For the first time in my life, I took a nap. Yes, that’s right–the first time ever. As far back as I can remember, I have never napped. I would even go so far as to call myself nap-phobic. Napping was childish. Napping was silly. More honestly, I simply couldn’t do it though I’d tried.
A few days ago, I lay down around 6 o’clock in the evening. I hadn’t even made dinner yet, but the long day teaching had left me spent. I thought, I’d love a nap. (Huh? Was that me talking to me?) Where did that thought come from? Anticipating pleasure? Unprecedented! Besides, PTSDers don’t nap. At least this PTSDer doesn’t……until now :). As I settled under the covers, the experience felt delicious and special. And after fifteen minutes, I awoke totally refreshed. So this is what they mean!
My partner takes naps whenever she needs to. My friends tell me they nap. When I used to fast for the holy month of Ramadan, many fellow Sufi students told me that they napped before evening events or prayer service. How could they, I wondered. When I would lie on my bed at two in the afternoon on a Saturday, exhausted after being up since four a.m. and eating and drinking nothing since five, my eyes were still wide, as if my eyelids were being held open by tiny clothespins. What I didn’t know about myself then is that I had PTSD. Of course, I couldn’t nap. I was doing guard duty, protecting myself.
The day I thought happily about a nap, the sentry in her tower had agreed to let this part of me pass through the gate. I was given a temporary pass to visit this new land. The guard leaned back, laid her weapon on the shelf, and put her feet up, enjoying the view while I headed for the soft bed of pine needles under the trees. I napped happily and when I was through, I tapped the sentry on the shoulder and re-entered the known world.
Growing up, I never saw my mother nap. Twice a week in the evening, she allowed herself to lie down on the couch and watch television with the family–“The Untouchables” Thursday evenings and The Ed Sullivan Show Saturdays. On these occasions, she actually covered herself with a blanket and lay her head on a pillow. But I never witnessed my mother napping. In fact, she slept only five hours a night, if that. As I’ve written in a previous post “PTS Parenting,” my mother was a PTSDer. I’m not saying that anyone who can’t nap has PTSD. I am saying I couldn’t nap because I had it and didn’t know it, and it’s likely that the same is true for my mother.
I am on the threshold of a new relationship not only with my body but also with life! The affirmations are working. I am safe. I am worthy. All is well with the world. Good is everywhere. My body is my friend. I am one with my body. Just this morning during meditation, I heard my soul tell me, I’m on your side. I am letting go of control and coming home to my body in a deeper way. Dare I say it? I am healing from PTSD!