Trauma, Anxiety, and Insomnia: A Trifecta

I have been experiencing insomnia since I was a young girl. As a teenager it was a lot more prevalent, and over the years it has varied in severity. There are a variety of triggers and reasons and seasons, but insomnia is always here, waiting in the wings. 

Sometimes I would have very little sleep for weeks on end and from time to time, I would get a 2 week break, but not much more than that. Come to think of it, I generally do not ever get "good" sleep for much more than 2 weeks. Life happens and it happens to all of us. We experience things as we grow and go through this beautiful thing called life. These things affect us all in a multitude of ways. 

In my experience, sleep is the first to pack its bags and leave. This can be for the good and the bad. However, it would seem that it is specifically when trauma comes knocking at my door.

Managing my traumas

Trauma seems to have my home address and will find me when I am not home too. It would seem that part of my journey in this world is to face and overcome trauma. It is something that I have come across all too often in my life and I have no doubt that this will continue on spurts.

I believe that we all experience and define trauma differently, we receive experiences through our own lenses and experience. Trauma comes in all shapes and forms it varies in severity for each of us. What stays the same, in my opinion, is how very stressful and distressing it can be.

Repetitive nightmares linked to trauma

My mind uses dreams and nightmares to process the things I experience in life - the good, the bad, and the confusing.

I also commit to therapy and do a lot of work on myself to help me process and work through things. Oh, the joys of being a self-aware person. This being said when severely traumatic experiences happen to me, this comes hand-in-hand with very severe nightmares. For me, it can be equal to reliving the experience over and over again and this has its own ripple effect.

This or That

Have you ever seen a therapist?

Nightmares are physically and mentally exhausting. It triggers my insomnia to a maximum, and can see myself getting very little sleep. In my personal experience, when these nightmares are prevalent, I wake up in cold sweats crying.

I am reliving the traumatic experience over and over for nights on end.

The anxiety-insomnia-trauma loop

In my day-to-day life, I have been able to move past sleep anxiety, that feeling of knowing that I am not going to sleep so I wind myself up so much that I actually make my insomnia worse.

For the most part I have this under control apart from the rare relapse of this. However, as you can imagine when trauma comes knocking, this goes right out the window with immediate effect.

The nightmares are terrifying and I know that they are coming. Despite the therapy that I have attended and continue to go to, this is something I have yet to gain control over.

Anxiety, trauma, and insomnia play together

When I am going through something traumatic, my sleep anxiety spikes and this in turn means that I get very little sleep and it can take me hours to drift off to sleep, despite my best efforts.

I think it is very important to seek help when you are struggling and going through any traumatic experience. Dealing with these things correctly can be life-changing and help you get your sleep back sooner.

Be kind to yourself and even if your insomnia only flares when you are going through big events - it is still valid.

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