*Trigger warning, mention of SA*

I feel like I’m living in two separate worlds or states of mind. Overall, I feel pretty good about my life. Yes, it’s stressful and I don’t have a lot of free time, but I live with an amazing woman whom I love very much. I feel very fortunate to have met her after more than two decades of feeling unlovable and pretty much accepting that I would never have a partner. She understands me, she cares about me, she loves me. Yesterday I had to stay at work unexpectedly for an extra four hours. She brought me my medications and breakfast. I know this is something that a lot of couples would do for each other, but it means a lot to me. When I’m with her, I feel content.

We usually get to spend a few hours with each other in the mornings before she goes to work, and then I go to sleep around 2:00 pm. This is when my inner world shifts. I do not sleep well (does anyone sleep well during the day?) despite melatonin and my partner’s best efforts to be quiet when she gets home from work. I’ve always had nightmares, but they seem to have gotten a lot worse lately. They range from the ludicrous (giant bed bugs early in my sleep yesterday) to the truly disturbing (being forced to watch while persons unknown to me are sexually abused and being powerless to do anything about it, later in my sleep yesterday).

Sometimes, I can shake off the nightmares fairly easily. Sadly, this has not been the case recently and I feel like they are poisoning my waking hours. I try not to entertain the images, but there’s a haze over my thoughts while I’m getting ready for work and during the first few hours of my shift. Next, I find myself in a fog of discontentment over my life and relationship. I say a fog because when I try to rationally assess my thoughts, I recognize that I truly am happy in my relationship, but it’s like I am compulsively thinking, “I would be better off alone,” or “I’m not meant to be partnered.” This usually persists throughout the night, unless I do something specifically meant to help me snap out of it (looking at pictures of my partner on Facebook helps). Then, when I get home from work, the joy that I feel upon seeing and spending time with my partner drives all of the negative thoughts into their temporary graves, to emerge again upon my awakening at 11:00.

I can’t help but think the nightmares and the distress they cause are the root of the other negative thoughts. I also know that spending about 6 hours completely alone before my clients start to wake up does not help, it just lets things fester in my mind. I do love time alone, but six hours awake and alone in the middle of the night is excessive. Anyone have experience with something like this? Any suggestions on how to cope?