I was awake again at 3.15 AM. I wake up from vivid dreams, but I don’t always remember them. So sometimes I don’t even know why I wake up feeling fearful, angry or anxious. Last night I did not wake up in a cold sweat this time, I just felt unsettled and anxious. It takes a long time to shift that feeling, breathing exercises only get you so far. Sometimes I decide to just get up and camp out on the sofa. The TV can distract me while I wait for exhaustion to get me back to sleep.
I tell you, there is a reason why 3.15 AM is always the time bad stuff happens in horror movies.
This is PTSD. Well, it is one way in which it manifests.
PTSD is what takes me back to the abuse, even years after leaving. It is the involuntary physical responses to receiving bills or bank statements. It is the crushing feeling of defeat when something trivial goes wrong. It is the mountain of guilt for dishes undone or laundry unironed. It is the vivid dreams that take hours and sometimes days to shake. It is the jump or panic when I see a woman with short grey hair and glasses or a man with a hat on a mobility scooter.
So many people only associate PTSD with combat soldiers, and those who have dealt with domestic violence know what it is like to fight a constant war at home. PTSD is a response to trauma, just as bleeding is a response to cutting your finger. Unfortunately, no bandage is big enough to cover up PTSD, and healing is an intense and long process. Unfortunately some of it takes place at 3.15 in the morning…
Want to find out more about PTSD in the aftermath of emotional abuse? Check out these resources:
How Your Adverse Childhood Experiences Craft Your Adult Health and Relationships
In this podcast Aubrey Cole is joined by Andrew Willis and Barry Goldstein of the Stop Abuse Campaign. In this discussion we make the connection between our adverse childhood experiences and adult physical and emotional health. Listen here >>
An Introduction to PTSD and Toxic Relationships
A little while ago we announced in our blog an upcoming podcast about PTSD, and here it is.
In this PTSD podcast Aubrey and Monkey talk about everything from what it is, to how it can manifest. Listen here>>