Well, not proper insomnia. But certainly sleep-deprivation is what’s happening a lot at the moment. I seem to swing between coping fairly well with the disturbed nights, with the exception of sore eyes, and totally crashing and not functioning for most of the day. And it’s not that I’m not sleeping – I can get to sleep without too much difficulty – but either I wake much too early (5.15 am anyone?), or I feel like I’ve slept for hours, but because I keep waking up, or dream far too vividly, I spend the next day in a jet-lagged haze.
I’m not too sure what the cause is. My hypothesis is that it’s a result of a wonky combination of tablets with the lingering effects of childhood trauma. I’ve seen the doctor, and we are working on the medication issues – though I’m off to a bit of a rocky start with that. The psychological causes are a bit more thorny to unpick.
I had a revelation last week: the body knows how to get what it needs. The body knows how to sleep when it needs to, providing it’s given the chance. It knows when you need rest to recover from illness, and it makes you feel lethargic and fatigued. It knows how to tell you when it’s dehydrated or malnourished. So in theory, if I really focus on my body and how it feels throughout the day and night, I should know when it needs to sleep, and I’d be able just to let go and let it do its work.
But here’s the problem. When you’ve spent nearly 30 years distancing your mind from your body, restoring this connection is no simple matter. If I start to focus on my body’s sensations too much, I get panicky, and I think this is because it is my body, rather than my mind, that carries the memories of being abused as a child. Tuning into my body means connecting with the sensations of being abused. And obviously that’s no fun. It’s much safer to be floating above somewhere, or closed off in a little cerebral bubble.
But, I remind myself, this isn’t the path to healing. What I really need to do is find a new way of encountering my body that doesn’t make me relive the wounds of the past. And hopefully, finding a few more zzzzs as I do.