Sunday, November 17, 2013


It’s raining this morning. Gabriel had to work at eight and I woke up with his alarm. I watched him get ready for the day—working a sweater over a button down shirt, pulling on a pair of my socks. I love him. The sky was a white grey then, but now it’s a grimmer pale grey, as if it knows what has to be done but isn’t happy about it. It was raining when I left the hospital on July eighth.
Last night was a bad night for sleep. I had nightmares again. I’ve had several recently: dreams about a having the baby in a Walmart hospital with no privacy, laboring in an insane asylum or giving birth to a headless baby—horrible dreams like that. I have four more months of pregnancy and I’ve been having these nightmares for weeks. It’s often hard to pinpoint the true cause of my symptoms. Is it because I’m pregnant? Plenty of pregnant women suffer from insomnia and nightmares. Is it because of the PTSD? Nearly everyone with PTSD has a hard time with sleep and most of them have nightmares. Or maybe it was just the terrible cold that has settled nicely into my head and shoulders. I think last night was more PTSD related though.
After a fun evening of pizza in bed, looking at baby pictures and watching our favorite shows Gabriel and I went downstairs to get some water before bed. We ended up sitting at the kitchen table, sipping water and reading. More like, attempting to read. I couldn’t shut up. I kept turning to Gabriel to tell him about a show I watched recently, or a fact about breastfeeding I heard, or a new birth fear I have. The silence was killing me. I didn’t notice, but Gabriel did. I was yawning and sniffling, but my mind was manically racing about. 
Gabriel took me upstairs. We settled into bed but my mouth and mind kept running off without me. Finally Gabriel began stroking my hair and calmly said, “Okay Emily, I want you to try to soothe yourself. We can still talk but let’s try to be calmer and prepare ourselves for sleep.”
I didn’t realize until that moment that my mind had been in hyperactive gear. What often impedes the sleep of people with PTSD is the hyperactivity of their mind. It hasn’t affected only my sleep though. Hyperactivity has made relaxing in public impossible, so forget a chill Starbucks chat with me. I’m a nut job in places like that. I sit with my back to a wall, count the number of people in the room, notice their every movement. Little warning sirens go off in my head if anyone moves into a five foot radius around me. Hyperactivity has stolen reading from me. It was one of my dearest pleasures and now reading a page and actually retaining the information is too much to ask for. 
I can often tell what triggers hyperactivity or dissociation (another security system of my brain). For me sirens, darkness, loud noises, being touch a certain way, certain words, being alone, laying on my back are just a few of my triggers. But last night seemed good! Gabriel came home early from work, I cleaned our room, we made love and ate pizza—what more could I want? But something snapped and my brain was in high gear, making sleep a distant dream for the time being. 
Gabriel is such a sweet man. He really deserves a prize for how well he takes care of me—especially in odd moments like last night when I don’t even recognize that I’m freaking out. He stroked my arm and held me against his chest, letting me say what I needed to say. He slowed me down, telling me, “You’re safe. You’re with me.” Over and over again. I cried a little. He held me. And eventually we fell asleep.


  1. I've learned on my journey with PTSD that all of these things are normal and our bodies and minds way of protecting ourselves...except they are in over drive and don't stop even the stress event is over. I very likely had PTSD after my rape but because I kept mine secret and didn't get help I never knew what was wrong with me and is very likely why I turned to alcohol and drugs at a young age. Fast forward to 10 years ago, I was violently attacked by a client at a group home that I worked at and I experienced all these things you write about and then the doctor told me I had PTSD. I had no clue what this monster was that had invaded my day's and my dreams at night. I honestly thought I was going crazy. I suffer a neck and skull injury because of that attack which gives me pain 24/7 but I will tell you the PTSD is the hardest out of all of it to deal with. Because it's harder to see and explain to others and so many don't understand PTSD and don't realize it's not something you can just shut off or control.. When my pain is high my ptsd symptoms flair up. Certain smells, certain places or situations, a movie..ect.. can set it off but thankfully I've learned tools just as you will over time, that will help you get through and self soothe. It does get easier. So thankful you have Gariel. Sending much love and prayers from Minnesota.

  2. I'm a friend of the myrin family and have been enjoying ur blog. I hope u will look into this peaceful parenting website with all sort of gentle pregnancy and parenting ideas. I think you'll like it. :)
    U can equip and empower yourself to give birth without fear. I realize that wasn't the entire point of the both, its just what I picked out as a mother. Also pregnant with my second and relearning what it means to give birth fearlessly. I hope you will consider hiring a douglas to advocate for your rights and desires during labour.

    1. Post* not both
      Doula * not douglas

      Lol oh my goodness