is it normal to rock yourself to sleep?

I've been wondering this for a very long time, but haven't spoke to anyone about it since I'm pretty embarrassed of it. Ever since I was a child, I've rocked myself to sleep while listening to music. Often times I start daydreaming because of the movement, like rocking side to side while I lay in bed or in a recliner that rocks back and forth. Or when I'm in the car, my head will either bounce against the headrest or my body will rock side to side. 

As a kid, though (elementary school), I only did this before I went to bed or when I was in a vehicle. But since middle school, it's developed into a horrible habit (which is exactly when I started maladaptive daydreaming). I didn't have a good relationship with my dad, since he was very strict with me but didn't treat my brothers the same. I wasn't allowed to hang out with my friends or even talk to them when my dad was around. Everything I did was monitored. Even when my dad was out of the house, he would tell my three older brothers to watch me at all times, so I was never allowed to do things like even leave my bedroom door slightly cracked (unless I was changing, then I was allowed to close it but only for a little bit). If my dad wasn't home to do it, then my brothers always had to be able to look into my room from the hallway to see what I was doing. I started listening to music and rocking back and forth- either in my bed or in the recliner in the living room- for literally several hours a day. I had little to no motivation to do anything else. My mind was the only thing my dad couldn't control and didn't have access to, so I developed an addiction to it. I still struggle with it now. obviously, since if I didn't I wouldn't be writing this blog right now. I live with my mom but when I go to my dad's, unless I'm forced to do something else, I will sit in the recliner all day and listen to music. Only occasionally getting up to eat or use the restroom or watch videos or something. If I don't have at least a couple hours day, even at my mom's, of just listening to music and rocking back and forth until my body gets so tired that I simply can't do it anymore then I will be so drained I can't function at all.

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Comment by Kalliope on December 13, 2021 at 2:20am

Hello there Trinity!

I'm pretty sure you answered your own question right in there. It seems like your surrounding caused you to retreat to a safe space, and instead of running away, you ran into yourself. But just like running away with all that that would entail, you have experienced side effects of retreating into yourself, into MD. It's important you keep acknowledging that this is something like a fight-or-flight reaction, a safety mechanism you adopt when you're feeling invaded at your own home, no privacy, no room to breathe.

But the side effects are a problem for you. Therefore, you need a different route of escape, so you can balance it out a bit. I would recommend that you start to journal. If you get yourself a journal that looks like a school notebook, you could write inconspicuously, looking like you're doing school work. But you could also try to write a story to let the steam out, or try to read novels if your family approves, or do some sports (home training with simple bodyweight sports for example, you might like the repetitiveness of the exercise).

Furthermore, the difference between fantasy and reality is other people. In your fight against having no privacy and your fight against MD and your side effects, try finding other people to share your happiness and your burdens with, in real life or online. Also, maybe try talking to your mum, chances are she might be able to help or give you a new perspective. Be open, people always react differently than what we fantasize about how they would react.

You might have a deep wound inside yourself from feeling so exposed. Switching your gears away from passive to active "safety mechanisms" will help you find your balance, and will help you against MD and seeing everything from a wider perspective.

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