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PTSD sundowning

Rose White

At night I lose my sense of self sometimes. I become panicky and overwhelmed and don’t want to go to sleep because I don’t want to remember everything when I wake up. I would rather stay in my dreams forever. Or never go to sleep. But I have to.

Reminds me of how people with dementia get sundowning. PTSD seems like a kind of dementia sometimes. Like on the dementia spectrum. Probably not. I just have a hard time allowing myself to sleep sometimes. Maybe it’s the transition.

No feelings just avoidance. So maybe this should be in the avoidance thread, not sure. Sense of self loss. Sorry for the rambling tonight. I guess it oscillates between fear and numbness and avoidance. Jeez it’s rambly stuff sorry. Will be embarrassing to see this tomorrow. So if you want to comment on sundowning that’s fine.
I guess it oscillates between fear and numbness and avoidance.
But sometimes it has to do with things around trauma too.

Could be the same sort of thing. Reminds you of something - a feeling - seeing sundown, knowing night was coming, fear of nightmares or bad dreams or crazy dreams....disturbing dreams.....

That stuff seems to come and go depending where I am in therapy - suddenly something is way more stressful than it should be......
I know a lot of it comes from EMDR because of how it works and it's looking at memories we my not see consciously - they may be buried away by PTSD and they show up because they are dragged up and how we feel about them has changed - but they hold emotion with them too, and feelings.

...and something goes from normal everyday to something suddenly stressful and unresolved......and we see it in our dreams and nightmares..........
definitely some aspects of the end of daylight get me a little unwilling to end the day. It has to do with being done with my work for the day and enjoying the time that no one else can claim. Going to sleep is kind of phase one of my next to do list that will last until tomorrow, about the time the sun goes down.

Aaaaand I have bad trauma memories of looking for things in the dark, sometimes all it takes is one link of the chain to pull all the others along if you know, yeah you know. Its like that some nights.
I also experience major anxiety spikes at night. It’s an interesting comparison to make.

I wonder if its to do with the lack of light or the fact i’m already tired and that spikes fear. I often feel more anxious/ heightened emotions if I’m tired anyway.
lack of light or the fact i’m already tired and that spikes fear. I often feel more anxious/ heightened emotions if I’m tired anyway.
Makes sense! Babies and kids cry when they’re tired—hard to assign an emotion to it but as adults we might be tapping into that sense of overwhelm when tired and linking it with emotional states?
Then again it could go back to not wanting night to come as that was when trauma happened. I'm perhaps less prone as our sunrise/sunset here changes with the seasons. December Sunrise is about 9 am, Sundown at 3 pm -June its 4am sunup and 11pm sundown - plus we get twilight morning in the evening - that can last a couple hours in the summer. After my cornea transplant I lived in LA for a few months and that was weird that way - sun dips below the horizon and boom - its dark.

I have found that at different times different fears/feelings pop up for different reasons. Like bright lights in the morning. Because that's when the eye doctor came, and having parches on mean any light I had was muted except when they were changing dressings, or doing examinations. Anything in or near the eye was incredibly painful so exams were like torture - made worse by the medieval tools of the trade at the time and the freezing so the doctor could use them....

Took a while to put the two together because light sensitivity is on the last of symptoms for my chronic illness as well.