Sleep and I have a complicated relationship. Besides struggling with Insomnia, most nights my dreams are filled with PTSD nightmares. It took me a long time to accept this and actually want to sleep. Although I still go through periods where I won't want to sleep because I know it means I have to dream, I know that my mind and body need the rest. Even though I couldn't escape my mental illnesses in my dreams the one thing I could do was escape my chronic illness. That is, until last night.
Last night I dreamt of my pain.
I think the hardest part is that except for a few small details it was pretty realistic. Everything I dreamt had actually happened before.
In my dream I had a normal high pain day that could have easily been real. Sleep is no longer the one place I can escape my pain.
Sure, it's where my trauma comes out to get me, but for those few hours of sleep I don't feel any hurt.
That has been very important to me lately as I've been getting used to the idea of being chronically ill.
Dreaming of my pain felt like my last escape was gone.
When I'm able to take a step back and look at this cognitively it's not as bad. I'm trying to celebrate the fact that for one night I didn't have to relive my assault. I'm reminding myself that it was just a dream and it didn't mean anything. I'm acknowledging that having that dream didn't change my health in the slightest.
It's easier when I can take a step back and view it like this. Sometimes I can't do that though. Sometimes I dream of pain, wake up and cry because now I have to get up and do it all again.
But this is my life. It's the life I have. It's the only body I'm going to get. So it's the one I need to celebrate.