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What a Difference a Bad Night Makes

Reha Day five - I can't get no sleep

O.M.G. What a night! I lay down in bed and all I notice is my heart is a-thumping like billy-o.

I listen to my usual podcast to calm down and fall asleep and notice it is having the opposite effect. My pulse is getting louder, stronger. Oh my!

I do all the things

I give myself some love, acknowledge what I am feeling in my body, describe it a little. I use comforting words. I try to find a connection to myself, what do I need? What is upsetting me? Is there something I would like to feel? Release? Is it anxiety? Sadness? Exhaustion? Tell me something…anything?!

Dazed and confused messages come to me. I don’t feel connected to my truth self or my higher self. Something very body-centred is going on and it is all a jumble. This jumble causes a lot of useless chatter in my brain. Carousels ensue.

I try my own recording of the right-brain activation, and I try it again, and once more, maybe I am starting to relax…. alas, no.

I give up and get up and write and read and amuse myself a while. When I start to feel heavy I try again.

My heart beats loudly. Unsure what else to do and accepting that sleep seems out of the question, I get up again.

Maybe some shaking, some chaotic breathing, some Yoga, some Qi Gong… nope. Nothing will calm my heart.

I start using a technique I learned recently "havening," I stroke my arms until my arms get tired and I stroke my face, reciting the games "The Minister's Cat" and another alphabet-based one I do not have a name for. This calms my nervous system just enough to drift off.

Here we go again...

Two hours later I wake up and my heart is thumping crazily again. Again I get up, do some exercises, almost anything I can think of. I realise the night is over for me and around 5.30am I leave my room.

I wander around the halls for a while then decide going out into the dark, cold, rainy morning is the only thing to do now. I wander around the lit paths and roads until there are no more lights. I see someone cycling by and decide to follow their route. I am back in my bed after half an hour and don’t drift off, but just lie there, waiting.

Connecting helps

I get up for breakfast and meet my new Reha-ladies and tell them about my night. The distresses of the night make feel I want to chuck it all in and give up and go home. One of them very sweetly encourages me “you can’t leave us here on our own! We will get through this together.” I realise others are also having a difficult time adjusting, even if they seem calmer on the outside that I am feeling on the inside.

Shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing

The day goes well, filled with supportive conversations with new friends. In the afternoon I go for a mindful walk in the woods with a guided group in the pouring rain. We take it in with all our senses. We touch trees, moss, fungus. Our guides are very knowledgeable, we do some exercises to keep ourselves warm.

The goodness of the forest and the rain

We learn how walking in the rain in the woods is very good for our health. When the rain drops rub against anything, it releases negative ions (anions) which are good for our respiratory tract. We listen the take in the noise of the drops falling on the leaves, and flowing down the trees over and over and over… is calming.

We look and touch and break down fungus and sniff it and rub it in our hands. We squish some wet moss and do some light movement exercises pressing our hands on the trees. The bark is cold, wet, rough and covered in moss, the rain drips into our sleeves.

We have a rest on a toppled-over tree stump and I open a packet of biscuits to share.

Someone who has been here a little longer tells me it gets easier as the weeks go on, we all hope this will be true for us too, she has 10 days left to go.

A good grounding

During this day I feel very different. We take some time to ground ourselves with the earth in the woods, notice our breath, our bodies. I feel good but I notice there is still an underlying heart thump beneath.

Some breath work

This evening a friend invites me to join her for a breath work group, I do until the wi-fi connection collapses for the night. I feel flushed and emotional and know there is more to come. It seems there is only one thing for it - another walk in the dark.

Acceptance and Surrender

I am a little apprehensive of the night. I decide to let that go and just let it be as much as I can. If my body has some serious processing to do, who am I to get in it’s way?

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