Insomnia has played a Machiavellian role in the drama concerning my health, be it obviously or by underhand methods, sleep deprivation has made my condition worsen over the years so I finally accepted meds to help me sleep through the night and after nearly five long years I feel more in control than ever.
The breaking of my sleep pattern at first was not sinister, I awoke in the middle of the night and was unable to fall back to sleep until around 6am. I had a lot going on in my life so I dismissed this as ‘normal’. A year or so later I slept until 4am and instead of just lying in bed (during the summer months) I decided to put on my running shoes and get fit. The hours of sleep decreased again and in 2012 I was only managing a couple of hours of sleep per night until my sleep disappeared altogether.
In November 2012 I had racked up a huge iTunes bill with my endless searching for chill out or relaxing music, a month later I was experiencing sleep deprived schizophrenia like hallucinations and I stopped looking for soothing music and began downloading loud EDM, Trance, Techno and other strange sounding music that would dull out the sounds in my head.
It was around then that I stopped taking the train.
Out of nowhere my anxiety levels shot up and I could not leave my house. I was alone during the day and all through the night. All I heard everywhere was a cacophony of sounds, the worst sounding noises I could imagine, on loop, going around my head, never giving up. A combination of laughter, barking, babies wailing, high frequency, shouting and a few bars of a song I could not identify. It all ended when on New Years eve when I arrived at the door of the friend whose party I had said I would not attend whilst my phone rang with the other friend wondering where I was? I had no idea how I had set out for one house yet ended up at the front door of another. A few days later I was swiftly administered an anti-anxiety/low dose anti-depressant.
My sleep pattern improved somewhat and I was given a higher dose anti-whatever drug (they say it is an SSRI for your anxiety that can help with PMS when the packaging tells you it is for depression) and this had a nasty side affect of …. yep insomnia. In the March 2013 a cyst burst inside me and I found myself in A&E. I was given opiates for the pain and soon the codeine I took daily began to give me hallucinations again so I tried NSAID’s which did little or nothing for me.
Everyone knew about my sleep problems as I was constantly awake, online searching for something natural to cure my sleep problems or just passing the time. I stopped eating properly, I took too many meds due to being awake most of the day which resulted in the lining of my stomach burning out – OUCH! I was deeply unhappy.
I was a disorientated, hysterical and pained mess.
In 2014 in a desperate attempt not to drop out of university I was given sedatives to take as and when I needed them. I had two doses 2mg and 5mgs which either calmed me enough to board a train, go out in public places or sleep like a log through the night. I managed very well on these until I realised that taking the SSRI was supposed to relieve these problems and each month I was suffering a terrible drop in hormone causing insomnia, depression, suicidal thoughts and night terrors. I decided to ditch the SSRI when the summer ended having endured the worst two years of my life. By December I felt so much better and was experiencing enough sleep to get by on and had a more positive outlook for 2015.
Separating the mental and physical pain
As this year began I slept most nights only waking two or three times, then two weeks before menstruation I would wake in pain and trigger a cycle of despair lasting days until the pain subsided. Having trialled the most common treatments for PMS, PMDD & Chronic Pain I asked my GP if there was anything left for me. ‘How are you sleeping?’ she asked. I expressed that I knew some of my pain was caused by tiredness and poor diet but I really did not want an anti depressant. She assured me that she was prescribing a med for insomnia which also doubled up as a pain reliever … Hmmm? I had heard all this before….. Finally I agreed to a few months trial and see how I felt. She knew that I was eager to return to work by Christmas and was undergoing CBT sessions. I agreed that sleeping would improve my general health and monthly cycle.
I sleep at night
I was surprised by how relaxed I felt an hour after taking my new med. It felt like sedation so I allowed the familiar feeling to wash over me. In the morning I could not believe I had slept through the night. The last time I slept was after my Laparoscopy and my body was traumatised and exhauster after the surgery! The feeling is amazing and I could not believe that I had not woken once during the night. The second night was the same, the third I experienced some restless leg before drifting off but otherwise I slept.
Each night is fantastic. I am eager to tell Dr D. at my next CBT session. I feel my thoughts are much definitely clearer and I have a little more energy.