Sleep has never come easy to me. Not ever. I have always done what I could to avoid sleeping, for as long as I could. I would come up with all kinds of ways to stay awake. I would play games or read or well anything to keep me awake for as long as I could.
I have never found any peace in sleeping. Nightmares have filled my nights for as long as I can remember. As a kid my lack of sleep was quickly becoming a problem and so sleeping medication became the solution. As a young kid not taking it wasn’t an option. It was a liquid medication and my mother made sure I took it every time. Although there were times that she didn’t make me take it, nights she would just let me go.
As I got older and the medication stopped I got good at pretending to sleep. I went back to avoiding sleep for as long as I could mostly out of fear. I hated the thought of what could happen to and around me as I slept but most of all I hated waking up terrified and not always being able to recall why.
Sometime the nightmares were so real I could recall them step by step. I could repeat the nightmare over and over for hours after I had woken up. Other times I would wake up in a cold sweat ready to cry and couldn’t begin to tell anyone why.
Night terrors tend to happen when your young, mine started in lock up. I was 17 and the doctors put me on some pretty heavy sleeping pills that were supposed to stop me from dreaming or at least minimize the dreaming. Needless to say they didn’t work and I quickly began cheeking my medication so I wouldn’t fall asleep.
I made nice with a lot of the night staff so that I didn’t get in as much trouble for being up past lights out. I would lie and say I took my medication but still wasn’t sleepy. I always made sure to flush them before bed so I never got caught with them. Sometimes some of them would even let me keep a little light on so I could read more comfortably as long as I remembered to have it off and “be asleep” by the time day staff arrived.
A lot of people I know have a hard time understanding why I put so much effort into avoiding something so natural. For most people sleep is a beautiful thing that relaxes both their bodies and minds.
For me sleep is physical and emotional torment. It causes a level of fear and anxiety that I can’t put into rational words. The thought of laying down causes my heart to race and my body to get tense. The actual act of laying down in bed gives me instant anxiety. My chest starts to hurt and my hands get sweaty and my breathing gets difficult. Sleep is not my friend nor has it ever come easy.
“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” ― Bram Stoker