I am the human being I am, having this experience right here. There are no promises, few ‘right answers’, and the ‘limited life-time guarantee’ is merely that my lifetime will be limited. I enjoyed a lovely quiet weekend, and crashed out at a comfortably typical time, neither late nor early. I woke some 90 or so minutes later, awakened by my own alarmed vocalization, and weeping; I had taken a detour through The Nightmare City. It happens. I once (as in, ongoing, for many years verging on ‘always’) had grimly persistent disordered sleep (nightmares, night terrors, occasional sleep paralysis, some sleep walking, insomnia…), and improvements over time don’t assure me of continued easy sleep ongoing ‘forever’. I’m still very human. I still deal with PTSD. I still have this brain injury. So… sometimes nightmares happen.

How will I "find my way home"? "Daytime in The Nightmare City" 10" x 14" acrylic on canvas with glow, glitter and micaceous oxide. Indoor light, charged. 2014

How will I “find my way home”?
“Daytime in The Nightmare City” 10″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas with glow, glitter and micaceous oxide. Indoor light, charged. 2014

I woke and began the steps and practices to calm myself, addressing the latent hysteria first, moving on to relaxing such that my heart rate would normalize, and the weeping would stop. I did things children do; I got a big drink of water, and walked through the apartment turning lights on and seeing how normal everything is. I did things adults do, too; I took time to reach out to my traveling partner to share a key feeling of insecurity, to seek reassurance and let that feeling of fear and doubt go. I kept it simple and made a point of avoiding grim details that might put me at risk of writing in a very emotive way – which would tend to ‘spread the poison around’ and also stoke my own emotional volatility afresh. I meditated for a few minutes until my heart felt lighter. All that was left was to get past the aversion to returning to sleep – and this is where The Nightmare City has it’s greatest power over me. If I am unable to sleep, I am increasingly likely over time to have more nightmares, lose more sleep, and slowly spiral downward into disorder.

After pleasantly distracting myself with some relatively studious content from favorite YouTube channels (in this case Veritasium and Kurzgesagt-In a Nutshell) while administering an appropriate amount of medical cannabis to keep my symptoms from flaring up again, I returned to sleep. I woke comfortably to the morning alarm, although it took me some time to become fully aware of the meaning of the insistent beeping. The sleep I got was restful, and I feel pretty good. I know to be mindful that I didn’t get as many hours as I likely need to be at my best – by the end of the day that may be more apparent; I check my calendar to ensure I am not over-committed later in the day.

I’m not alone with this stuff (ha! …Neither are you. 😉 ). I have learned better practices for managing it when my PTSD flares up, or my injury is aggravated (and aggravating me in return). There are still verbs involved. My results still vary. There’s no particular reason for distress over that – or futility; it is a very human thing. I just begin again. 🙂

Like moments, the cup of coffee that matters most is the one in front of me now. :-)

Like moments, the cup of coffee that matters most is the one in front of me now. 🙂

This morning that beginning began with the return email from my traveling partner, sent during the wee hours, reminding me that I am loved. It’s enough – and I start the day well.