Can’t Sleep

Can’t Sleep

I’m in the process of moving from the west coast to the east coast. I must say, moving is not for the faint-hearted. I have been experiencing panic attacks, worry, fear, and debilitating fatigue. I’m getting too old for this!

I woke up this morning and started crying. I felt so alone and scared about the future. I’ve heard it said that we are never given more than we can bear, but this morning, I wondered how much more heartache and pain I can carry in this one small body.

At the root of all this pain is the loss of a relationship with my son and grandchildren. Just when I think I’m coping, getting stronger, experiencing flickers of joy, I get strong-armed by a sudden memory, or some challenge in my day-to-day life. Even being cut off on the freeway can trigger too intense of a reaction, like extreme impatience and anger. Clearly, I’m not yet healed. Clearly, I’m not yet stable. And I wonder if I will  ever be happy again with the specter of the lost relationship with my son always clawing at my constricted heart.

If you’ve read my blog over the years, you know that I always look for silver linings, lessons, insights, hope. I’ve been having a tough time with this lately, but I know that thoughts create reality and it’s a slippery slope I’m on at the moment. It’s so darned easy to lose footing when in the throes of the pain of alienation and estrangement. But, it’s imperative to apply sturdy tread to stop the fall before tumbling into the pit of hell of negative thought habits.

I’ve been in a hell of my own creation lately. True, I have lots of challenges and heartaches to contend with. True, I have major PTSD for several reasons. True, I have lost my family. But, life is life. It keeps moving us forward, so indulging in regrets from the past or fears of the future does absolutely no good. Not one whit. 

Yes, I’ve been in hell. By choice. The key word here is choice. I have chosen to be in this crazy mind-place, losing sleep because of the useless, worrying chatter of my stressed-out brain. Lately, when I close my eyes, my mind thinks it’s time to go into over-drive. And when  I do manage to finally fall asleep, I wake up a few hours later and it’s even worse, because my overworked brain is convinced that I’ll become a bag lady and live and die alone. Yeah, it’s that bad.

To survive and overcome this, I’ve started talking sense to myself. I reach out, from time to time, to people I trust with my heart, and they have often helped me reset my thinking. I’ve also started tapping (EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique), which seems to help. In addition, I do a series of deep breaths when I go to bed, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I repeat them, while telling myself that I’m safe, protected, and that all is in Divine Order. 

I continue to work on faith and acceptance. If I slack off, I fall down, so it’s important to practice right thinking as a daily and ongoing discipline. I’m learning to meditate, keeping it simple by emptying my mind and just looking up at the trees and sky. I’m watching my thoughts and taking any negative ones captive, replacing them with turnaround thoughts. I’m monitoring my beliefs – beliefs I learned as a child, which I now realize are mostly erroneous, to put it politely.

There’s work to be done, and it looks like I will always have to do it. That’s the bad news and the good news. I’m surprised that I am still in need of so much healing, but glad that there is a way through this, tools to help me, even if it is all tremendously challenging.

So, for now, deep breaths. Deeeep breaths.

7 thoughts on “Can’t Sleep”

  • Hi Nancy.
    Your story is much like mine, except I do not have grandchildren. My husband died from Suicide in 2012, and my 2 adult children and I were totally blindsided by his death. Never saw it coming. Since that time, both kids have been very angry and used me as their mental/emotional punching bag. They were terribly enabled financially by their dad as well, and I cut off the purse strings immediately. They only contact me when they need help or money. I lived in Texas very close to both of them and the pain of them never coming to visit was too difficult to bear. I ended up moving to the beach on the East Coast thinking I could justify not seeing them due to the distance. I, like you, was so afraid as I had lived in Texas all my life. Prior to leaving Texas, I met a wonderful man that’s the love of my life. I told him my plans to move to the beach as it brings me such peace. He supported my decision and flew out to see me every 2 weeks for 2 years. He joined me last year and we bought a beautiful beach home together. I still grieve over the loss of my entire family and can only live in the hope that one day my estranged son and daughter will come to realize that blood is thicker than money. Take care and my best to you. Perhaps we might meet up one day. 🙂

    • Hello, Gigi – Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your story. I’m so sorry you’ve been through such heartaches, but very happy that you’ve found the love of your life. I share your hope that your adult children will one day understand that they only have one mother and return home to you.

      Where in Florida do you live? I’m quite happy here in St Augustine and glad I took a giant leap of faith and made the move.It sounds like you’re also happy here. I find the beach to be my healing place and I often walk on it for solace and peace.

      Blessings to you,

  • This sounds very good. Emotional PTSD is nothing to sneeze at, I know. Do you find the EFT has helped? I just looked at a book on it on my bookshelf. I tend to be an over-thinker and an over-worrier, which I agree, does not help.

    I really related to this: “I’ve been in a hell of my own creation lately. True, I have lots of challenges and heartaches to contend with. True, I have major PTSD for several reasons. True, I have lost my family. But, life is life. It keeps moving us forward, so indulging in regrets from the past or fears of the future does absolutely no good. Not one whit. ”

    I think my own family rift has made my long-standing PTSD issues a lot worse lately. And yet Life keeps moving us forward. I keep trying to remember, “One day at a time.” I am starting Al-Anon tomorrow as I also grew up in an alcoholic family.

    Keep breathing, keep pressing forward and finding moments of joy and connection.

  • Nancy,
    I too am estranged from my youngest son and twin grand babies that just turned two years old in July. I had little hope that we would be invited to their birthday party so I prepared myself for the disappointment. It has been a little over a year since we saw them. It’s very difficult to deal with and I’m considering counseling. I also occasionally use Xanax when I can’t sleep. As parents, we realize once our children marry and move to another state, there will be limited visits and we accepted that at the time but we were not prepared to be intentionally cut off from him and our grand babies. Bewilderment over all of this is an understatement. It’s still too new and raw but I too wonder if we’ll ever get to see those babies again. Can you tell me how long has it been prior to reconnecting and was it your son that made the move? I know everyone is different but my son won’t answer texts, calls or emails.

    • Hi Kathleen,
      I received and responded to your email that was sent to my yahoo address. Did you receive it? I’d prefer to correspond privately when it comes to personal matters. But, I will say that counseling is a good idea – you need support and help during this time. The hurt is still fresh and real, and no-one should go through this alone. I’m available for more in-depth communication through emails.

  • I understand. I never sleep well. I miss my adult children, my granddaughters. Recently reconnecting with my daughter and her baby. But walking on eggshells, and not confident of anything.

    • I, too, have had a recent reconnecting with my son and grandkids. It’s a good thing, but tenuous and inconsistent. I think once our grown kids get used to little or no communication, it becomes the new norm. Healing and reconciling is not a straight line and takes time. Good luck to you!

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