Monday, November 1, 2010

Scared to Sleep

(For: implied sexual abuse)

The above drawing is of one of my few childhood memories.  This is my only memory under age 12 that I can place myself into on an emotional level. There are a few memories where I remember how I felt, but I can't feel it myself. 

Whenever I think of this memory it gives me a great deal of anxiety.  My heart starts pounding, my breathing quickens, it's a very scary experience.  This memory takes place in the house I lived in from a little before my 2nd birthday until just after my 9th.  I have no idea what age I was in the memory.

I remember feeling someone sit down at the end of my bed.  My heart started beating and I pulled the blankets tight under my chin and pretended to be asleep.  I was petrified.  I was afraid if I moved my toes would touch whoever was sitting there and then they'd realize I was awake.  I tried to just fall asleep, to just not exist, to disappear and I succeeded.  But was I really asleep?  I don't think so.

The drawing above shows how a part of me went to sleep and a part of me stayed awake.  The part that stayed awake is either the eraser part or one of the parts from the back that I don't know yet.  Why would someone have been sitting on the end of my bed in the pitch dark, scaring me nearly to death, for no reason?  I think abuse or a fear of abuse is the logical assumption.

I can't remember exactly why I feared sleeping so much, but it was a source of obsessive nervousness.  I would look around my room dozens of times before closing my eyes, looking out for intruders or monsters or bad guys.  Right before I fell asleep I would have to check again, to make sure it was still safe.  I would scan my room another dozen times and lay back down.

(For: knives, violence)

As a child, I associated my bed with knives.  I believed that I would get stabbed while in bed, that someone would stab me from under the mattress, from above, or from behind.  I would be so scared of this that I would only sleep in one position, on one side of the bed, and I would never move, because there was only one way to sleep that was safe.

Even as an adult knives are still my number one fear.  They trigger me into a state of anxiety and panic unless I am in total control.  When someone is using a knife I either leave the room or keep my distance and watch them intently for any signs of hostile behavior.

I'm afraid of being cut by a knife and of someone else cutting themselves with a knife.  Mentions, descriptions, and movies containing torture are also huge triggers that I do my best to steer clear of.  If it's non-deliberate harm I do okay.  I can treat accidental cuts for myself and for others.  It's the deliberate use of knives for violence that scares me in the deepest way imaginable.

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