Rose and I rearranged the house over the weekend. PTSD trauma stuff often has the same settle and flare pattern as chronic illness, and there’s a flare lately which is killing sleep. So, it’s a good time to work on the sleeping space.
I had my art studio set up in the master bedroom of my unit, and a queen size bed stuffed into the small room. Unfortunately this meant the bed was pushed against a wall, so whoever slept that side had to clamber over the other one to get in and out. We swapped sleeping sides depending on who was feeling the most fragile about feeling trapped. Now we’ve got the reverse, the bed in the master room with space on three sides for leaping in and out, and my studio table in the small room. It’s a brilliant change and is making tough nights just a little easier.
We also get to open the widow in this room as it faces the front of the house – the other room faces the back and Zoe destroys those screens when there’s thunder and she panics in the yard. A cool breeze during trauma stuff is super welcome, as is being able to lie in bed and look out at the garden instead of into a shed.
There’s not enough room in the smaller room for all my art supplies, so our bedroom has shelves of brushes and turps, which is also helping. Sometimes if trauma has a link to a particular room it helps a lot to do things that make the space feel really different. So it’s not a straight bedroom, it’s a bedroom-art-studio with paints in the drawers and ink paintings on the walls.
There’s still nightmares and distress and broken sleep. But these gestures help a little, in between them there’s content mornings reading in bed with the cats. And the fresh realisation that the patterns and arrangement of your life exists for you, if it’s hurting instead of helping you don’t just have to grit your teeth and struggle. However unconventional it may be, you find something that works for you. There’s things you can’t change, and things you can.