54,500 Sheep… 54,501 Sheep… 54,502 Sheep… INSOMNIA!
I’d love to sleep like this, but I can’t. Doctors have tried numerous over-the-counter and prescription aids. I’ve read multiple books on healthy sleep habits. I’ve used a sound machine, played a video of the ocean, ear phones and meditation music, hugged a stuffed animal. My diet was changed. I stopped drinking caffeine and alternated the temperature of my bedroom. Exercise, yep, I’m doing it. Meditation is great but not for my insomnia. I’m not sitting awake worrying. My life is going well. Nothing works. AHHHHH!
I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 1981. Truth be known, I actually have Complex PTSD although at the time they didn’t have that diagnosis. The hows and whys of this are not important for this writing. I’m telling you this because it and some wacky thinking on my part are the reasons for my insomnia.
I am so hyper-vigilant (on edge waiting for something inevitably horrible to happen) that any noise or movement jolts me awake with a startle. Then I’m up for several hours until I can no longer keep my eyes open. With any luck, I will return to some kind of sleep. Some nights this cycle takes an hour or two, other nights I’m up all night.
The less sleep I get the more my thinking becomes derailed. Things that normally would not bother me become monumental. I start taking things more personally and become defensive. Skills and determination take a sharp decline and old thoughts of self-doubt and self-scrutiny flourish and will spiral out of control if I don’t intervene.
I’ve tried many techniques and mild to wacky interventions to help me or force me to sleep. Occasionally, I think I’ve hit the right combination of circumstance, rituals and mind-set only to find it was all a fluke. I can blame my mattress, my hubby, the cat, the noise level in the room, hormones or any number of elements. While some of this is probably a contributing factor the end result is me and a need to find a way within myself to work with who I am now in a non-judgmental way.
Sleep eludes me. So I try to spin it positive. The house is quiet, I can write. There is time to process my day and goals for the future. There is quality time with my cat. All nice things but sleep would be greatly appreciated.
So, I am curious both as an insomniac and a therapist, what have you tried when facing insomnia? Did it work?
Maybe there are some techniques or home reminds I’m not familiar with. If you have any I’d love to compile them for anyone who needs aid. Myself included. Sweet dreams!
Posted on April 15, 2013, in The Therapist is in and tagged caffeine, counting sheep, habits, Insomnia, meditation, music, ocean, post traumatic stress disorder, prescriptions, PTSD, self doubt, sleep. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.