insomnia

Doing gentle – 7 – Don’t scratch the wound

Doing gentle – 7 – Don’t scratch the wound

February 28, 2016
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We are all born with a physical immune system. The purpose of this issue system is to bring us back to physical well-being. If I scratch my hand, I don’t have to think my way to a healed wound, it’s taken care of by my immune system. It’s a good idea to still the blood flow, and to clean it out, but besides that, not much to do. I can be a bit smart, and avoid digging in the bare soil until the wound closes over, because otherwise it might be infected, but I don’t have to order my white blood cells over to the wound site, to clean up the mess. I don’t have to send an order to enzymes and clotting factors to head on over there and get started on repairing the hole, rebuilding the skin. It is done, because that’s what the immune system does. It picks up on irregularities, and straightens them out.

I can mess it up. I can dig in bare soil, I can scratch at the wound, removing the crust, over and over again, exposing the wound to the environment and possible hazards. Worst case, I get the wound infected and it will take a long time to heal, and possibly it might need antibiotics if I’ve really messed it up.

doing gentle scratchBut if I clean the wound, stop the blood flow, and leave it be, letting my immune system work it’s magic, it will be fine. It’s just a scratch, and I will be fine.

What many of us has forgotten, is that we have a similar psychological immune system, designed to bring us back to mental well-being, in the same way the physical immune system brings us back to bodily health. And the same thing applies here. Don’t scratch the wound. By scratching our mental wounds, we interfere with the psychological immune system, stopping it from doing its job.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve experienced nights of total insomnia. Not often, but a few times every year. And the first time, I had two nights in a row, slept one, thought I was ok, and had another one. It scared me. I got anxious, and nervous, and worried that I had suddenly developed a sleeping disorder. I started to fret about going to bed on time, and avoid screen time before bed, eating a few hours before not to have that disturb my sleep, and most of all: during the sleepless nights, I went on and on in my head, telling myself I had to sleep. I was scratching the wound, so to speak. I wouldn’t let myself rest and relax, even though I wasn’t sleeping, no, I was beating myself up over it, trying to force myself to sleep.

No such luck. But in time, after a few sleepless nights, I slept. Like a baby. Not doing anything really, except let my system work itself out.

And since then, whenever I have one of these sleepless nights, I trust my system, my psychological immune system, is at work, doing its thing, and I don’t have to get in its way. I don’t have to be anxious about insomnia, and I don’t have to do anything to get my immune system working. It’s working. Trust me. And trust it. It’s there, and it’s working away. What I should do, is get out of its way, and stop scratching the mental wound.

So next time you are anxious, stressed out, feeling down, having bouts of insomnia. Leave it be. Don’t scratch on your wound. Clean it, and stop the blood flow, for sure, which in mental issues might mean things like go to bed on time, take a walk and get some air and sun, eat healthy food. But don’t go overboard, scratching at the problem. Let your immune systems take you back to your innate well-being. That’s what they are there for.

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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The event horizon calling?

January 20, 2016
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Sunday morning I get out of bed, not having slept a wink. None of the ”Oh god, I haven’t slept all night, this is a disaster”-feeling. On the contrary. I’ve had a good night of rest, just not sleep. I’ve had nights like this a handful of times per year these past 2 years. After the first occasion, with three sleepless nights, then a night of good sleep luring me into safety only to get hit with yet another sleepless one, I have let any and all anxiety around this experience go.

I rest. Even though I don’t sleep, and hence I’m not a total wreck in the daytime. But I treat myself gently, not exerting myself. Rest more, in daytime as well.

Still… Since Saturday night I haven’t had even one good nights sleep. And 4 sleepless nights in a row is unusual even for me. I’ve slept some, not total insomnia, but not at all like normal (which for me means 8 hours of deep sleep). So I tell a friend about it, letting on that it feels like something is about to shift. It’s as if I stand at a threshold, and it can go either way. I level up, or I fall back down into what I came from?

He asks – Is the event horizon calling? 

Yes. That’s it! YES, my entire being calls out in exultation, the event horizon is calling me! This boundary of black holes in cosmos, the edge of the world as we know it, and something else, something unknown, something different.

Tell my campfire sisters about the insomnia, about the event horizon. Suddenly I see more. Held in a space where curious exploration is encouraged and welcome, I see what this is, to me.

”Normal insomnia” is when I wake up in the early morning hours, 2, 3 or 4 o’clock, and there is something that wants to come out of me. I fight it for a while, loving my bed, the warmth, the restful sound of gentle inhalations followed by exhalations from my husband lying next to me, but no luck. Sleep resists me, won’t come until I get a release. So I often get up, and with pen and paper, or my computer, in front of me, let that which wants to come out, come out. Onto paper, in words, shapes/forms. Get hit by a definitive sense of being done, and after that, I can get back to bed and fall asleep once more.

This is different. There is no urge to leave bed. None. There is nothing wanting to come through me. I don’t have to do anything to be done, so I can go back to sleep. Rather, it’s an invitation for me to step into something, unknown, exciting, reassuringly gentle. It’s the event horizon calling me, inviting me to dance along the edge of the known and the unknown. I am open to it. Not resisting the insomnia, embracing it instead. Knowing it is meant to be, I am meant to be. There. Right then. Right there.

event horizon

The event horizon is calling, and I am heeding the call.
What lies beyond the edge of the threshold?
What is there – for me to know, experience, embody?

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