Nightmares are terrible experiences to work through at any time. When you have alter personalities and switch in your sleep, the lack of awareness can cause problems. By lack of awareness I mean not realizing when I am: shouting, screaming, crying, talking, kicking, punching, thumping, and so on while I am paralyzed (locked inside my body). Usually my noise happens when I’m having a dream that involves anger and fighting. All that means the neighbors get annoyed. They start making noise. And no one in the system is sure who or when or how the issue was resolved.
And yes, I’m having nightmares. Or maybe reliving experiences as I sleep? Or maybe I’m asleep and my alters are awake having flashbacks? So confusing, yet so real.
As I told the admissions council during my second interview, some part of me is always awake. I never truly sleep. But I do get lots of rest. And lately, my wireless headphones have been a blessing. I can block out the construction, the neighbors, the cars, the wind when windows are open and get some rest.
Downside is that I can’t exactly hear when my neighbors bang on the door or the wall to get me to quiet down with the headphones on. And when the neighbors do bang and shout, I’m not sure it’s me or someone else they want to quiet down. Or if the new neighbors are moving furniture/drunk and walking into things, etc.
But I also have new neighbors. They happen to be younger and louder than the others. Also chattier and with chatty guests who visit at all hours. And some like to smoke in the building even though that’s against the rules. So any or all of this could be happening while I’m trying to sleep.
And whoever’s in charge at the time will take care of these issues. So far, no complaints from the property manager about noise or other issues. But the banging and music do startle awake and make some alters tense up. To be honest, I’m not sure if any of us actually get out of bed to talk with the neighbors at night or just stay in bed hoping it will stop. And I am kind of afraid of what could happen if one of us does try to chat with the loud neighbor.
As for basic coping strategies, here is this week’s list:
- Airing out the apartment – warm enough to keep windows open a few days last week
- Feeling comfortable (not to cold or hot) in bed
- Gratitude affirmations
- Deep breathing and meditation
- Self massage and use of acupressure points
- Letting the memories flow – aka alters share memories, experiences, thoughts, and feelings with everyone else
- Listening to music
- Listening to favorite nature sounds
- Re-reading old favorites and some new books
- Staying inside
- Sleeping when I can; resting when I can’t; eating when I feel hungry
- Letting myself be
It’s the downside to apartment living, especially micro-apartment living. Small spaces crowded next to each other; soundproof that isn’t truly soundproof; and a basic lack of privacy from having neighbors so close. Too bad I can’t afford my own house on a quiet street with very few neighbors and lots of beautiful trees.
But now that my secret life isn’t so secret anymore and we aren’t expending so much energy living two lives, maybe this lack of energy and need for solitude will lessen. I’ve actually spent more time outside my apartment and interacting with people in the last two weeks than I did for the last 3 months. And as much as I liked it (all parts in the system really enjoyed it), spending time chatting with people and in crowds really drained my energy. So now we’re all back to figuring out how to refill the well.
Thanks for reading