Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Note: Picture from Don Shetterly's, "A Journey Through Words" (used by permission)
For some time, I’ve been dealing with all kinds of physical realities at night. Almost every night when I go to bed, in spite of the room temperature being very cool, I experience an overall feeling of a very warm room. As I often say, the room feels like it is a thousand degrees even though it is not. This is something I have experienced on and off for many years and more off than on. It is a companion to me.
Most of the time, I can manage this and within a short time of going to bed, I can fall asleep with the temperature issues not affecting me to much as I go into the night. Usually by mid night time hours, I will feel somewhat cool as if the room temperature is normal. I’ve always just lived with this and sort of guessed that fear is at the cause of this condition for me.
Going to bed at night is never something I look forward to. It is a must do exercise that in order for me to function the next day, I need to get myself to sleep. Without a night light on in an adjacent room or some type of background noise like a fan, sleeping is almost out of the question. If there is any activity or noise around, there is no way I can sleep. At some points in my life, I have actually had to sleep with every light on in the house.
As I write this, I am so exhausted from lack of sleep over the past week or several days. I have lost count when the last time was that I got decent sleep. Lately, before going to bed, I have been getting dull headaches. And by the time I get ready to get in bed, I’m just wishing there was something else I could do besides subjecting myself to the activity of trying to sleep.
Sometimes I am fortunate enough to fall asleep and then an hour or two later, I am awakened with a startling force. Things such as body memories where I feel like something is being shoved up my anal region, or feeling like I am being pinned down or even feeling like I am being slapped around, hit me with full force. It feels as if there is something in the room attempting to haunt me or just watch my every move. I shake and tremble out of fear as I try to hide within my blankets. I’m on alert as I hear every sound or feel like I notice any movement even if there is nothing I can see with my eyes. I feel like prey being hunted and having to outsmart the predator at every turn. It is as if, one simple mistake would land me in a state of failure succumbing as prey to my predator. My predator is an imaginary creature but one that I seem to know very well.
Out of all of this, my eyes try to close but my mind and thoughts race as if there is no tomorrow. I’m not only constantly evaluating all that is going on around me, but I am working to solve every problem, situation or concern I am facing or may face. Even with breathing exercises or working with the enteric brain energy ball or listening to relaxing music, I am met with an incessant barrage of brain thoughts. I feel like I could compute more calculations than any computer are able to do and yet, my brain never seems to find the right solutions. It just keeps attempting to process the same information over and over as if it is stuck in a loop.
The latest in this round of wartime struggles has been the excessive sweating. From what I can read, night sweats are common in situations where stress is over the top. It can be a result of the nervous system being in a sympathetic state or a state of anxiety. The sweating may start as I go to bed or more commonly, it begins around an hour or two later. Generally, it is my low back and my groin area where it takes place. There have been times, when my bed sheets were soaked from sweat. Keep in mind the room temperature is not warm and even on the coldest of nights, I still go through this. The night sweating wakes me up with severe itching and if I try to ignore it, it attacks me with full strength until I can no longer stand it. I then end up getting into the shower and running water on my groin area with a shower massager in order to find a momentary level of comfort. Due to all of this, I have endured the moments when I begin to scratch myself and while it initially feels good and offers relief, it has become something that is now causing skin issues. Even if I could convince myself that scratching is not in my best interest, my body cries out for relief in any form that scratching becomes as normal as breathing.
The areas affected have changed as the days wear on. What first seemed to be the hot area has not changed and moved on for the most part. Although there are times when the scratching and itchy feeling revert back to where things were in previous days, generally it has moved on to other locations within my groin area. Sometimes in addition to the groin area, I feel an overall itching across my body like little electrical impulses that bounce from one area to the next.
Even though I drink plenty of water throughout my day, I have found myself extremely thirsty at nights when all of this happens. I don’t drink much caffeine at all but if I do, this situation is much worse. After two glasses of water tonight, I am still thirsty which is very strange and odd for me. It is not normal behavior that I experience.
The past few nights, the only thing I could do, in addition to getting in the shower, was to get out of bed and come downstairs. I have found a comforting place in our family room. It provides me some calmness and almost an escape from the predators of the night. The itching usually stops for the most part or reduces down to such a low level that I barely notice it. The sweating stop and I almost feel somewhat cool from the room temperature. If however, I decide to go back upstairs into the dark bedroom, the symptoms come back very quickly.
I feel like I’m at the end of my proverbial rope. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take because these symptoms are draining and exhausting. They have robbed me of precious hours of sleep while leaving me to feel as if I am a zombie. I fear there is some medical condition that gives rise to my early death but that too is fear and anxiety more so than anything founded in reality. Reality is difficult to understand these days because there does not seem to be any relevant reason for the progression of these things to take place. I feel as if my mind is losing the last remnants of sanity or enjoying playing one of the all time greatest tricks on me. I feel as if there is no end in sight, only the torment I feel each and every night. I try to tell myself that this too shall pass and things will get better but the skepticism at hearing this grows exponentially.
Yet, I know that body memories, nightmares and all types of unexplained events have plagued my life in one form or another. They seem more abundant than anything I know. While I know these rough periods of life have moved on and I’ve experienced profound moments of healing, going through these things are beyond the concept of difficult. I know that many of these things are part of a nervous system dysregulation, yet my mind fails to convince my body of that as it is experiencing all of these things. So I am faced once again, with a night of torment, a lack of sleep and unexplainable events. I long for true relief but I long for just a moment of comfort, peace and just some plain sleep.