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Unconscious emotions becoming conscious during insomnia?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Ozzy, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Ozzy

    Ozzy Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    About five months ago I had excruciating chronic pain that I healed using Sarno's work and the kind support of this forum (eternally grateful guys!). Previous to this pain appearing I suffered from occasional bouts of insomnia (every couple of weeks or so). Shortly after the pain came on, the insomnia disappeared and I had the best sleeping for a long time. When the pain healed the insomnia returned.

    The insomnia is like this: unable to sleep, feeling like I need something but don't know what it is, sometimes cannot sleep at all (or get one to three hours sleep, five hours on a better sleepless night). I often feel very unsettled emotionally on these nights and as I feel more and more tired and more and more scared of my commitments the next day (I have young kids, work, tennis matches, etc.) I get more and more wound up and unable to relax and sleep. I try to alleviate it by waking my wife and asking her to help. I often get angry in the night about things I am not addressing in the day. If these things are to do with my wife I often go off on a rant at her. Often I only sleep after feeling intense anger followed often by crying. I usually do not understand why I am so angry or sad. I am scared of the feelings.

    I try to be kind to myself but the insomnia journey is quite unsettling and scary for me when I have one of these drawn out episodes of being lonely all night until the rage and sadness consumes me. The odd thing is I always feel better for it afterwards - the joy I feel in my life in the weeks after one these episodes leads me to think that it may be a useful process of unconscious feeling being released into consciousness (thereby no longer having a controlling influence on my personality and experience). The day after insomnia (and emotional release) I am more connected, more free, more joyful.

    Most nights I sleep well - deep sleep for 6-10 hours leading me to think there isn't anything physical about the insomnia. Also I have no other day-time symptoms - I am well and balanced emotionally in the day, although I am quite emotional controlled leading me to think I repress many emotions by day that may seek to rise to consciousness by night.

    I am wondering if the insomnia is there to facilitate transfer of unconscious emotion into consciousness as I understand from Sarno that is what unconscious emotion tries to do. My daytime repression strategies are very good - I tend to seek the good, look to the future and put my own needs last. The anger, sadness and bitterness that comes with this behaviour may get stuffed down and have no way out in the daytime while my clever mind stops it. At night I get tired and have less control, resistance and ability to think cleverly. Feelings are more free to come and I am less able to stop them.

    Perhaps I need to let go and stop seeing insomnia as the enemy and instead welcome this healing. I know that often a horrible part of it is the pressure I put on myself to sleep so I can fulfill commitments for other people. I just want to be kind to myself!

    I was wondering:

    Do any of you have experience of insomnia as being a vessel for emotional release (or at least that sleep cannot happen until emotional release has taken place)?

    Do you think my insomnia is TMS related? (Bearing in mind I have had insomnia on and off since my teens and looking back have had TMS pain symptoms on and off for about 15 years.)

    Or is insomnia normal and I just need to relax? I get enough sleep to catch up on good nights and have great daytime energy levels (except for the day just after an episode but even then I always function).

    Thanks in advance people,

  2. Ozzy

    Ozzy Peer Supporter

    Just found this on a psychotherapy website:

    Sleeping difficulties are often linked to stress, worry and anxiety. Sometimes the stress, worry or anxiety is not evidently known, or felt consciously, but when the mind tries to relax the circadian rhythm becomes disrupted as the subconscious part of our minds seeks to deal with the underlying anxiety state. When this is the case, the broken sleeping patterns become the symptom, and by us addressing the cause the symptom will frequently fade away.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ozzy,

    Insomnia is my main symptom right now. I believe that is a TMS equivalent, and therefore, the purpose is to distract us from our emotions. My insomnia became front and center when I was able to get rid of my TMS pain symptoms. So it has emerged as part of the TMS symptom imperative.

    I've made some slow and gradual progress in addressing it by taking a purely TMS approach. I try to accept it and not resist it--get out of bed if not sleeping and do something else. Don't try to sleep. Don't let being sleep deprived get in the way of going about my day. I try not to obsess about it. And I'm journaling, meditating, exercising, doing yoga---all the usual TMS techniques, but not too much focus on this.

    So I agree with the quote above, that we need to address the cause of the symptoms, just as with any type of TMS.

    You seem to be doing really well, having conquered your pain, and you sleep well most nights. I wouldn't worry about an occasional sleepless night. It will not harm you.
    donavanf, Barb M. and Lizzy like this.
  4. Ozzy

    Ozzy Peer Supporter

    Thanks Ellen.

    I have wondered about it being a TMS equivalent. I'm not sure as the difference with the pain was that I was distracted from the underlying emotion. With insomnia though sleep might distract me adequately. Insomnia on the other hand seems to keep me awake and lead me closer to feeling the underlying emotion. In that way I think it is TMS but very different to my pain symptom. I also think that maybe the brain is triggering production of adrenaline to keep me awake. Perhaps it does act as a distraction as I may work things out in dreams (unconscious processes) but awake the emotion stays conscious.

    Whatever the reason for it, I agree with your attitude towards it - like the pain symptom the more focus that goes on it the worse it gets.

    Usually insomnia happens for me when I am putting pressure on myself so that would point to it being a TMS equivalent. I am trying to be kind to myself but I struggle to let things slide and go out of control!

    Thanks again Ellen!
  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

  7. Ozzy

    Ozzy Peer Supporter

    Thanks. Tonight I've had a huge amount of rage and sadness come up about my wife's lack of intimacy towards me and how alone I've felt for the last 15 years plus anger at how much she and my two young kids (and myself) demand of me. Being provider and dad to my three loved ones is something I cherish but is also really hard work especially when my wife (the only adult of the three) avoids closeness with me (something I need) but I can't bear to leave my beautiful children and face separation - I've poured so much time, love, money and effort into my home, my business and my family I can't let go of it all but I need intimacy with a woman. I've tried for so many years to make myself wrong for wanting an intimate relationship of reciprocity with my wife but now I feel I deserve it (TMS has taught me that). I'm caught in a web of beauty and it hurts! I've had less than two hours of sleep and now onwards with a day of work and being gentle with myself! The night time is allowing me clarity of my emotions but not rest and I am getting quite exhausted by it...

    Please post if you can shed light of what is happening with me - I have faith that it is part of the healing process but sometimes I worry that the intensity of the emotional outpouring is too much and I just want sleep!!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
    Maribel likes this.
  8. Ozzy

    Ozzy Peer Supporter

    Insomnia might act to break down the coping boundaries around emotions that keep them held in and repressed. the ability to logically distract myself is massively decreased at night/when tired/when less distractions of people and daytime events. I believe this to be healing but god does it hurt.
  9. sam908

    sam908 Peer Supporter

    I think that somewhere, Dr. Sarno states that insomnia could be linked to the fear of death; i.e., anger that we are mortal and that our time here is temporary - - especially among older people.
  10. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    From what I understand, the insomnia I have is a great distraction from repressed emotions I am not aware of. If I toss and turn and worry about all the things I can think of and dwell on things I am angry about then the mind has kept me "safe" from the emotions that I am not aware of. Just the same way anxiety, panic attacks and physical pains aren't about things ws do feel, but are to keep us from feeling the repressed things.

    Hopefully some of the experienced members can tell us if this is true.
  11. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    From a Chinese meridian body clock perspective - the peak time at might is for gallbladder (11-1:00) and liver (1:30) and lung ( 3:50). When these meridian energy is not flowing properly you get disrupted emotions. Gall is indecision, liver is anger and lung is grief!!!

    Isn't that interesting that these are your exact emotions!! I researched all these because I also have insomnia and I am also in an non-intimate relationship / marriage.
  12. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    As a tennis player you must know that feeling when a tennis ball hits you exactly in your centre and your indecision makes you stand still rather than moving to the left or right of it to hit it!

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