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TW: I think I know why I have been struggling to sleep all my life

(20 Posts)
Canyouhelpme Mon 15-Jun-20 23:17:41

I have had to move out of my house into an annex to keep my vulnerable family safe as I’m going back to work. I have always had trouble sleeping, ever since I can remember and now I think I know why because I’m afraid. At first I was afraid of the monster under the bed as a child, I was afraid everyone I loved would die - I was diagnosed with separation anxiety due to my adoption, I was afraid of the ticking of clocks and the stillness and creaks. Then I became afraid of the real monster under my bed at aged 16 when I was sexually assaulted he lead there until I was unconscious, I was powerless. I am powerless when I sleep. My dreams are full of flashbacks, of moments I can’t change, of men I can’t escape. And I’m afraid. I a 22 year old year old woman am afraid of the dark, of what the night brings. I still can’t sleep with a clock, I still can’t sleep with a bed with a gap beneath it, I lock my door every night and hope I will wake up. I guess this is a less AIBU and more a idk who else to tell.

OP’s posts: |
FiveFootTwoEyesOfBlue Mon 15-Jun-20 23:21:38

That sounds like you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and you might be helped by seeing a therapist who specialises in it.

Canyouhelpme Mon 15-Jun-20 23:27:20

I have had therapy, but that was years ago. Maybe I do need to see someone again.

OP’s posts: |
Hauskat Mon 15-Jun-20 23:30:52

I am so sorry. I have anxiety and loads of panic attacks at night. I am adopted too and so was my brother. On the surface we couldn’t seem more different but a few weeks ago he told me he is scared all the time. Me too. You have been through some terrible traumas. Can you get some help with this? Some therapy perhaps? I wish I could help more. All I can say is of course you are terrified. That is such a reasonable response to what you have been through. I wish you weren’t and I don’t want you to feel alone.

Hauskat Mon 15-Jun-20 23:34:50

Sorry I have just seen your update. There are loads of different therapies you might find a combination that helps. There is a book called The Body Keeps the Score that really helped me. It talks about trauma and lots of different approaches to treating it. The Primal Wound is a book about adoption I recently came across. They are both at times heavy reading but made me feel understood.

Fearandsurprise Mon 15-Jun-20 23:37:24

I just wanted to let you know that I understand what you are saying and am thinking of you and sending you my very best wishes.

LeviOsaNotLeviosAR Mon 15-Jun-20 23:38:12

I totally agree with fivefoot. Your post sounds like you could be suffering PTSD.
What you are feeling is understandable especially considering your experiences. My advise is to try and rationalise as much as you can.
Think about how things have changed since these traumatic events happened. When you realise how far you have come and how much things have changed/improve it can help calm the intrusive thoughts.

I find doing this can help me with anxiety I suffer at night. It lets me acknowledge my feelings, think them through clearly and rationally and then be satisfied in myself that all things considered everything is OK. But dedinitly go to your GP and get help x

ItDoesntRhyme Mon 15-Jun-20 23:39:08

It's a reasonable response. And therapy is probably a good idea if you can.
In the meantime, on a more practical level, I found sleeping in the day (shift work) and not in bed (roll mat on floor by door) would make me feel safer - just not sleeping when/where it was expected. But admittedly my fears came from a different place to yours.

Tillygetsit Mon 15-Jun-20 23:40:10

I had PTSD and a counsellor advised EMDR which is an odd form of therapy where they wave their arm and you follow with your eyes. I was very sceptical but it worked after 4 sessions which were free. You can self refer for counselling.
You will be given a set number of sessions but mine were more than enough.
I understand everyone is different but it may be eorth a try. Best of luck OP.

Canyouhelpme Mon 15-Jun-20 23:41:24

Thank you so much, it means a lot. @Hauskat I was adopted with my brother too, so I know what you mean. I feel like I missed being a child, my adoptive family love me and are my family but they aren’t perfect and I have been abused by strangers and supposed friends from childhood. I just wish I knew what to do.

OP’s posts: |
HeyMaCorona Mon 15-Jun-20 23:46:03

Oh OP. I remember in my early 20s having a fear of going to sleep. It was awful. I got prescribed some diazapam which was great in the short term, buy I only really.learnt to manage my fear of sleep once I had my lovely husband to to. Even then, at the start, I'd have weird awake dreams that he was going to something. It passed though and 10 years on he's snoring away next to me, hasn't run away and I know I'll feel safe falling asleep with him right there to protect me!

I never sought help except the diazapam so mine was a long journey. I'd suggest you seek.some help as soon as possible, so you.can get over this soon and get back to sleeping happy.

It will be ok OP flowers

Canyouhelpme Mon 15-Jun-20 23:54:07

@HeyMaCorona thank you, I have so many sleeping tablets and painkillers but it takes away my response and that scares me. For a while I was okay, my ex made me feel safe but when he broke up with me and the way it happened it shredded the trust and progress I made.

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Jammies Tue 16-Jun-20 00:00:53

Sorry you have been through so much OP.
I can’t offer any useful advice but I’m sending you big hugs. 💐

1WildTeaParty Tue 16-Jun-20 00:08:29

So sorry to hear of the things that have happened to you! I hope that some of the suggestions do help lead you to better sleep.

I have nothing useful to add but only the experience of attempting to help someone else. One of our foster-daughters had similar trouble sleeping (for some of the same reasons). In the end, in desperation, we moved our (strictly downstairs) dog up to her room at night. It really helped.

I think that she felt able to relax knowing that she would have warning of any change/danger. There was also that steady breathing and the warm soft fur smile

Eckhart Tue 16-Jun-20 00:21:23

Although it's not a good thing, you might be reassured to know that many don't reach this degree of recognition until much later in life, and still are able to have therapy and find a resolution.

You have time. Go at your own pace. Only do things you're comfortable with, and make this process as easy on yourself as possible.

Italiangreyhound Tue 16-Jun-20 00:33:44

Canyouhelpme I am so sorry this must be so hard.

I agree with others that counselling or therapy may be the way to go and may be available on the NHS.

I've heard really good things about EMDR.

"Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new treatment which has been found to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
It involves making side-to-side eye movements, usually by following the movement of your therapist's finger, while recalling the traumatic incident. Other methods may include the therapist tapping their finger or playing a tone.
It's not clear exactly how EMDR works but it may help you to change the negative way you think about a traumatic experience."

Good luck and thank you for sharing. My son is adopted and I often forget quite how much can shape an early life and listening to adults adopted as children is a such a help.

I am so sorry about the sexual assault. You have many things to deal with but you sound like an amazing and very aware person.

I had panic attacks (anxiety) in my thirties and I had CBT. It worked for me but I think with all you are dealing with you need a medical person to tell you the best treatment so I won't say anymore. Just good luck. XX thanks

ArcheryAnnie Tue 16-Jun-20 01:00:10

I just wanted to say I am thinking of you, Canyouhelpme, and wishing you all the support and comfort in the world.

Have you ever tried to contact Rape Crisis? They are there to support women however long ago the assault was.

Guineapigbridge Tue 16-Jun-20 06:40:35

You beautiful girl sad. I hope you find the support you need.

Hauskat Tue 16-Jun-20 07:28:47

@Canyouhelpme my brother and I were adopted separately from different families and both were very small babies but it has shaped our lives so much. The adults around you (even if they are open and talk about it like ours did) can’t really bear to think about what we have been through so we have this huge thing to deal with alone that is too much for adults to deal with. It is very lonely. I have had some traumatic sexual experiences too and my brother finds he is more relaxed in war zones than in everyday life.
If you can get your hands on particularly the first book I suggested do give it a try. For some reason most of the people I am close to as an adult have been through trauma and we have all read it and found it helpful. Personally I have tried CBT twice but didn’t get on with it. I have seen an Analytical Psychologist for more than a decade. I haven’t had much luck with medication and was thinking of trying it again but recently realised that maybe this isn’t something I have to live with my whole life and just endure. Maybe I can ask for help instead. I have told my husband I will wake him up when I am scared. I have asked my brother to call me when he is (I don’t think he will though). Is there someone you could reach out to so you aren’t alone in the night? Maybe this forum is it?
Also there are support groups for adopted adults. I found out about one through a blog called howtobeadopted although I haven’t managed to go to a meeting yet and obvs it may be a while before that’s useful now.
Someone I am close to had a sexual trauma similar to yours and has found sertraline and a combo of EMDR and traditional therapy really really helpful. I think the EMDR is really effective with traumatic events you can remember particularly.
There are lots of people on here thinking about you. I hope your night was ok.

Flyingarcher Tue 16-Jun-20 13:14:34

Can I second EMDR. There is some really good info on this by Pookie Knightsmith on Youtube.

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