#NOMORE sleepless nights. That is probably the one thing I long for the most. That has probably been one of the hardest parts of the last 27 months. Now this is something that has definitely improved over time and as I work through things, but it is also one of the most frustrating. I can have nights where I do sleep, and now I can even have a solid week of being able to sleep. But then it can go back to being a problem. I don’t like taking things to sleep, so I use essential oils to help with it and I am thankful for a natural way to help. Let me share just a little bit of what the challenge of sleep can look like for me.
It used to be that I was afraid to sleep, that I did not feel safe to sleep because of nightmares, anxiety, and panic that just seems to be a part of the night. As time has gone on that anxiety has changed and lessened. Now it looks more like this, I can have a great day, get to bed and fall asleep just fine, but then I can wake up in the middle of the night having a horrible nightmare, sometimes those feel like everything is happening again, I wake up to a racing heart filled with sheer panic, sometimes it even physically feels as if it has all just happened again. This, for me, can start a cycle of not sleeping or being anxious about going to sleep. Then as I get tired and go without sleep makes everything seem worse and anxiety often then starts to creep in with doubt, hopelessness and apathy. It creates a cycle where it is harder to sleep and function. Then it becomes easier to go back to unhealthy coping skills. Now, this has improved a lot and is not near the struggle it was and for that I am thankful.
The reason I am sharing this, is I want to show you one of the ways this still is a struggle. There are other ways but this one is something that is tangible that I know people can understand. That foggy feeling of going without sleep, headaches, exhaustion, yet frustration of not being able to sleep. I hate the ups and downs of this and that feeling of being out of control when I wake up in a panic. I know that these feelings could quickly become isolating, but I am blessed to have amazing people in my life who are still there supporting me through it. And who have never given up, or acted like I was a burden, or said that I needed to just move on. I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am with a wonderful support system. And to that I say no more having to face it alone.
Another reason that I am sharing is I want to show why it is important to take a stance. Why the goal of #NOMORE to ultimately eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault is so important. Because it isn’t something that just happens and then you move on. It is something that lingers because at the core it shakes boundaries, sense of safety, it is a complete loss of power, trust is broken in such intimate ways, and the effects of that are a continuous battle.
So what can you do? First, be educated. Realize that this is a huge problem:
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.
1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
Next be wiling to start the conversation:
Simply starting a conversation about these issues can help – as 64% of Americans say if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone. –NOMORE.org
Don’t ever say it won’t happen to me. It won’t happen in our family. It won’t happen at my school. I don’t know anyone who has been effected. Because everyone does. Learn from others’ stories about the impacts and be supportive. Be willing to listen and truly hear someone’s heart. Even if you have never experienced any of these problems you can still be supportive. And that is what #NOMOREWeek is about. It is about starting the conversations, enabling people to share their stories, teaching what it looks like to help someone become a conqueror after going through a sexual assault or domestic violence. Because it isn’t just a number, it is someone you know who has experienced this.