By: Dani Kessel
[Trigger warning: This post discusses anxiety, PTSD, COVID-19, trauma, and flashbacks]
This is going to be a short post today.
I haven’t been sleeping.
My anxiety and PTSD have been so agitated that my meds aren’t even completely fixing it. At the moment, I’m on about 3 hours of sleep. I tried to lay down and take a nap earlier. My brain was a vortex of negative, racing thoughts though. On top of this, yesterday, I had a nearly two-hour-long dissociative episode. My friend had to talk me through it over the phone. The night before that, I couldn’t sleep either. I was on about 4 hours of sleep. Even this past weekend, I literally was so tired that my body crashed. I didn’t remember going to sleep. I didn’t remember waking up. My cognitive functioning is not up to par.
Sometimes, you really just aren’t doing okay.
My mental state has gotten so bad at the moment that I had to log off of Facebook and limit my social media intake. Continually seeing posts about quarantine and kids being off school was bringing back traumatic memories. I was experiencing emotional flashbacks to feeling scared, trapped, powerless, and a bunch of other things like that. My fight-flight-freeze-fawn response has gone haywire, and I’m constantly doing grounding exercises just to keep me from falling apart.
My online support group reminded me that this is a fairly normal response for trauma survivors. A member sent me this article which explains it better than I ever could:
It helped me to not feel so alone.
I am going to take the rest of the day to do self-care like take a bath and eat food of some sort. I need that for myself. But, if you are also struggling during this time, know that you aren’t alone either. It is hard to be isolated and feel confined as a trauma survivor. It can bring up a lot of things you’d rather forget. You aren’t stuck in the past though. And there are lots of online resources/phone hotlines you can reach out to for help.
We’re all just trying to make it through the day.
We will get through this.
Next day update:
I’ve now officially been awake for 24 hours. 3 hours of sleep in almost 48 hours is not good. My brain won’t shut off. I keep getting flashbacks and anxiety attacks. My Ativan is helping calm things some though. I’m at least more mentally stable. Hopefully, I will be able to nap today. I think sleep might help decrease the symptoms of my mental illnesses.