PTSD AND SLEEP

PTSD and sleep

One thing that seems to be part of the physical elements of PTSD is sleep disorder.  This sleep disorder can come in various forms.  Nightmares and night terrors are one form the sleep disorder.  These also makes it where the individual does not even want to attempt to go to sleep because of the fear of what is going to be experienced.  Another form of sleep disorder is the ‘cat nap’.  It is not as important as to how much a person might accumulatively sleep through the night but how much a person is able to sleep at one time.  It is common for a person living with PTSD to get one to two hours of sleep at a time.  But the need for sleep especially for those living with PTSD cannot be overstated.  We are talking restful sleep and not the sullen state that is often associated with depression.

Many things happen within the body during deep sleep.  Not being a physician I cannot go into all the details and I personally doubt that anyone is fully able to understand all that goes on in the mind, brain and body during deep sleep.  This is where medication is essential.  Whatever it takes in order to be able to get 5-8 hours of sleep is important even if it means using medication.  Without sleep the nerves begin to basically unravel.  Lack of sleep only goes to inflame the already heightened sense of hyper alertness.  Anger becomes more volatile.  Lack of sleep usually does not do well for decision making.  Interpersonal relationships tend to take the brunt of a lack of sleep.  Health deteriorates with the lack of sleep since sleep is critical in allowing the body to rebuild and fight infection.

The person living with PTSD did not willfully do anything to develop PTSD.  It is not their fault.  PTSD is a normal response within the body to abnormal situations.  But just like a person living with diabetes must follow instructions regarding their diabetes so must the person living with PTSD.  PTSD is not an excuse for bad behavior.  Knowing that I live with PTSD means that I must be responsible for my actions, my behaviors and how I deal with things in my life.  At times sleep eludes me.  That is when I must make sure I have taken my night time medications.  I know that I cannot be clear headed without sleep.  If I become irritable due to the lack of sleep that is my problem and my responsibility to correct.  No one and no thing is to be blamed for anything that might ‘make’ me angry.  That is up to me.  I am so tired of hearing people use PTSD as an excuse.  If a person needs medications to help with the effects of PTSD then it is required of them to do what is needed for them to do with their situation.  A person living with diabetes may not like taking medications but they really have no choice.  Neither does the person living with PTSD.  There are some things beyond my control but I am still responsible as to how I react to them.

It is proven that uncontrolled and unregulated PTSD can and will destroy your life.  Relationships, health matters, and even finances will take the negative brunt of this condition.  It is totally unnecessary for PTSD to destroy my life.  If I am tired, take a nap or at least take my meds.  If I am irritable then maybe I need to rest or get away from a stressful situation.  I must make sure that I eat when I am hungry.  I know there are times when I must turn the news off.  I know that there are times that I do not need to enter into particular conversations.  There are some movies I do not need to watch.  There are certain social situations that involve crowds that I personally do not need to attend.  I know I must force myself at times to open the window shades.  There are some places on the internet that I really do not need to go.  I am in charge of my life.  Just because I have PTSD does not mean that I am out of control and floundering.  I am still responsible for my life and my actions.  I can live with PTSD.  YOU CAN LIVE WITH PTSD.

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