vulnerable awakening

May 13, 2013Karen Courcy

tumblr_mjvjzpKJ2G1rttw4ro1_1280For the past couple of years or so I have been waking up in the middle of the night crying out of my sleep.

It’s not every night – but enough times during the week that leaves me feeling exhausted and frustrated.

When I wake I don’t usually understand why it’s happening, and half the time I fall right back to sleep and don’t recall it the next morning unless it was really hard.

lately I have had a few of those hard moments, and it has gotten to the point that some nights I am afraid to go to bed in fear  that I will wake up in such a vulnerable place that I don’t understand, so I push myself to complete exhaustion.

It’s no surprise to many people that I am not fond of emotions. I couldn’t even say the word “cry” when I first started therapy, and it took years to have tears in therapy for the first time.

Tears and emotions were not something welcomed in my family without there being some kind of guilt or shame attached to it, so you can only imagine that to me – crying was voodoo.

Like many other things I have learned in healing in the past 6 years is how to honor my emotions and let them be okay, and I have gotten better about showing and talking about my emotions, but when they show up out of a sleep and it startles me to the point of not understanding why – it’s frustrating.

My therapist and I talk about this quit a bit. It happens to me at least 2-3 times a week, and he explained to me that when I sleep that is my most vulnerable state of being.

I am good at keeping myself at bay with my boundaries and small walls that surround me through the day, and when I sleep, those walls lower. When I sleep those emotions find its way out through the small open cracks that are not covered called – vulnerability.

I notice when I am having a harder time, the tears show up more vs when I am feeling a little more empowered or relieved.

Sometimes I will wake up with small tears and catch it before it turns into a full-blown cry and just fall back to sleep, and other times I wake up sobbing and can’t stop to the point of getting up and being completely distraught.

A good friend of mine (who is also a therapist in her career) seems to think that those feelings are repressed – deep deep feelings that still reside inside of me that are trying to find a way out – which would make sense given the work my therapist and I are working on right now.

I hold onto my emotions inside so much that I can only imagine what is going on inside when I sleep. I am at my most vulnerable when I shut down and sleep and that is when they show up the most.

I think the inner self work that my therapist and I are starting to work on may help this a little and maybe it will happen less, but it’s hard, it’s truly hard, but like any other part of my healing, it always gets the hardest before it gets better.

It’s like what nightmares are for other people except I wake up crying, and to me crying is a nightmare as I hate emotions.

I looked up some information on crying in or upon waking up from sleep and it talks about repressed emotions that are subconscious; emotions that are too deep to being out in the present.

I will continue to be open to this as a part of my journey. There is something about this that needs understanding and healing, and I think the more I pay attention to it, the more I can grow to understand it, and understanding will lead to healing, and healing will lead to less fear around the understanding.

or maybe I need to make myself more vulnerable in the now, so that my mind, soul, heart and body can rest at night – something to think about.


  • Hanna D

    May 14, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Karen, and what a great step in writing about it.

    Emotions that have no way out find a way to come out whether we want them to or not. You are holding a lot and have been in the past year and it only makes sense something big inside is going on and it’s looking for an outlet. I think the more you talk about it, and the more you work with it, the less you will find those moments happening in your sleep.

    I can’t imagine how scary it is to wake up in that state – but at the same time, it’s something inside trying to tell you something – listen within


  • Pete Sabotka

    May 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I often wake up in almost a panic for no real reason. No dreaming that I remember. Sorry to hear of this, but very well written as always

  • Gel

    May 15, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    You write about this beautifully. Though it is a hard subject to experience.

    I wake up sometimes with dread. But sometimes it has been a wake up to what is really bothering me. I hate the feeling of dread and panic.

    With regards to making yourself more vulnerable in order to let the feelings come out, I wonder what you’d do ….to make yourself more vulnerable?

    For me it is to be present in my body and to pay attention to the feelings there….emotions are very physically based. When I’ve done this, it’s amazing what feelings emerge and sometimes letting myself move with them has helped let them out.

    Blessings to you.

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!

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