anxiety · dreams · sleep

Taking the “fun” out of Sleep DysFUNction

All indicators are either my unconscious nightmare-state is either a product of daytime anxiety, or childhood trauma (because, let’s face it, Freud just makes sense sometimes)

Imagine our surprise when my boyfriend came back from a frat party after an evening of alcohol, smoking, and so much caffeine he developed a bright red mask-like rash around his eyes only to find out that I (who had gone to bed early reading Milton) was in a much worse condition than he was. Sober by the time he got home, he found me afflicted with the following:

1) Audible teeth-grinding

2) Loud moaning in my sleep

3) Flailing, tossing motions

4) Pressed down into the bed on my stomach

5) Muscles like steel, an entire body full of more tension than I am consciously able to reproduce

6) Near-conscious cries of pain when he attempted to massage/relax said muscles for 20 minutes

7) Apparently I also clamped down with impossible strength on his leg, trapping it between my thighs

I have no memory of this. I vaguely remember him coming home, and then coming into the room again after he went to the bathroom at one point in the night. I did, however, remember my dreams. They were pretty bad. I don’t want to get into the details of that “childhood trauma” but I had a nightmare I haven’t had since I was a kid, and while I felt anxious and uncomfortable about it, my dream primarily focused on a friend’s six-year-old daughter who was trapped in this dungeon setting with me. I like kids. I love kids. It’s really hard to see them suffer. It was a bad, bad dream.

This was the worst anxiety dream I’ve had in a while, but I record all of my dreams and I have anxiety dreams about every other night. Maybe this is why I’m always tired, and kind of wake up feeling awful every morning…? I was assured that “everyone is groggy in the morning” and it “takes time to wake up” but I’m beginning to suspect the charmers who wanted to convince me I was normal and fine didn’t really have an idea of the scope of what I have to deal with at night. I usually wake up in a blind panic over something, whether it’s the contents of my dream, whether or not I’ve been robbed while sleeping, or lost one of my boyfriend’s favorite socks in the laundry.

This feels like a frustrating new development, but I’ve always had issues sleeping since I was a little girl and got hung up on all the nightmares and parasomnia problems I started having in third grade. It’s so hard to start living with someone, simply because they draw attention to everything you just assumed was normal and now feel like is too far advanced to fix. I should be happy I have a chance to see my sleep dysfunction for what it is, but it’s no fun thinking about what a long road I have to hoe if I want to make progress with this.

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