I’d been sleeping ok but to be honest I need more than just ok for my sleep.  Sleep impacts how my body functions and is a major factor in my ability to regulate my autonomic nervous system. If I don’t regulate my ANS it will decide for me what I need and for most of my life it has decided I needed to live in fear.

So why wasn’t I sleeping now? And how long had this been going on?  Hmmm, Christmas maybe, or before? 

I know exactly why.

My daughter has been delaying going to bed for some time and so then I’ve been going to bed late, I know 930 is my optimum upstairs to bed time and its been more like 1115.

I’ve started scrolling my phone until bedtime rather than leaving it in the kitchen from 9 which is what I used to do.

I’ve been eating a little bit of dark chocolate before bed, oh ok, not a little bit – a small bar but it used to be half a bar as I used to share it with David. Now I guard it like Bilbo baggins from Lord of the Ring “my precious”.

I’ve been eating later and having pasta or potato on a regular basis when I used to eat very little carbs.

I’ve been skipping meals as I’m not prioritising my nutrition and food choices and not shopping as effectively.

I’ve not been exercising 3 times a week, through lockdown it was a pillar of my life, Tuesday Thursday Saturday 12pm 30 minute hit session, tai chi every morning and a 5k run each week.  I’ve gone back to exercising only when I feel I really need to.

Part of the joy of healing from Narcissistic trauma is the ability to look at yourself  and reflect with kindness and compassion, coming from your true self.  No judgement, no blame, no guilt and no shame, looking at yourself through a trauma informed lens.

Looking at my sleep problem through a trauma informed lens I can see that all of the above are actually symptoms of my ANS being back living in fear.

I was feeling really sad about what my daughter had experienced at her previous school, and I had been feeling this deep sadness for probably 6 months.  I felt powerless about not being able to protect her from what had happened to her and how I too had invalidated her just like everyone else did which has resulted in her now experiencing Narcissistic Trauma and she is only 9.  

I had subconsciously allowed this feeling of sadness and powerlessness (is that a word)  to manifest itself and as a result my ANS was back living in a dysregulated state and my previous habits that had been so helpful and successful were being sabotaged.

So when this realisation hit me, that it was this deep sadness that was leading to poor sleep, and that I had become stuck in the sadness, I was able to connect and release the feeling and I sobbed.  I had been coping and working so hard to support Megan and to protect her and prepare her for the future that I hadn’t processed how I felt about what had happened. As a result I hadn’t allowed myself to see that she is ok, that she is thriving.  I have helped her understand what happened to her, I have taught her about self regulation, how trauma affects the body and how other peoples behaviours are about them and not us and that what she went through happened to her and not because of her. It wasn’t her fault.  As a family we have repaired the rupture and we are moving forwards.

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