I just wanna here what other people with PTSD think may help. I've spoken with health professionals and followed their recommendations, but they didn't help me.
generally, my PTSD is doing great. I've made great progress and it doesn't affect my daily life much anymore... except for one big thing: I have trouble falling asleep. That's a massive understatement. This is a long term issue and missing sleep has had a serious impact on my health - mental and physical.
The issue is that I can't fall asleep. I don't get tired until very late in the night. If I am tired, there is something inside of me keeping me awake... sometimes the processing that never takes a break, sometimes it's anxiety and one stream of my thoughts always dedicated to planning the future and worst-case scenarios, sometimes hyper-vigilence ( to me, in this context, it's the sense that I can't sleep because something might happen while I'm asleep and I need to be there for that), sometimes it's an intense fear of entering the world of sleep and nightmares, and sometimes it's emotional exhaustion because if I don't sleep, I'll get more rest and "down time" before tomorrow.
Having a "healthy sleep routine", or suggestions like white noise, as recommended by heath professionals doesn't seem to help because it works up the anxiety i have about sleeping vs. not sleeping. If I turn off the light and put on rain sounds all I think about is sleep. It's torture.
I've tried having a schedule, which works for a while, but I will still miss whole nights of sleep, and I never get a full 8 hours. Probably closer to 4. I eventually have to drop out of school or quit jobs because of the effects of sleep deprivation.
I've tried having a free schedule... just letting myself sleep whenever it happens, and I feel like I get enough sleep, but I always sleep at different times, which means I can't have a job or attend school, and it makes me very isolated... so obviously not a long-term solution. It also still often involves staying awake for long periods of time when I'm too exhausted to do anything enjoyable or productive, which is shitty way to live life, IMO
Most sedatives are pretty much useless, because I am still mentally fighting the sleep. I can stay awake through an extremely high dose of sedatives. My body is sedated, but my mind is still wide awake. I imagine the high strength sedatives would knock me out, but honestly, I'm looking for a long term solution and the risks+costs vs benefits of hardcore sedative doesn't even come close to adding up for me.
I feel like I need to do some mental work to fix this problem... for me it always seems to be mental work.
How can I take the anxiety out of sleeping? Is there a way I can make sleep feel "safe"? Is there a way to get a deep, rejuvenating sleep that I won't wake up from feeling exhausted? Is there some variation of the recommended "healthy sleep routine" that is more suitable for me? Is there a way of changing my state of consciousness into one where sleep is natural (I've had good luck using math flashcards to stop flashbacks)? I'm open minded to anything, and I want to hear it even if it's just a guess or a theory.