Sometimes it’s the small things of life that impact me the most, in particular those issues that are key to living, especially as I live with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Sleep is often something that evades many of us, but when night after night it’s impacted by one or more of my alters it can become a huge issue.
I seem to go through peaks and troughs when it comes to sleep, for a while it’s not an issue I sleep well and manage to settle quite quickly at night. Then of course there’s the flip side those times when sleep evades me, night after night after night. I seem to have entered such a phase right now and it’s driving me slowly crazy each night I try hard to get a good bedtime routine together yet somehow all my efforts are in vain.
This past week I feel like I’m facing a losing battle I’m desperate for sleep and yet each night it’s as if I switch, lose time as I make my way to bed and then I’m awake for ages. My brain wakes up and when I switch back I just can’t settle, it’s obviously part of me or parts that are not keen on being asleep I just wish I knew why.
I have been trying those recommended routines of winding down, relaxing, a warm drink, you name it we’ve tried it and yet it doesn’t work. No one it appears has ever written a book of self help techniques regards sleep for those who dissociate yet the main stream books are useless.
Last night I lay there desperate to switch off my brain which felt like it was on overdrive, I couldn’t stop thinking about silly irrelevant things. I couldn’t say that one thing was worrying me because I seemed to flit from one thought to another and none of it made much sense. I guess it’s not about the thoughts at all they are just a useful distraction to keep us awake into the early hours of the morning. I know I need to find out why sleep is so hard in order to solve this issue and yet that is not so easy, I am desperate for sleep it’s just other parts of me are not.
I spent sometime last night well in the early hours of this morning trying to solve what feels like an insurmountable problem, trying to talk internally in the hope that another part of me would give some clue as to why they want to avoid sleeping. It’s kind of like talking to an inanimate object which doesn’t respond back, so very much a one sided conversation. I’m not sure what the experts would say to all this self talk, I’m sure some would question it and label me in some way. Yet it is my only hope of finding out the solution to my problem, my only way of getting my sleep back on track. It’s also one of the main techniques that’s helped me in the last few months and that I started following the advice of my psychologist, so I’m sort of trusting his advice and this technique.
Last night didn’t bring any clues except a sense of dread about sleep, why am I or parts of me dreading sleep, what is it that seems to bother them so much they want to keep me awake for hours?
I wish I could answer those questions I wish I could fathom this issue, but sadly I’m still in the process of sorting this issue out. I know an answer will come I just have to accept it’s going to take sometime. I think if I’m honest I know that there are times in the year when certain dates trigger us, worry us more and cause all sorts of issues. I guess if I’m honest with myself it’s more than likely that this period is one of those times, a date that for some reason causes part of me to feel more afraid of sleep, or more likely afraid of the night. I may not know why yet, but I’m confident that one day I will know, one day I’ll understand and all of these difficulties will make sense.
I know that sometimes having Dissociative Identity Disorder is a challenge, a challenge that seems too great, or perhaps one that feels as if you can’t win. Yet I know deep down we are strong, we survived this far and we will survive this period of sleep disruption it’s not too big a challenge it’s just a hill we have to climb. The joy will come once we have climbed the hill as it’s always easier on the other side, we will make it and we will look back on this time and think oh yes that was tough but hey we made it.
It’s often the tough times that makes us stronger and a better person, that’s been my experience and it’s what carries me through. I know I’d love to sleep well on a regular basis and yes there will be times we do but like most people we will have times when sleep is an issue. I just have to keep focused and remember we can get back on track this won’t last forever.
Until then I’m going to be continuing to utilise all those self help sleep hygiene techniques, I’ll be doing more self talk and internal dialogue. I will be using art to help the other parts of me express their feelings and to communicate with me and I will try hard to listen to my alters and respond to their feelings. Most of all I won’t give up hope or trying, I may have less sleep than I’d like right now but I’m still going to enjoy the Easter period and try and keep motivated. Life with D.I.D is a challenge, a bit like a bumpy twisty road with ups and downs, that challenge is one I’m willing to journey in the hope of building a future out of the darkness of my past.
Copyright DIDDispatches 2014