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“To Sleep Therefore To Dream”

August 11, 2011

Ah sleep…the great rejuvenator.  There is nothing better than to have your own bed to lie in and snuggle down into after a long hard day.  There is a feeling of safety that you can’t find anywhere else.  As the Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” 

But what if you sleep fitfully, tossing and turning?  Things on your mind that you are trying to sort out.  What if your once peaceful dreams become PTSD nightmares and you relive terrible events over and over?  Then what?  Even someone who does not have PTSD could spend their next day irritable and cranky, longing for a “good nights sleep” to catch up.

The PTSD sufferer can have this restless sleep, night after night after night.  It can almost become a deterrant to closing ones eyes because these images will not go away.  Often times this sleeplessness is the precursor to PTSD alcohol and substance abuse because passing out is preferable to simply going to sleep. 

Most experts will say that alcohol and drugs disturb the sleep cycle rhythms and therefore they do not translate into a good night sleep and it has been shown that an absence of sleep can cause insanity.  We have recently debated whether sleep deprivation is classified as torture or simply enhanced interrogations.  What if the the sleep deprivation is self imposed ?  Is this yet another torture that the PTSD sufferer must endure?

Henry David Thoreau once said, “I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.”  I am sort of recommending the same self-directed therapy for the PTSD sufferer.  When you cannot sleep, rather than looking for artificial substances as an assist, get up,  start your computer and find us the Military PTSD Forum.  Transcribe your feelings and images to the screen by doing a post about your PTSD experiences.  Type as little or as much as you choose.  There is no right or wrong thing to say but you will find your voice soon.  If you feel you need to return again another day, our site is always open to you.  You can come as often as your wish and type whatever you choose.

By you taking the first step you will empower not only yourself but others with PTSD  as well.  You are not alone in your struggle and things can get better, but it is on your shoulders and, I guess, your fingers to start the process.