This behaviour can pass through to adulthood.
When someone is doing a combination of the above things, that’s a good sign that something is seriously wrong. If it’s just one of them, well… maybe there are other reasons for it? The only way to really know is to talk to the person and find out what is really going on inside their head.
Another great book for male companions or family members of survivors of sexual assault. “If She is Raped” by Alan W. McEvoy and Jeff B. Brookings.
I will occasionally post excerpts from this book that I feel are important. The following is the “Do’s and Don’ts” for when you learn a loved one has been raped.
That’s good advice.
Yet another tip from “The PTSD Workbook”. Self-mutilation is never a healthy way to express pain or hurt. You may want to start an impulse control log (write what, when you felt the urge to harm yourself, you did instead), and think of ways to express your feelings that are not harmful to you. The folloing are other techniques to control self-mutilation:
Get more depressed around the time of attack/meeting there perp/another period of time conected to the trama?
Can’t find a link to answer this with so doing it with a re-blog. Yes, it is quite normal for PTSD sufferers to experience heightened symptoms if anything regarding time (day/night, season, holiday, etc) reminds them of their trauma when that time comes around. Depression is a symptom of PTSD, so yes, that’s quite normal.
Coalition deaths in Afghanistan by country
Czech Republic: 3
New Zealand: 2
South Korea: 2
Add in all the others places in the world where wars are being fought involving other nations… Makes ya think…
If my page looks different, don’t panic, you’re at the right one.
I finally settled on a page appearance that I like and had some fun with it. Apologies to people who don’t play World of Warcraft if you don’t get the joke.
I read post after post about people saying they have PTSD and suffer from flashbacks. Some appear genuine. Some don’t. Stop and have a look at what a flashback really is:
“As the name implies, in a flashback, a person may feel or act as though a traumatic event is happening again.
A flashback can vary in severity. A flashback may be a temporary occurrence, and a person may maintain some connection with the present moment. On the other hand, during a flashback, a person may lose all awareness of what is going on around them, being taken completely back to their traumatic event. Similar to a dissociative episode, during a flashback, a person may also lose track of time.Examples:
A war veteran with PTSD who is in a store may begin to feel like the store looks like a jungle and the people around him begin to look like fellow soldiers or the enemy.”
Quoted from: http://ptsd.about.com/od/glossary/g/flashbacks.htm
When in a full-blown flashback where the sufferer loses time and awareness of the present reality they get what is commonly known among soldiers as the “1000 yard stare”. It can sometimes be mistaken as an epileptic abscence seizure. If you have them, you probably scare the shit out of anyone around you that cares about you when it happens and they witness it. If you’ve never had one, consider yourself lucky.
Not Perfect by Tim Minchin
(acceptance of self) “This is my body, and I live in it. It’s 31 and 6 months old. It’s changed a lot since it was new. It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do. I often try to fill it up with wine. And the weirdest part about it is, I spend so much time hating it, but it never says a bad word about me. This is my body, and it’s fine. It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.”
The Hunger by Dungeon
(hope against all odds) “Remember the hunger that burns inside, remember the fire within, take hold of your dreams with both hands and don’t let go.”
Angels by Within Temptation
(abuse and blame) “What is your reason, the thorn in your eye…. The world may have failed you, it doesn’t give you a reason why. You could have chosen a different path in life.”
Stand My Ground by Within Temptation
(courage to face shit) “Late at night, things I thought I put behind me haunt my mind. I just know there’s no escape now, once it’s set it’s eyes on you. But I won’t run, have to stare it in the eye. Stand my ground I won’t give in. No more denying, I got to face it. Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside.”
I Was Only 19 (A Walk In The Light Green) by Redgum.
(Trauma and PTSD) “Doctor can you tell me why I still can’t get to sleep, and why night time’s just a jungle dark and a barking M16.… I can still see Frankie drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel on a 36 hour rec leave in Vung Tao. And I can still hear Frankie lying screaming in the jungle til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.… Doctor can you tell me why I still can’t get to sleep, and why the Channel 7 chopper chills me to my feet.”
Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper
(suicide and addiction) “C’mon girl its a better day, get your foot out of that grave. Don’t let that one love tear your world apart. C’mon babe, kick that stuff. Show the street it ain’t so tough. Quit lying around with a crippled broken heart. Now I know you’ve been seeing red. Don’t put a pistol to your head. Sometimes you’re answers heaven sent. Your way’s so damn permanent.”
I Want To Be Loved by Bon Jovi
(determination to live) “So who am I now? Who do you want me to be? I can forgive you, but I won’t relive you. I aint the same scared kid I used to be. I’m gonna live. I’m gonna survive. Don’t want the world to pass me by. I’m gonna dream. I aint gonna die thinking my life was just a lie.”
I honestly don’t think I would have survived this nightmare, this disorder without you guys.
I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
I don’t think I’d say it was beautiful, I wouldn’t wish this headfucking mental illness on anyone, but I do get what you mean. It’s a relief to know you’re not the only one and there are others out there that can relate; even if they are a mostly anonymous person in some far away land, it’s better than having no one. :)