I’m writing this at 6:12am, and I haven’t been to sleep yet. This is bad, even for me. I feel ill because I’m so tired, you know.. sick, shakey, yet my brain.. no matter what I do.. will not shut off. This is a common thing for me. So many nights do I lie awake willing my brain to just stop whizzing and whirling around so I can simply catch a few hours sleep. It’s usually worse after a few good nights of sleep, I managed three this week and now I’m paying for it with one night where it appears that I won’t be sleeping at all.
I have always had an unhealthy relationship with sleep, even when I was quite young. It started with associating sleep with dying. I’d force myself to stay up all night for fear if I fell asleep I’d die. I was afraid of that big black nothingness that comes from sleep. Then at thirteen I suffered from my first bout of insomnia. It was the summer before I was due to start high school and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. I used to go to bed between nine and ten, fall asleep then awake at 1am and that would be it. It went on for weeks. I used to have to go downstairs and lie on the sofa so I didn’t wake my sister that I shared a room with. I’d either read or watch movies with the volume down low. Of course at that age I couldn’t take sleeping meds so the doctor just made my mum buy herbal remedies for me. Once I started school and was able to see it wasn’t as bad as I thought, I slept again. But from here on out, I was an insomniac. Whenever I was worried about something, I wouldn’t sleep. On and off throughout my teens this happened sometimes the odd night, sometimes for weeks on end.
I can’t remember the last time I relaxed and I have knots of stress in my shoulder so hard that when my sister felt them she suspected that’s why my neck and back hurt at times. The nights I do fall into that deep sleep, I have nightmares. Horrible nightmares about plane crashes or this same recurring dream about someone breaking into my house. I no longer go into that deep sleep, so even when I sleep on and off for a decent period of time, I wake up exhausted because it hasn’t been that “quality” sleep you need to feel refreshed.
Since my break up i’ve gone through long bouts of insomnia due to having anxiety. I’ve sought many remedies from talking, to over the counter meds, to herbal teas but it’s just seems to have gradually gotten worse. Especially since the start of December. At first I put it down to the general stress of Christmas but I’m not sure what my problem is now… well.. that’s a lie and what I’m about to write down is going to sound ridiculous..
One of my main causes of anxiety and sleeplessness is the fear that Little Miss or myself are going to fall ill and die.
Even writing it down I feel stupid. But it is a fear that completely consumes me so that every day I freak out at the slightest twinge from my body or when Little Miss even slightly bumps her head. This isn’t a new thing for me, as I mentioned before my unhealthy relationship with sleep stems back to worrying if I fell asleep I wouldn’t wake up again, but for the past few months.. well since it became 100% Little Miss and I, this has slowly taken over my conscious and subconscious. It doesn’t just affect my sleep, it really affects my anxiety too. I just need to read about someone dying of something and I have a panic attack, same goes the moment I show signs of falling ill. It’s got to the point I’m so paranoid that I wouldn’t even know if I ever did become genuinely ill because I’m thinking about it all the time that I always have psychosomatic symptoms of something. I’m a mess.
So I succumbed to a doctors visit on Friday, and of course with the usual way of the NHS I was granted 15 minutes to talk about it. The woman didn’t seem to think I was genuinely ill (neither does my mother for that matter) at least not ill with anything that is killing me, and surely you’d think that would be a comfort, no of course not. Anyway, I walked away with some anti depressants which seemingly also help with anxiety, panic attacks and will hopefully work as a sedative to knock me out. I never for a second wanted to be here, this for me as a weakness and although I’m not depressed, I’m going to give anything a try if it means a better quality of life and some real deep sleep. I have been putting off taking them due to my worry of the side affects.. mainly because I’m sure my parenting suffers due to my inability to sleep let alone tablet side affects on top of it. Also I read somewhere not to take them with cold and flu meds which I’m currently taking to offset the cold I have. So I’m starting tomorrow, cold or no cold. And I hope finally I can have some peace of mind.
I’ve decided to share my sleep problems with my readers today, in a vain hope it’ll help getting it down on paper as it has in the past when I’ve written about more serious topics. Maybe in some selfish way I hope someone will come forward and tell me i’m not alone with my daily worries and woes. Because I can tell you all now, at 6:40 in the morning when everyone else is still asleep or just waking up feeling refreshed and I haven’t even managed 10 measly minutes of shut eye, I feel very much alone.