“Trauma is so arresting that traumatized people will focus on it compulsively”, Peter Levine
There are so many various kinds of sleep disturbances that it becomes somewhat of a check list to differentiate between them all. Some of us suffer from everyone of them. I began having night terrors when I first started school,age 5, and the nuns told us stories of being responsible for killing Christ because we were born with original sin on our souls. Of course this frightened us and made the entire class cry. We were warned about sin and hell from the first day. I would hyperventilate at night and lose my breath. I was afraid to go to sleep. This was a serious trauma in my childhood. I began sleep walking. It was the time of the polio scare and this was added to the fears. World War ll had not yet ended the year I began school in Montreal and we were afraid our fathers would be sent away and be killed. There was much to be anxious about. My parents were extremely fearful people; my father has recently been diagnosed as a ‘borderline personality disorder’ which added to my lifelong anxiety. And so began my lifetime of night terrors and nightmares. The trauma of my adult life is too lengthy to document here (nor is it necessary) but most of us have experienced traumas of one sort or another, whether major or minor. The women in my book tell stories about their own sleep disturbances based upon their life experiences, so I am not unique in this regard.
“Once it is understood that sufferings cannot be compared, then it is possible to speak of different sufferings in the same story, because there is no comparison”, Arthur W. Frank
Here it is… one awful day, living with the winds and rains of Hurricane Hanna and my brain tells my body something unusual is happening. The neurotransmitters are in overdrive. The itching has returned; it is everywhere on my body and nothing relieves it…not the Epsom Salts baths nor the Aveeno Anti-Itch lotion. I can’t get comfortable and my nerve endings are on fire. Only by constant massaging of my body parts do I get some degree of relief. When the hurricane passes us by I know the itching will subside until the next stressful event or a dramatic weather change.