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June 25, 2019 10:04 pm  #1


Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

Everyone...

What are strategies you use, or that you have used at different stages, to get through the nights? To get some sleep?

In another thread, new forum member De_Profundis commented on how hard it is to get through the nights.  I was going to comment on that there, but thought it deserved its own topic.

I am a year post discovery, and I would still welcome any good ideas!

 

June 25, 2019 10:32 pm  #2


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

Here are things I have done to get through the nights and get a little sleep, and also to compensate for lack of sleep during the day:

—I went to my doctor and asked for a sleeping med.  I did this maybe 6 weeks after discovery..  This has been the most helpful thing of all for sleep, and I wish I had asked sooner.  I use Lunesta. It has a “clean effect” for me. I experimented with different doses and actually found that the lower dose helped me sleep longer,

—I have some guided imagery recordings that I listen to, and sometimes just put headphones on and listen to these all night long.  I listen to Belleruth Naparstek, who is on the HealthJourneys label. I love her work, and she has many topics to choose from. Years ago when I had a hysterectomy, I found her work and I went from being very  afraid to looking forward to the surgery.  Since then I have listened to many of her albums, and they have nourished me so deeply.  They have been an especially big help as I have worked through the upheaval of TGT.  (And they also help me sleep and calm down!). She is on Apple Music if you have a subscription.

—Although I did not do this specifically for better sleep, about two months ago I asked my husband to start sleeping in a different bedroom at night.  This has been such a huge relief to me! I still take the Lunesta, but I also sleep so much better and feel so much more at peace as I go to sleep and as I wake up. 

—Not for better sleep, but to compensate for lack of sleep—because even with the sleeping med, sometimes I am tormented at night, or only get 4 hours: I also asked my doctor for help with attention and wakefulness during the day.  So I am taking an ADD med and regulated caffeine pills with doctor supervision. For the caffeine, I experimented with different amounts at different times and use them like a prescription—half a tablet at breakfast, and half a tablet around 1:30.

—as a side note, I recently asked my doctor about something for anxiety/depression too, because my sadness gets in the way of my work. I do a lot of PTSD circular thinking, reliving memories. A lot of anxiety meds interact badly with the ADD med, but my doctor and I decided to try a higher dose of the ADD med.  he said this is actually a common-ish practice for depression.  It has actually helped my depression and anxiety without having to add yet another med into the cocktail.

I have never been a pill person.  This is just troubling to me to be on so many meds, just to function, but it is also a symbol of how stressful the situation is.  And if ever there was a time for help, now is it,

Overall, I know I need to work on better sleep hygiene in general. My evening routine—like all my routines—are just generally shot.

I hope this is helpful!

Last edited by OnMyOwnTwoFeet (June 25, 2019 10:42 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

June 25, 2019 11:07 pm  #3


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

This post was longer than intended so sorry about that but here goes. Exercise. I can wear myself out and fall asleep despite how I feel. If I woke up in the middle of the night I'd cry or pray or get up for a drink of water and go back to bed.

Mornings were actually harder for me. I'd fall asleep and it would go away but when I woke up it was as fresh as the beginning. Like the coping and emotional armor I'd built up through the day vanished and I had to start all over again. It was devastating for me. At work I would take breaks and cry in the bathroom. This isn't a problem anymore thankfully so I'm happy about that. It took months to make any progress. I talk to safe friends and family. On angry days I listen to loud music and power through chores because I know the energy won't last and I'll be lethargic and depressed again. Hobbies too. Lots of hobbies.

I've tried everything and sometimes it has worked. When it doesn't I cry and wait for it to pass. It always passes and comes back so working out the pattern helps me cope. I can anticipate now and have some ideas ready to deal with it. I try to avoid thinking about the why and focus on the what now. Those are my healthy coping skills.

I also gave myself some bruises and stopped eating for a while. I don't recommend that to anyone but it happened. I think it's important to mention it in case anyone else feels that way. When it gets that bad it's okay to talk to someone like a therapist or a doctor who can discuss the issues with you or get you on antidepressants. I'm also doing a lot better now so just want to put that out there. Healing from this stuff is hard work.

 

June 25, 2019 11:17 pm  #4


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

Hi OMOTF,

I must admit I'm not a fan of taking meds, but a big fan of having your own bed to sleep in.  That made a huge difference for me too.  I underscored it by asking him if we could agree having sex was completely off the menu and with that assurance it was more relaxing in general.

The thing that helped me the most was a bit of advice I read - to turn over and try and go back to sleep but if you are still awake in 15mins then get up and I did a lot of writing or browsing on the computer.  I enjoyed the quiet time so much it got so I was disappointed when I didn't wake up at 3am.

When it comes to circular thinking, my observation of myself was that it was caused by little chunks of belief which sent my thoughts back to where I'd come from.  I developed a sort of stick both beliefs in one room approach - worked well for me.  I have always liked being able to have a linear thought!  

 

 

June 27, 2019 11:31 am  #5


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

I'm still struggling with sleepless nights.

A friend had suggested melatonin, and that does keep me in a slightly deeper sleep for slightly longer, and when I do wake up it's easier for me to fall back asleep.  I'm still not positive it doesn't leave me a little droopy during the days, though.

I definitely agree with moving to a different bedroom, so you're not sharing the bed with the person who's causing you to lie awake all night.

 

 

July 6, 2019 4:52 am  #6


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

I think for me it was the early morning hours that really got to me as I ruminated at that time, so getting up and out of bed earlier helped that.

Also I found that Chinese herbal medicine prescribed by a qualified acupuncturist has helped me so much.  And the acupuncture as well seems to help for the few days after I have it. 

And yes to a big bed on your own, my GIDXH had terrible reflux and was endlessly clearing his throat, god I don’t miss that!!

 

July 9, 2019 12:45 pm  #7


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

*I did not share a room with him (that was too painful). I also changed some of the bedding (pillows & throws) and took down certain decor so it didn't remind me of him. 

Things that have worked for me...
1) Gratitude journal. I begin and end the day with this process; it pulls me out of my head. I write down 3-5 things in the morning and evening. In the evening I write down things that went well that day, made me smile, or that I'm grateful for. It helps me focus on the positive, which aided in going to sleep. 
2) A show in the background for noise that had nothing to do with me XH. For example, Golden Girls was a top pick for me. 
3) Puppy dog snuggles. 
4) A go-to friend/family member to call and chat with before bed that can put you in a good mood or be a distraction. 

 

July 20, 2019 2:56 pm  #8


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

    Just two nights ago I woke up and found myself thinking about my ex (I had been with friends/colleagues earlier in the day, some of them in the know and some not, who also socialize with him); I have noticed that being around people, places, or situations associated with him have a triggering effect that I end up combating by re-visiting just how awful the situation was, not to relive it, but to remind myself and to reframe things.  So there I was, lying there with reviewing that time and his actions threatening to take over my attention for who knows how many hours and afraid that when I was able to get back to sleep I'd have disturbing dreams, which would set the mood for the next day (this often happens to me with dreams).  

   I knew that mindful attention to my breathing would help somewhat, but that even while I was counting while concentrating on my breathing thoughts might still intrude, and, even if they were fleeting, I didn't want them.  I wanted to both mindfullly pay attention and occupy my brain with a story rather than just trying to empty it. 

     Creative visualization did the trick.  I didn't use a prepared tape, however, but something from the sports psychology toolkit, along the lines of what I did when I was preparing for the comprehensive exam for my MA (half a lifetime ago now!).  Back then, I visualized calmly going into the exam room, looking at the questions, realizing that I knew the texts and the critical and context material well, and could indeed answer the question, then marshaling my thoughts, organizing my answer, and finally calmly setting to work.  The idea is that when you get in the actual situation, you have a series of actions already prepared to access and execute. 
   
      Lying in bed the other night, then, I came up with a creative visualization, one that didn't feature my actual ex, but a thing that represented him and a scenario in which I put him behind me.  I imagined him as a helium balloon--not a fancy mylar one, just a regular old one like the ones you blow up and tie the end off, attached to a string.  At first, I imagined the balloon simply floating up and away into the sky, like my troubles disappearing, but that wasn't feeling right. I love dreams of flying, or being up in the air, or standing on the top of a mountain looking down, and I didn't like standing on the ground and being left, so to speak, while the balloon/ex got to drift away and get that beautiful perspective of height over the landscape.  So I changed the scenario.
   
      This time, the balloon was still tethered to a string, but held by a weight to a table and just floating there stationary.  Through the magic of time lapse, I imagined the balloon through the stages of deflation.  You know how a helium balloon loses its loft, and begins to shrivel, until it is barely floating, and then lists over, all the while growing smaller and more wrinkled?  That's what I imagined, taking the balloon down to a small, shriveled-up, deflated and useless thing lying desolate on the surface of the table waiting to be discarded.  And then I imagined watching myself pick it up, walk to the garbage can, open it up, toss the balloon in, turn my back, and walk away in the direction of the mountains, leaving it behind.  As I walked, the mountains and their promise grew closer and more prominent, while the garbage can with its deflated balloon diminished in size and importance until they were reduced to nothing.
 
    It worked.  All those thoughts of him and our life receded and I was able to fall asleep--and with a smile on my face. 

   Better, it seems to have worked for more than simply getting those nighttime thoughts out of my head.  It feels to me, in fact, as if having imagined that has allowed me to turn a corner in my recovery and healing.  For me, that balloon and its deflation represents him, my life with him, his power over me, the power of the situation to affect me, all shriveling away to nothing.  Me disposing of it, walking away towards the mountains and leaving it behind, represents my steps into a future of my own, one full of promise. In my scenario, I had the agency, and I got to walk away to the mountains where I could climb the heights to the reward of seeing a beautiful promised land laid out before me.  

     It also, I admit, satisfied my need, through a kind of literary revenge, to pay him back for what he did and all the ways his trans crap affected me, because that deflating, listing balloon is also a metaphor for his sexual impotence, his failure as a man and husband, his inability to get his way, and the final state of that wrinkled, useless, flat nothing of a balloon represents the empty self-referential life he is condemned to without me.  And in my imagination, when I picked that thing up and threw it away, it was simultaneously both nothing important and faintly disgusting, like a used condom.  It's like I reduced him to something with no use, no power over me, and no meaning in itself, put it in the trash, and went off to live my life.  
   
      My guess is that for everyone the "symbolic object(s)" (for me the balloon and the mountain) might be different, but that settling on something (and a scenario) that captures your feeling and need of the moment might make the exercise most effective.  I also think that this technique might work in preparing for a fraught situation with your spouse, just as athletes find such an exercise helps them succeed on the playing field.  
  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (July 20, 2019 4:51 pm)

 

July 20, 2019 8:01 pm  #9


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

“This time, the balloon was still tethered to a string, but held by a weight to a table and just floating there stationary.  Through the magic of time lapse, I imagined the balloon through the stages of deflation.  You know how a helium balloon loses its loft, and begins to shrivel, until it is barely floating, and then lists over, all the while growing smaller and more wrinkled?  That's what I imagined, taking the balloon down to a small, shriveled-up, deflated and useless thing lying desolate on the surface of the table waiting to be discarded.  And then I imagined watching myself pick it up, walk to the garbage can, open it up, toss the balloon in, turn my back, and walk away in the direction of the mountains, leaving it behind.  As I walked, the mountains and their promise grew closer and more prominent, while the garbage can with its deflated balloon diminished in size and importance until they were reduced to nothing.”

Such powerful imagery OutofHisCloset. It came at just the right time for me. Thank you.

It helps put things in perspective for me. My divorce was finalized almost two months ago after a yearlong separation but I still deal my GX on a weekly basis because we work for the same company. It will help to picture him as a shivering balloon.

Last edited by NewFly (July 20, 2019 8:03 pm)

 

July 20, 2019 8:14 pm  #10


Re: Strategies for night time? (De_Profundis comment in another thread)

OOHC - This was exactly what I needed tonight. You were able to convey the deflating listless balloon so beautifully.  My son recently told me my GIDH referred to me as the 'maid'.  I can visualize him as semi deflating and just trying to hold on to helium to keep him from deflating, knowing I was always more talented, more intuitive, more intelligent and more successful... hating me for it and hating me more for needing me as his beard.

 

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