One of the things no one tells you about PTSD is that it can wreck your sleep forever. Someone can attack you and convince your body for years that you might be attacked at any moment. That doesn’t do wonders for sleep.
After my attack, I didn’t sleep at all in the hours before I was attacked. I could only fall asleep after attack time, and it didn’t matter if I left my house, or even left the state. And you might be thinking, well, she did fall asleep eventually.
And, yes, I did. But I didn’t stay that way. I never slept more than five hours. And I was up, panicked, and alone while the world slept.
I’ve lived without sleep with newborn babies and in graduate school, trading caffeine for lost hours. But the truth is–nothing is better for your next day than rest.
I was more on edge and irritable without sleep I needed, and I was already both of those things from panic. Caffeine doesn’t really help anxiety levels either. I started taking over the counter sleeping pills, and they made my life more bearable within a few days. I was able to focus again.
In the long term, I would like to get a sleep study and see what’s actually going on with my body and what the best fix is. I’m not loving the OTC band-aid. But it’s getting me and my family through the day and to our goals, which was something we struggled with when I didn’t sleep.
If you can’t sleep after an attack, don’t take that as a new fact of life. It’s probably affecting your quality of life more than you realize. And it can be tough to figure out which symptoms are anxiety and which are lack of sleep until you start getting rest again.