Home Improvement Project

I’ve reached a weird space in recovery, where I can sense the old patterns of thought and the new, almost simultaneously. It’s like wiggling a switch with loose wiring: the lights flicker on/off, on/off, without the switch ever fully flipping to either one.

Teal_light_switch_8286690578_oOn—and I am flooded with an almost unbearable level of feelings, sharp and bright and overwhelming. Off—and the emotions are replaced with the sensation of razor blades, cutting deep into my forearms or thighs.

On—and I am filled with plans and goals for my future. Off—and I am certain I already wear a corpse.

On, off, on, off, on, off…

Nights are the worst. Nights are when the “on” thoughts are hardest to reach, and once reached, they feel almost unbelievable regardless.

I got badly triggered about a month ago and am still in the process of coming back to ground, which makes a “good night” anytime I sleep more than about 3 hours total. (I’ll leave it to you to imagine how soupy and unreal my days start to feel, after weeks of this.) When I went to bed last night—at a time actually already this morning—I tried to set an intention of committing to the “on” side. Felt more desperate wish than hopeful action; I’ve been here before, after all, and I am bone-tired in more ways than one.


At just-before-5 this morning, my first thought on waking was not hallucinating my flesh in ribbons—but enthusiasm for the day just about to break. Curiosity about what she’s going to do today, this new person I am building myself into.

She has plans, you understand. She has a future I’d like to see unfold. (She may even be working on a book I’d like to write, though only time will tell.)

And I got four and a half hours sleep last night, to boot!

Maybe this latest round of inner-demon-battling is finally winding down. Maybe I made some progress out of it, after all.


Almost enough to give St. Teresa ecstasy-envy. 

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“Home Improvement Project” is part of an ongoing memory project.
Additional installments can be found here.

[Featured image: By Tony Webster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0Bernini statue: By Miguel Hermoso Cuesta (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0]. Both via Wikimedia Commons]

8 thoughts on “Home Improvement Project

  1. Just a little thought here, from a time long ago and fully charged. My sleepless and fearful nights were changed when I decided to ‘go out’ there and be the walker in the darkness. At that time, I lived on the edge of an ocean reserve, almost deserted (couldn’t handle people too well) and was afraid of everything – each noise, each smell, each shadow or breeze or vehicle. The little devil in me (the one that’s always in trouble) just picked me up one night and said ‘so, let’s go out there and see what happens’ and we did. And the next night. And the next.
    There were still times when I was afraid, when I hid or ran or screamed at or from something, but as each night happened, and even with the scary things, I realised something. I would survive, or not. And did I prefer to survive as a ‘real’ person who could act and decide her fate, or the shadow who hid inside the prison of her home? I chose.
    I still don’t sleep well, but now I either meditate, or ‘chat’ with the musae (in my head, so I don’t wake up everyone else) or I visualise what’s happening ‘out there’ – things like the foxes that rub against the front window, the possums in the tree at the front, the neighbours cat that walks the top of the fences like a Zorro with his swishing tail and bad attitude (and the mask!), the fruit rats that watch my trees with avid interest . . . and on and on.
    It is not the darkness out there that is scary, it is the one we give ourselves, and it is only when we shine that light on ourselves that we see it for what it is – False Emotion Appearing Real.
    I welcome the ‘real’ you to the light in the night, the full moon of the journey, the candle of your soul.
    And yes, I am slightly mad (lovin’ it, too).
    And BTW, based on how you string your words together, I’d love to read your book!


  2. I don’t have what you do but when I am troubled night time is the worst. Everything is darkest and nothing good can happen. I am fortunate that I rarely get that but after my battle with cancer those night time terrors were frequent unwanted guests. Blessings to you and it is progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sleep, o blessed sleep

      You’re right on that one! Still, I am not surprised that I could not take in the volume of new information–and new information processing–of the past 5 weeks without losing a whole lotta shuteye. PTSD may always be no-fun, but at least it gets more predictable with treatment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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