Saturday, July 22, 2023

CPTSD nightmares, sleep apnea, sleep problems and depression: deadly combination

 Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds. I'm coming to you today, not with weight loss success stories but in failure. Failure to figure out how to get a good night's rest  and recover from (or just live with) CPTSD, chronic nightmares, sleep apnea and other sleep problems. And I'm looking for ideas. 

So first, what's CPTSD (also written c-PTSD). It's Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In my case, much of it isn't even post, it's just traumatic stress disorder. Ergo the CPTSD. I've experienced many bizarre and unusual traumas throughout life, particularly in the years from 5-23. These come back to haunt me in constant (all night long, nightly) nightmares and traumatized sleep. I can't seem to get into deep delta sleep and skim the waves on REM and shallower sleep. I'm exhausted all the time. 

I've been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and used a breathing machine (CPAP) for about 8 years. Then I lost weight and the mask no longer fit. Additionally, chronic sinus problems made it impossible to breathe in a CPAP mask. I would have had to get a new expensive CPAP machine and  it didn't seem to be a good solution given I couldn't breathe properly in the CPAP mask. 

So now I try to get by on melatonin, Bach's Flower Essences and Hyland's homeopathic treatments. These help a bit with sleep but I'm still awake 1 to 2 nights a week (actually days because husband works 12-hour nights 5p to 5a, two on, two off. I try to keep up with his schedule when he works. So we're both suffering with Shift Work Disorder of different sorts. 

And nothing has helped the nightmare dreams. They've gotten more intense, crazy, chaotic and disturbing. I frequently dream that I've done some unspeakable thing that everyone is upset with me over. It is never my now family and always my family of origin (both parents remarried with children, two step-parents). I was parentified and made to do the majority of housework, basically a live-in nanny or au pair. 

I never had my own room, bed or even pillow, just whatever anyone had cast off. I was made to sleep with infants and toddlers (including 4 foster children) at both houses. The short periods I did have a room were temporary. I was routinely moved to other rooms to sleep with young children and my room was given to unmarried couples to sleep in (in the early 1970s that was NOT common at all). This happened repeatedly. And I just realized that I wasn't made to share my room with the infant, I was made to sleep in the infants room. It makes a difference. 

There's a lot more to this story and I plan to keep writing my way through it. If anything suggests itself for a sleep aid, please share. Thanks for reading. Love mar. 

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