My Brother Wrecked My Sleep for 50 Years

Michael Boyd
4 min readSep 14

One scream. 50 years of sleepless nights. A story of trauma, understanding, and the reclaiming of peace.

Photo is yours truly with my older brother Martin (circa 1970–72). Apparently, I’m struggling to stay awake. 🤣 (Photo taken by our Dad and his Polaroid and cleaned up with AI).

The world offers moments that shape us, carving out the contours of our personalities, fears, and joys. Some of these moments are grand, sweeping, and cinematic. Others are small, seemingly insignificant, but they linger, echoing in the chambers of our minds for decades. For me, one such moment was defined by a scream. A scream that shattered the peace of a 7-year-old’s sleep and set the tone for the next half-century of restless nights.

I remember that day with a clarity that’s almost painful. The sun had set, and I was nestled in my bed, lost in the kind of deep, untroubled sleep that only children seem to know. And then, without warning, Martin — my older brother who is ten years my senior and has struggled with his mental health — decided it would be an apt moment to scream right up close to my face. The shock of it jolted me awake, my heart pounding, my eyes wide with terror. In that moment, the safety of sleep was stolen from me, replaced with a sense of vulnerability that would haunt me for years to come.

For the next 50 years, I evolved into what some might term a “light sleeper,” but that term doesn’t quite capture the depth of my affliction. Every creak of the floor, rustle of leaves, or distant car horn would jerk me awake. My body would tense, anticipating an unknown threat. Was it an intruder? A memory? The uncertainty lingered.

It’s not about “getting over it” or “moving on.” It’s about understanding the deep-rooted patterns of thought and behavior that have been ingrained over years, even decades. These patterns have a profound influence on our well-being, emotions, and responses to different life events. Recognizing and addressing them isn’t a superficial task; it’s a deep, introspective journey of healing and transformation. Finding ways to rewrite those patterns is essential for genuine progress and recovery. For me, the journey to reclaiming my sleep was long and arduous, but it began with a few crucial steps.

Acknowledging the Trauma:

The first step was to recognize and validate my experience. For years, I’d brushed off that childhood incident as just another episode linked to my brother’s…

Michael Boyd

Co-owner of Battle Born Grooming Co., sharing my insights on entrepreneurship, personal growth, and fighting against Goliaths.