The Sleep Tango, Night Terrors, PTSD & Pugs…

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“Since Georgia came Tallulah can finally sleep at night.”

This is something I don’t write about often. I write a lot about being bi polar but PTSD is in the basket of things I carry with me through life as well, and it exacerbates the bi polar bits and parts, and it is unpleasant. I was told early on by more than one psychiatrist — and Lord knows their views on things may have changed and the terminology may be different now that it is more openly discussed but I’ll go with what I know — that there are 2 types of PTSD. PTSD Type 1 is curable. It may have occurred because of an isolated incident, say a terrible car accident that makes one afraid to drive or afraid of something related to the accident. It is terribly painful and not easy to move past but with a good therapist, medication, and whatever is deemed appropriate treatment it can be worked through. PTSD Type 2 as I was told is treatable but not curable, i.e. people whose trauma was so severe or long lasting that it not believed that even with treatment and medication it can be healed but therapy and medication can help it become more manageable. I beg your pardon if it is thought of some other way now, but you will understand my premise in this piece based on what I was told years ago.

I have PTSD Type 2 according to my doctor, and at 60, with more than 4 decades in therapy and most of it on medication I can tell you that it has never gone away. My own situation is exacerbated by the fact that my flashbacks and night terrors have to do with being sexually abused from 4 to 18 so that bed for me in and of itself just doesn’t feel like a safe place. For years I slept on the couch and not in a bed. Then came the pugs.

There is a curious misconception that pugs are dogs. I’m not sure how this came to pass but I can assure you that they are not dogs, they are magical little beings, soft little armfuls of love, no wimpy small people are they, no, they are sturdy little individuals, and they are psychically attached to their people which is true of most dogs bonded to their owners, but they have magic sleep powers that go beyond the realm of anything medication can touch. As you see above, Georgia helps Tallulah sleep. This is also true in my house.

I don’t dare try to go to bed until I am so tired I am falling asleep sitting up and actually many nights I intentionally let myself fall asleep a little before trying to go to bed so that I might sort of sleep walk to bed. Lately it has been somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. when I am able to head to bed. My  pugs are completely in tune with my schedule. They sleep here around me, snuggled up, until I am ready to go to bed, and as soon as I sit straight up and say “Time to go to bed,” they bound off the loveseat (I have a reclining loveseat so we are all nicely packed in together, snug and cozy.) and head straight back to the bedroom.

Once we are in the bedroom they all sit expectantly on the edge of the bed looking toward the bathroom while I brush my teeth and as soon as I come back in and start to get into bed they spread out to let me get in and situated. As soon as I am tucked in they drift back toward me and attach like limpets on rocks. In our king sized bed we five don’t take up more than one person would anyway. I often feel like Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians and sometimes have to sit up, turn on the light, and shift them around a bit so that I might have an inch to breathe freely, but my wee girl Delilah is always attached.

Toward morning Delilah moves from being wedged tightly against me to getting on top of me. I am a side sleeper and I put a pillow between my knees which helps my back, and I use 2 pillows to kind of lay over on. She hops up on my hip and goes to sleep there. Of late I have awakened to Delilah, Laverne, and Pugsley ALL along the edge of my body, whichever side is up. Like those pictures of peas on the edge of a knife I have pugs on the side of my body (Although it must be said that I am a tad wider than a knife. I make a nice shelf for pugs.). I can shift 2 off but Delilah will get right back, and you know what, it is very comforting.

And the most touching thing to me is that if I am having night terrors, if I have awakened screaming or crying they are all on top of me in an instant. I take a pill and literally cling to them like a little girl to her teddy bear and I have often thought that pugs are like little living, breathing, teddy bears. I have cried into a pug’s fur while holding them tight and shaking like a leaf. When I calm down and the medication begins to take affect I lay down and here is Delilah…

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 She is not officially registered as a service dog but I can tell you most definitely that she is one for me.

I understand why Tallulah so loves Georgia. It wasn’t until the wee little pug came that Tallulah began to sleep at night, most of the time, and she, like I do, goes to sleep at night to the sound of sweet pug snoring, and there is nothing more effective to help me finally drift off. God bless these tiny people. They are truly magic…

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Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Comments

  1. Oh, this makes me teary and smily all at once. Loving hearing about you and the pugs – and Tallulah and Georgia are the perfect inroad into understanding your life.

    • Oh sweet Cathryn thank you so much. What a gift to have Tallulah come into my life, with her little pug right along with her. She is my lost sister, my alter ego, my champion, my Muse. And at this liminal time in my life she is a gift from heaven. I don’t know how to thank you enough for your steady support. It means more than I know how to say. Bless you dearheart…

      Love,

      Maitri

    • Cathryn has expressed my feelings (after reading your post) quite perfectly — hugs to you, Maitri. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. “they attach like limpets on rocks” oh oh oh laughing out loud here. What a tender slice of life from you. Excellent writing as always. Lovin’ you from here.

  3. I so understand the comfort of going to sleep to the pugs snoring. The cats purring is the same for me. Allows me to stop the wheels going in my brain when I just can’t stop thinking, what-iffing, planning, regretting. Petting a purring cat is very soothing. I can’t imagine a home without animals. Sweet dreams!!!

    • I know you know honey, and what, indeed, would we do without our animals? They have saved me again and again and again. And these sweet little beings are the only unconditional love we will ever know. Despite it all I know that my life is richly blessed and I thank God for them every single day…

  4. What a beautiful picture of Tallulah and Georgia! 🙂 I found it very touching. I too have PTSD as you know and sleep maybe 2-4 hours a night. I wish I could sleep more. My cat Roxy doesn’t cuddle (she has PTSD too and came to me like that). But I am glad she is in the house. I have my best sleep on the couch; not in the bed.

    I am so glad you have all those loving and lovable puggles to huggle. 😉

    • Oh Marya, thank you honey, and oh, it’s so hard, especially when I know you have so many challenges anyway. Lack of sleep makes everything harder. I am glad Roxy is there even if she doesn’t cuddle, I know she is a lot of company for you. Tallulah, Georgia, and the little ones and I all send our love… <3

  5. What a beautiful blog post. I had PTSD1 which was awful, so my heart goes out to you with what you are dealing with. You are so strong Maitri you help me in so many ways. I take strengh from you. Thank you so much…..with much love Olive xxxx

    • Thank you so much Olive. And I’m so sorry that you struggled with PTSD, and so happy that you were able to move past it. It is a serious drain on body, mind and spirit. Blessings to you dearheart, be gentle with yourself on your way…

  6. Awww! This is so sweet. And you gave Tallulah a beautiful blanket 🙂
    The photo of you and Delilah is the cutest.
    I am sorry for the nightmares. Not being able to sleep is a real horror because when do you recover and rejuvenate if you can’t sleep properly?
    I am glad that you are well taken care of.
    Love, Corinna

    • Thank you so much sweet Corinna, and yes, they needed a sweet blanket. 🙂 I have had recurring nightmares since I was very young and the abuse was devastating in so many ways that become crippling leitmotifs through one’s life. I just hold on as best I can and keep on keeping on. Much love to you dear friend. I love your work. Keep painting, keep sharing, keeping showing your bright light. You are such a beautiful soul… <3

  7. I Love reading these Words from your Heart & your Paintings of Tallulah & Georgia are Truly Priceless.
    ( I Dream of owning one someday. )

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