Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Battlefield Of The Mind

Yes, I know it's the title of a Joyce Meyer book. It's one of my mother's favorite things to give at Christmas.

That being said, this has been a rough week for me psychologically. Why? Those vivid dreams of early pregnancy have turned into nightmares for some reason. Oh, how I long for those simple, orgasm-inducing sex dreams of a couple weeks ago where I wake up and swear I've just had some awesome sex and I feel totally satisfied, only to face my husband, who remains cut off from the pleasures of the marital bed.

A couple nights ago, when I was actually able to stay asleep for more than 45 minutes without having to get up and use the bathroom, I had an Awful Nightmare. It was so bad, the next day at work, I kept having flashbacks of some of the more violent scenes. It made me feel very timid and terrified, even at work. The next night, my dreams remained on the dark side, though not down to the same caliber of the first (which included me witnessing some horrendous, depraved crimes).

Last night I added some melatonin to my nightly bunch of pills. It helped a lot. I fell asleep quicker and was able to get through the dream stage of sleep well before my morning wake-up time so I wasn't just getting done washing the blood out of my hair before the alarm went off.

It still troubles me. I'm not a violent person by nature. I'm a kind, gentle person, and I avoid violent movies and TV shows. I won't even watch cheesy horror movies. When I was a teenager, part of my mental health issues included an anxiety disorder where I couldn't easily distinguish between real and pretend. It got to the point where I couldn't watch an action flick because I'd go comatose (to a happy place) at the first strike of violence on the screen. Example: I passed out when I saw The Matrix in the theatre. Scared the hell out of my boyfriend. It took him a while to shake me out of my stupor after it was over.

My mind didn't register that the violence on the screen wasn't actually happening to me or people I know and love. So I stopped watching the bad stuff to avoid having embarrassing things happen, like a panic attack or black out.

That was years ago. I was on Zoloft for years to treat anxiety and depression. My life is pretty stable right now, and there isn't much that causes anxiety or panic. And I have a wonderful husband to shore me up when I start to fail. So I stopped taking my Zoloft before I got pregnant again. Even though Zoloft is one of the only anti-depressants considered somewhat safe by the medical field now, my OB would prefer if we didn't chance it, unless my mental health deteriorates so much to the point where the stress hormones in my body could hurt the baby.

I have a few coping mechanisms now for panic and depression. One of them is the rosary my best friend gave me a couple years ago. She's Catholic, and I'm not, but I've always been drawn to the quiet rituals and comfort of that particular faith. So if I get really uptight and anxious, I can pull out the rosary I keep in a satin bag in my purse, and I start meditating and praying.

Before husband and babies, I also smoked. I really enjoyed the relaxation and time outs. Smoking made me take time to stop talking, stop running around. I'd just be outside for ten minutes, killing myself and anyone around me with the smoke. Of course, this isn't an option available to me anymore for various reasons, including my own determination to remain smoke-free.

The other coping mechanisms I have, like pleasant-thought concentration and change-of-perspective exercises, help me during the day, but I can't figure out a way to fight off the demons when I'm sleeping. I'm pregnant and fatigued all the time, and I really need to sleep, but I'm scared of it now. I'm scared of what horror my mind will come up with for me to live through each night. Maybe I need to do some research into lucid dreaming, so I can start getting some control back.

On a lighter note, Ben managed to get up the stairs all by himself yesterday morning with no one standing by for safety. Husband left the door to the stairs open while he and I were in the kitchen making breakfast. I went into the living room just as Ben was rounding the corner at the top of the stairs. God help us if he tried to climb back down on his own.