Fight or Flight as a Way of Life

I’ve never bothered to get it diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had insomnia for my entire life. It usually takes me an hour or more to fall asleep. It’s been such a persistent issue that I go to great lengths to manage it. My room is dark and cool at night, I wear earplugs, I dim the lights an hour before bed, I try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, I try and fail to not use technology in the hour before bed, I do some stretching and light exercise before bed… And it sorta helps.

Anyway, I learned recently that having many sleepless nights can lead to anxiety relating to sleep (no surprise there). The body can then actually go into fight or flight as the person is trying to fall asleep. That anxiety affects the quality of sleep throughout the night. The person wakes up stressed and still tired. Continue reading Fight or Flight as a Way of Life

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“You’re Always So Calm”

In less than two months, I’ll get to add a bunch of fancy letter after my name. It’s so crazy that I’m finally nearing the end of my program and will get to have my dream job soon. Since my program is winding down, I did my capstone presentation last week. I just presented on my toughest patient — what happened and what I learned.

Back when I was studying biology, we did a lot of presentations as part of the program. For all of my life I had been a bit nervous when public speaking, but having to present almost every week helped me get very comfortable with it as long as I know what I’m talking about. As a result, during the capstone presentation, I was pretty calm. I was just excited to share my story with my class.

After the presentation, I was talking with my teacher and the guest speaker from the previous class that day. They both liked my presentation, and my teacher said “You’re always so calm.”

That honestly cracked me up. Continue reading “You’re Always So Calm”

Luck or Skill?

In regards to being a sexual assault survivor… this last year has been super easy compared to my usual. And honestly, I’m not entirely sure why. This last year has not been marked by many outstanding events, but that’s what makes it so remarkable. Continue reading Luck or Skill?

Acceptance of My PTSD Symptoms

Last night I had a mild nightmare about running into a few of the people who have sexually assaulted me. It only bothered me a little bit and didn’t seem to affect my day very much.

And that made me realize that I’m really starting to accept my PTSD symptoms. I view them much like the traffic: an unavoidable inconvenience that I have to accept every now and then.

I used to dearly miss being mentally healthy, but thankfully I haven’t had useless thoughts like that in a long time.

In the last year I don’t think I’ve had more than three difficult episodes of PTSD symptoms. It’s possible that I’m finding this easier to accept now that I’m not getting constantly harassed by symptoms. Whatever the case, I’m just glad that I seem to have accepted my new reality. Wishful thinking will do nothing but make me miserable.

The Family Tradition of Domestic Abuse Ends Here

Let’s take a break from my usual topic of sexual assault to discuss something else that affects my life quite a bit: domestic abuse. Long story short, I witnessed verbal abuse, and occasionally physical abuse, directed at my mom until she left my dad when I was 17. I heard that my dad’s dad was verbally abusive toward my grandma, and rumor has it that my grandpa’s parents were also in an abusive relationship. I even see the signs in my uncles. So I guess you could say this runs in the family.

But I’m going to break the chain. Continue reading The Family Tradition of Domestic Abuse Ends Here

“That’s Just My Life”

Time for a brief life update. As I’ve mentioned previously, the second half of this year my subthreshold PTSD hasn’t been giving me a hard time. In addition, the “Me too” movement doesn’t seem to be negatively affecting my mental health much and nothing has really changed since I “came out” as a survivor on Facebook — which is a good thing. I wanted to just acknowledge it and move on. Continue reading “That’s Just My Life”

A Cathartic Nightmare

Life is stressful at the moment. I’m in the hardest semester of my program, and nothing is spaced out. Either I have one assignment in a week, or I have three exams and a paper due. There’s no in-between. This last week was one of the tough ones, and I was really feeling the strain despite starting to study for my exams two weeks in advance. My PTSD started making a bit of a comeback after its six month hiatus… and I got sick. Luckily, I made it through all of my exams just fine.

I think the combination of PTSD and my fever led to the… interesting dreams I had. The first fever dream was wonderful. I was in a room full of friendly kittens and had them all to myself.

The second dream, meanwhile, started off as a nightmare and ended with me being triumphant.  Continue reading A Cathartic Nightmare