I woke up in such a foul mood because once again I hardly slept. I really thought that I was so exhausted I would finally get some rest last night. I did all the right things; had a bath, read my book, listened to a guided meditation. I put on my eye mask to blot out the fluorescent lighting and stuck my earplugs in.
It’s strange how with those senses almost disengaged, I could still feel where I was. I could feel the activity of the place, the unpleasant, unsettled energy around me. I could feel the floor moving as people walked around and the vibrations of doors slamming. Without fully hearing, those sensations seemed to become more anxiety provoking.
I realised that aside from the ambient noise and my permanent level of alert all day, the nights in here are really triggering for me. I noticed that I fall asleep for a while when the last person goes to bed and there is a bit of stillness.
That’s exactly what used to happen when I was little. Not only when the abuse was going on, but afterwards. I would lie awake, listening and fearful, until I knew there was no chance of anyone coming into my room. Every time someone came upstairs or walked around on the landing, adrenaline would be triggered. I would only settle once everyone else in the house was too.
Last night, I could feel myself getting more and more triggered every time someone walked by my door. And that’s probably exacerbated by the fact that there are some scary people in here, some of them men and some very unpredictable.
My heart was racing and I had this urge to cause myself pain to stop the intense anxiety. I wanted to smash my head against the wall or punch something. The panic was all over my body for several hours. I tried all the self talk; telling myself I was safe and the feelings are old and it would pass. It didn’t alleviate it. But it did eventually pass.
This morning I felt so exhausted, physically and emotionally. I felt utterly drained and like there was no way I could get through the day. But then I had good news…
They’re letting me out by the end of the week!
They psychiatrist was great; she said she thought it would be detrimental for me to stay here much longer and that she wanted me to go home for a meal with my wife this evening. That was such exciting news.
So I’ve been home for a few hours, had a nice fresh dinner, a hot shower, shaved my legs and a wonderful cuddle and nap. It felt amazing to be home and to have some time alone with my wife. I have missed being alone with her and being physically close so much. I cried with happiness when she wrapped me in a blanket and held me.
I thought returning to the ward for the night would feel horrible after that. It does feel extra grotty and hard now I’ve been to my lovely home, but I’m keeping hold of all the good feelings from the past few hours. And staying focused on the fact that I only have to get through two more nights here and then I never have to come back.