Insomniac

I’m really struggling at the moment. I’m finding myself in a constant state of exhaustion, but when I take myself to bed at night I can’t sleep. I spend the days feeling like a zombie, going through the motions of work, trying to keep my eyes from closing at my desk… then at night I go to bed and read until my eyelids begin to droop. I turn off the lights and BAM I’m wide awake. I lie there, listening to the church on the corner chiming every hour – 11, 12, 1, 2… I’ve usually dropped off by 3am, granted, but with 5.30am starts that’s just not a viable sleep pattern.

The stupid thing is that I can sleep in the afternoon, no problem. I could sleep in in the morning given the chance. And I sleep at Dapper’s like a baby. It’s just weekday nights that seem to give me that mental block. I’ve always been a night owl, granted, but usually if I’m tired enough nothing on God’s green earth can keep me awake.

I’m also experiencing traumatic dreams when I do drop off. Last night I fell asleep not long after the bell chimed one. At 2am I was pinned to my bed, terrified out of my wits, barely able to move. I’ve been suffering dreams of a similar nature quite frequently, in which I am scared half to death but not of anything tangible. I wake in the same state, unable to turn over, even, for fear of this unseen threat that surrounds me. Something is obviously playing on my subconscious mind, revealing itself (or not!) through nightmares.

I don’t like feeling out of control of my emotions (although I fear that the unseen threat might relate to my feeling a loss of control over much of my life of late – and not all in a negative way, either) and being unable to properly identify the issue here is driving me to distraction. I think I might need to sit down with a big sheet of paper and some felt tip pens, and work through what’s going on with me sometime very soon. If I can find the time to spend on myself, that is…

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7 thoughts on “Insomniac

  1. Poor you! That sounds pants. I don’t want to teach you how to suck eggs, but how’s your sleep hygiene routine? Daft as it may sound sometimes we all need a reminder to try some of grandma’s old home remedies, warm milk, nice lavender-scented bath, tv/computer off of an hour before bed, etc. Although, sounds like you’re probably right on the money re: something probably playing on your mind. Good idea to sit down with a big sheet of paper, may even be worth dividing it into, thoughts, feelings, physical reaction and behaviour. You know, get all CBT on yourself maybe. Might help clear the fuzz x

  2. Oh, I feel like I could’ve written this myself: every night I go to bed thinking I’m tired enough to sleep… then my brain goes “ding!” and I lie there awake for hours, thinking about all kinds of random crap that really doesn’t need to be thought about at 2am! And then the dreams! Mine aren’t always nightmares, but they’re so vivid I wake up feeling like I haven’t actually had any rest. Needless to say, being in the same boat means that I have no actual advice here, but I do sympathise: I hope it sorts itself out soon!

  3. I’m hoping to see a homeopath next month to start treating my insomnia… I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m at my wits end with it too… Also concerned about the impact it’s having on the rest of my health… getting less than 6 hours sleep on a regular basis (which I do) can cause all sorts of serious health problems. I’m determined to sort it out this year.

  4. I think the big sheet of paper idea is a really good one, and it’s not a matter of waiting for some time to do it – TAKE some time to do it, even if it means calling in sick to work or something. I suffered from insomnia last year when I was stressed too – not in quite the same way in that I’d drop off to sleep okay but wake up a few hours later and get gradually more and more freaked out until it was time to get up.

    It might be worth talking to your GP as well and referring yourself to something like IAPT http://www.iapt.nhs.uk It can be really difficult to work out what is at the root of anxiety – I suppose it’s one of our coping strategies – so it might be helpful to have someone totally impartial to talk to. I know since I have been seeing a counsellor I’ve come to realise that all sorts of things I wasn’t even fully aware of were feeding into my anxiety. It’s about having the space to slow down, think, and explore your feelings. You’re worth that, so take the time and do it. As Louise says, insomnia will have an effect on your health. I’m still recovering physically from the anxiety that made last year so hard, and you know yourself that you need to slow down for your health too.

    You know where I am if you need anything x

  5. The very wise Roisin has said everything that I can think of. I’m a person whose sleep becomes affected when there are things on my mind, too, and know just how relentless a phase of poor quality sleep can feel. So, yes, *take* the time to try to deal with things. And take some gentle hugs, too, flower. x

  6. Just to rule it out, there’s no potential pitter-patter of little feet? Insomnia not such an issue when I was pregnant but there were intense dreams and heavy lethargy.

  7. Following on from Roisin, lack of sleep can sometimes be the thing that is making the underlying issue just that bit more difficult to cope with, perpetuating the cycle. Iapt is a great, practical, CBT-style approach to solving the problem by tackling, usually the easiest of the four aspects of any human condition, our own behaviour or response to any given situation. Usually, small changes to how you react to triggers can make all the difference, which has a knock-on effect to how you think and feel, emotionally as well as physically. Also, exercise in the fresh air or swimming are great ways to promote healthy sleep, along with (boringly) avoiding alcohol, as this does not induce a natural sleep, but I’m sure you know all that being fabulously intelligent as you are. I have tons of resources on this type of thing, occupational hazard, if you need anything give me a buzz x

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