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What a lot of people don’t know, but that I’ve been more open about lately, is in addition to my other mental health issues (major depression, anxiety + social anxiety, and now apparently borderline OCD), I also have insomnia and a nightmare disorder.

I have, on average, 4-7 nightmares a week.

It used to be worse, but I spent six months regularly seeing a sleep therapist, so now I can sometimes “rescue” myself from nightmares. But it doesn’t always work.

The not-so-funny spiral is that when I am extremely exhausted, the insomnia gets worse, and the nightmares become more frequent and vivid. So then I’m even more exhausted, rinse and repeat…

Last night, for example, I fell asleep around 10:30 – 11:00 p.m. I briefly woke up around 12:30 for no discernible reason. Fell back asleep within ten minutes. Then I had a nightmare that it was the zombie apocalypse (this is a recurring theme for me), and by the end I was being attacked by zombies while being shot by some random assholes. Also the clutch in my car (in the dream) burned out and I spent almost the entire dream being pissed about it.

I woke from this nightmare at about 2:15 a.m. I finally fell back asleep sometime after 4:45. Our alarm clocks started going off at 5:15. I resisted getting up until six, and was behind enough that the kids nearly missed the school bus.

Since I was running on about four hours of pretty interrupted sleep, my husband suggested I try to take a nap this morning. So I tried.

I spent a good hour laying there before I finally fell asleep. Then I dropped right back into nightmare town. This time I was back in high school, but school was set up like a Mario level from hell. I finally hit the flagpole (which was literally the flagpole in front of the school), and was immediately attacked by a random dog that went straight for my throat. It was an abrupt awakening.

…this is my normal.

This is the stuff I don’t say when someone looks at me and says, “you look tired.”