Can You Get PTSD From Sleep Deprivation? I’m Kidding. Sorta.
When I was pregnant, it felt like everyone loved to say “Sleep while you can!” or some variation thereof. Always said cheerfully, sometimes with a smirk, but never once did it help me to comprehend the depths of sleep deprivation hell I was about to enter. Our wee beeb did not sleep for more than two hours at a time until she was seven months old. That was when we tried the infamous “cry it out” method, and it worked – she fussed! She never cried hard! She fell right asleep and SLEPT ALL NIGHT LONG! It was a miracle! And it only lasted FOR ONE MONTH. After that, she began waking in the night again, and her night waking lasted until she was five and a half. So when I ask you if it’s possible to have PTSD induced by intense, prolonged sleep deprivation, I’m only halfway kidding. I mean… is it?
It’s been on my mind because we just got a dog, and whether or not the dog was going to be a good sleeper was my BIGGEST worry, by leaps and bounds. It poops on the carpet? We’ve got carpet cleaner. It chews through my Toms? One word: ZAPPOS. But if the thing doesn’t sleep through the night? Just the thought made me panic.
Thankfully, by choosing a rescue dog that was being fostered, we were able to find out all about his behavior before we brought him home, and his description was the main reason we zeroed in on him. I mean, he is a ridiculously cute two year old Basset Hound/Dachshund/Black Lab mix, but DOES HE SLEEP? That was my number one question. I was seriously nervous, because it takes all of two seconds of me thinking about F’s early days of not sleeping for me to conjure up the physical and emotional sensations that tortured me so much back then, and they are really, REALLY uncomfortable. Painful, in fact. About that I am not kidding.
Here’s the happy ending: our new dog sleeps like a champ. He sleeps in our bedroom and sleeps quietly all night long. He has only peed in the house once – on the first day we brought him home – and he’s only chewed one of F’s Toms once. OK, twice. WHATEVS. Our new dog sleeps, our six year old (FINALLY) sleeps, and I feel like myself again.