Troubled Sleep

Friday night I had to do a sleep study. My Nurse Practitioner is trying to assist me in getting rid of my extreme exhaustion and weight gain from peri-menopause, so she ordered that testing. I am not sleeping well, but they want to make sure that my sleep is not “obstructed.” I know EXACTLY what is obstructing my sleep: my mind.

I’ve snored for years, this much I know. The nightmarish abuse is what keeps me from sleeping soundly. Essentially, I was tortured by one of the devil’s minions. It causes me to moan, to kick, to cry, and to flip and flop. My subconscious is battling with the fact that I know I am now safe and have been for four years. However, I experienced things in my past that STILL, to this day, give me nightmares and cause me to wake up in a sweat.

I know that sleep has a lot to do with a person’s energy, metabolism, alertness, motivation, headaches, depression/anxiety and overall well-being. It is hard to function as a job-holding adult, with little restful sleep. If someone is sleeping 6 hours, that’s good, but if it’s constantly interrupted, that is almost as bad as staying awake for hours on end. I my body feels as though it did when I was in active abuse, when he would sleep deprive me to control me like a sheep. I wanted to counting sheep, not being treated like one…

If you’ve never done one of these wonderous tests, they basically wire you into bed and watch you sleep, monitoring brain activity, heart activity, oxygen levels, breathing, and body movements during the night. There are probes pasted all the way around your head, by your eyes, on your chin, one on your throat, leads on your chest, and on both of your legs. There were only a few times that I almost panicked. First when the sleep technician had her hands on my neck, and next when she strapped the monitor straps around my chest (above my breasts). Anything that makes me relive my trauma causes that reaction. I was strangled a few times during my active abuse, but the feeling that my breathing was going to be constricted by the straps stirred me too. I was able to breathe deeply and avoid an all-out panic attack, thankfully.

Overall, it wasn’t an unpleasant experience — it’s just that my past trauma made it an awkward one, is all. Before I was hooked up, the admitting technician did ask me questions that I found encouraging. After standard personal statistical questions, she did ask: “Do you feel safe in your own home?” and “has anyone withheld access to your money or denied you food, medical care, or shelter in the last year?” This makes me glad that medical professionals and health care agencies are taking notice of imminent violence and practicing “trauma informed care.” While I did answer the questions in the negative, I did tell her that I was in past long-term abuse and that some interactions can sometimes trigger me. However, the admitting technician was not the sleep tech that wired me up. I should have communicated that to the other one, but didn’t. Always, ALWAYS communicate it to any medical professional! It is in my chart, but one technician did not communicate it to the other. That is my fault entirely, as I am responsible for making that known.

I’m glad that is over and done with, but again the testing wasn’t terrible wasn’t terrible. I got breakfast and coffee afterward. I was just never so glad to be home…where I can snore and flip/flop in peace, regardless of my demons…

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