Last January I shared my experience with insomnia. A quick recap is that it’s something i’ve dealt with since I was thirteen and it usually raises it’s ugly head when i’m stressed or worried.. but sometimes it’s just there. I’ve always found it stressful in itself which usually gets me stuck in a loop of worried and stressed in case I can’t sleep results in being unable to sleep. It also seems to be more prominent at this time of year for reasons unknown and I do take medication for it, but sometimes it doesn’t help. At the moment I’m going through a bad patch of it that started when I lost my Grandad last month. But what’s different about this time (and the reason for this post) is the fact I’m riding it out without becoming stressed during the night. The reason for this? Elsa, my cat.
I’ve had Elsa for little over two months and already she’s celebrated Christmas & New Year with us, and has been a comfort for me during the mourning of my grandfather. I know a lot of people are under the impression that cats are aloof and can be very unfriendly but this is not the case with Elsa. She’s a very affectionate cat that allows me to cuddle and kiss her whenever I need to. She sits on my lap, sleeps on my chest when I’m lying on the sofa, she follows me around and even allows Little Miss to show her love through some very un-cat-friendly carrying and over enthusiastic hugs. But the main point is, she sleeps on my bed. In fact, she quite often sleeps in the crook of my legs. Even now as I write this at eleven in the morning she’s chose to sit beside me on the bed. Yes I admit, she does enjoy when we go out in the afternoon and she can sleep in peace (mainly because Little Miss likes to get into her bed in the lounge) but she is so happy when we come back. She even comes up into the bathroom with me when I have a bath or shower, usually she sleeps on the floor by the radiator but I do thoroughly enjoy the company. Having Elsa around in the evening has made me realise just how lonely I was after LM goes to bed at seven.
But the special thing about Elsa is she keeps me calm. In the past when I’ve been unable to sleep at night I’ll be up and down the stairs making hot drinks, I’ll be up making notes, playing on my phone or watching something on my iPad. The more stressed I’ve become the harder it has been to go back to sleep. Hell I’ve seen myself taking a hot bath at 2am to try and relax me, or getting up at 6am for a shower since I know i’ll never get to sleep. But during this period of unrest, the first one with Elsa in our home, I’ve found that within two hours I’ll have managed to fall back to sleep. Simply by cuddling and talking to her. Yes, it probably seems crazy to anyone who doesn’t have a pet but just having this silent furry friend with me at night has helped me combat one of the worst things about insomnia, the stress of being unable to sleep.
I’ll probably always go through life with insomnia, but having Elsa is definitely helping me keep more of a level head about it. I find because I have managed to get back to sleep I’m a lot less cranky, I don’t feel like napping during the day and I’m not relying on 20 cups of coffee to keep me going (which is great news now i’m on Slimming World!) Having Elsa in my life just makes me feel for the moment, our little family is complete. I’d always read that pets can help you lead a more stress free life, and now I can actually say that I’m living proof of this.. at least as far as my insomnia is concerned anyway. If you’re considering getting a cat, I say go for it. Don’t believe everything you hear about them being unloving and independent, they do still offer unconditional love!
Do you have a pet, if so, what kind?