Under and out of control

I have notes and papers and stickies all over my desk right now and as I became instantly overwhelmed by the sheer mass of work to be done, I decided to regroup and write a quick blog to settle my brain.

I dreamed like crazy last night…all night it seemed. I only slept for about six hours so it can’t have been the marathon I recall, but it was intense. I was watching a documentary before I fell asleep on dreaming and some of the newer sleep studies they are doing now. I haven’t had studies done for over ten…wow…nearly 20 years so I guessed it was about time to have another look at where the technology is nowadays. One of the scientists involved in the particular study I was watching was working on the theory that there are two different types of dreams: REM dreams which happen in REM sleep, right at the beginning of your sleep cycle. (You reach REM sleep several times a night as your body goes through it’s sleep cycle) and non-REM dreams. The former heavily involves the amigdala which has a heavy hand in feeling emotions like fear, intense sadness, distress, loss, self-hatred and guilt. Because REM dreams are influenced heavily by that part of the brain, the dreams can be often negative in emotion, and intensely so. Non-REM dreams are influenced by the part of the brain that supports confidence, self-love, affection, compassion, empathy…..the difference is rather obvious. The theory was that people who suffer from depression might get ‘stuck’ in REM cycles causing an abundance of negative, frightening emotions to dominate their dreams whether they remember them or not. An over abundance of negative emotions is … well, depression, right? People who reach deep sleep more easily tend to have dreams where they are in control and feel powerful and healthy. An abundance of that sort of feeling….not depressed. Who knows how much merit it all has…..was an interesting theory though.

So, as for my REM cycles – they were rotten to me last night. I spent much of my time asleep dreaming that I was lying in a dark room, often with others, trying to sleep but could not. No matter what I did I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes closed. I was worrying about the upcoming day, not having any sleep and being super exhausted, and I tried as hard as I could to settle my brain. (hahaha..isn’t that funny? This is what I do while I’m sleeping! Try to sleep and shut my head up. *sigh*)

Colt had a good (ish) day yesterday. I didn’t get any phone calls (for the first school day so far) so that was kinda nice. He was happy when I picked him up and because he had a good day, Dayne lifted on of the restrictions he had in punishment for hitting that poor kid in the hallway the day before. Dayne took EVERYTHING away from the kid…trying to make a clear point, but it did leave him a little stir crazy without a way to chill out after school. Colt’s mind never stops…just like his mom. (sorry kiddo). He went to bed and to sleep before 9 and woke happy. That was a nice reprieve from the stress.

All I want, today, is to tell the front desk I’m going for coffee and just split, get into my car and drive in any direction for hours and hours….maybe until I can see an ocean somewhere. I’d get myself an ice cold Pepsi and sit out on the rocks watching the water forever….maybe even in the pouring rain. That would make me … unwind? Settle? Stop for a moment? I just want silence, peace and nature. I might just leave a few minutes early to go to my woods where I can lean against a 200 year old tree and look up up up into the canopy, little patches of blue between the foliage. It will just be getting a hint of fall-rust on the edges of it now…the canopy. I love it just before all the leaves burst into colour. I’m really excited to get some nice photos this fall. Would love to start today. Now. This moment.

Some good news though. I happened to be driving behind a car that was in an accident the other day. (that’s not the good part) It was a pretty bad one, resulting in one car being side swiped, one being t-boned and one spinning across the intersection in what seemed to be a lazy circle but I’m sure I was just seeing it in slow motion.

Now, I have some trauma in my past that contributed to my PTSD and was the star of many flashbacks for many years. It was a car accident involving only me, my passenger and another vehicle but he hit me at a dead-stop going 80 kmph. (50ish for you US folks). I was hurt and had to be cut out of my vehicle, my friend in the back seat was very nearly impaled by an ice skate that came through the back from the collapsed trunk. There was a woman in front of me who had two car seats in the back with small children in them….I could just see the blond curls peeking over the top edge of the seat on each side. The moment I saw the truck racing up behind me, I immediately cranked my wheel all the way to the left, aiming for the irrigation ditch without conscious though. After the car stopped bouncing and rolling along the ditch I was almost 15 car lengths away from where I started and all I could hear was the mother of those two babies wailing from the side of her car, screaming “Thank you! Oh my God thank you!” as she realized what had happened. She left her babies with another motorist who had stopped to help (we were all gridlocked in traffic anyway so no one had left the scene). She came flying over to my vehicle and pressed her hands against the shattered drivers side window, thanking me for not hitting her, for not hurting her infant twins. She said she had seen it all in slow motion and all she could think was that her babies were going to die. I was in shock at that point and couldn’t calm her from inside the car, then my friend began to shriek in terror as she realized the ice skate blade had broken her skin. I panicked there and started smashing my hands against the windows…trying to get out…then the next I remember is the sound of metal and glass ripping as the big metal jaws of life peeled my car open like a tin of sardines and I was lifted to safety by the big arms of a firefighter, who reminded me of an angel at that time.

So. As you can see, that moment had a huge impact on me and my psyche. My PTSD was undiagnosed at that point so the experience was just tossed into the closet where I kept all my bad memories, only to resurface when I was triggered by something like witnessing a car accident. Which I did just recently. This time, though, I freaked out only a little, found a way to calm myself and halt the snow-ball reaction I’m so used to facing and held my cool. I got to work and worked all day, told Dayne about what had happened and the worst that happened was a momentary flash of terror, a super quick movie-reel flashback in my head (without dissociating at all) and a little bit of rationalization.

I feel like I have this PTSD demon under control, finally. The knowledge and power in understanding what drives my fear has allowed me to heal…therapy is fully responsible for this, by the way. I feel like I can do anything now and not fall to pieces, terrified and panicked. I feel strong and secure and wiser than I’ve ever felt. It’s amazing.

Of course, the pain I’m in started all of this….pushed the mental issues right out of my head. What my crazy brain was spinning just didn’t matter as much as the pain my body was in and it stayed that way…eventually, my brain sorted out the needless anxiety and sadness and has put it somewhere else. Somewhere it doesn’t bother me. I’m not sure that this isn’t some sort of denial or dissociation inside me, but if I can live anxiety and depression free? I’m totally in.

Wow. That was a mixed bag of random thoughts. I have so much going on inside me at once these days….

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About Grainne

My name is Grainne. This blog has been with me for years now and has served as a journal, a confessional, an outlet and a place for me to create and express my love of life. Thank you for stopping by and for becoming a part of this life long journey of mine. I appreciate every single one of you who takes the time to do so. :)

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