Sleeping with my Sister

For most of my life, I have had sleep problems, including delaying going to bed, snapping wide awake as my head hits the pillow no matter how tired I am, and wakening frequently throughout the night in a state of alarm.

I have examined this problem many times, tried various remedies and suggestions, gone to bed early, gone to bed late, eaten black cherries, nuts and oats, drowned in Camomile tea. Tried silence, tried music. Light on, light off. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Then, last week, I was watching a few of the excellent short videos Carol Tuttle produces as part of her Dressing Your Truth series. It was an attempt to lull myself to sleep. To help me relax, ready for zzzzeds.

It wasn’t any one thing, but a few things she and her daughter chatted about that resonated with me and got me thinking. Perhaps it was time to revisit my childhood, something usually painful, so usually avoided.

This time I went there, and I remembered….

Sleeping with my Sister

Sometimes the blood-curdling scream, sometimes the kick in the gut
Always sudden, always brutal.
Jackknifed forward by the gut pain, to meet the fingers, curled like talons,
Slashing out to rip the eyes out.
Afraid to open lids in case they’re gone, sockets gaping.
Tasting blood on lips, feel it trickle down from forehead.
This is no way to be awakened in the dark night.

Sometimes shrill, shrieking screams, sometimes guttural, gasping growls
Curses raining down like blows.
Starting up to reach the light switch, meeting headbutts, bites and punches
Vicious kicks and frantic lashings.
Calling out now, fear a mirror of terror crouching on the pillow.
Light revealing wide, gaping mouth, jaw breaking with the tension,
Eyes wild and vacant seeing something that was not there.

Sitting shivering on the floor, feet tucked under little nightdress
Heart beating hard and fast now
Tears held in knots of pain between shaking shoulders
While mother lies beside my sister, soothing coo-ing, stroking better
Nightmare gone, I was a part of, forgotten now as sleep resumes unbroken.
My heart reaches out to hold her close now, that little girl
Who was me at five or six or seven.

Sitting waiting, cast out of cosy, teeth a-chattering, heart a-hurting.
I hold her now, as I would have then, had she been my child.
Having soothed the dreamer, turned to the injured.
Instead, sent back to bed with naught but frustration
What did you do? What did you say?
Get back to bed, she’s sure to sleep now.
Don’t you disturb her, just go to sleep.

Go to sleep! You must be joking! Hormones of flight run amok
Afraid to sleep, awaiting repeat of pattern.
The light switched off, in dark of night, still able to see that frightful sight
A nightmare’s terror in face and body, a sleeping child
Who sees me, but as a monster.
Hold me now, please hold me now.
Honour my pain as well as hers.
And for pity’s sake buy me a bed.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lesley
    Apr 13, 2015 @ 15:09:10

    Tragic how things we experience as children can cast shadows long into our adult life 😦
    From my experience there’s a 2 part process, first the lightbulb moment when we figure out why something affects us / why we behave a certain way. But the 2nd part can proove harder – what do we do or feel differently to benefit from that nugget?
    Really pleased you finally have your own bed!!!!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Lizza Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 07:04:06

    Goodness Mum! No wonder you can’t sleep! You poor, poor child xxx

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      Apr 14, 2015 @ 13:10:24

      It’s strange, Liz. Dad knew that story, because I had told him. I knew that is what used to happen, yet I had never made the connection. It was a painful time for me to revisit for many other reasons, so I think I had just not gone there. Now, it seems so obvious. I weep for that poor wee girl that was me.



  3. Claire
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 19:46:38

    I just want to hug that little cold scared hurting girl and shoosh her in my arms to sleep cuddled warm in a blanket. Yes sometimes it is not until you consciously revisit and you realise why, but boy the pain comes rushing back too. Shows how amazing our mind is. It disassociates to preserve. X

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 09:42:49

    And now your all grown up, safe and courageous and in your own bed xx 😊

    Liked by 1 person


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