Something has to change, I can’t keep going on like this. I’ve psyched myself out so much that I just don’t sleep. Well, I sleep, but it doesn’t seem to be for more than a few hours at a time. My obsessive brain won’t shut down. It usually takes me 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep, and I wake frequently during the night. Then the brain activates and it takes a while to shut it all down again…and again…and again.
I have conversations repeatedly in my head, occasionally, so many times, that I forget the conversation never occurred. Just ask DJ how many times I’ve said, “I told you that already.” I rehearse scenarios, play out a variety of outcomes, which is ridiculous because scenes rarely play out like I rehearse and I frequently overlook the actual outcome. I believe this is because the conversation in my head is one-sided, even if I am conversing both voices.
I also worry about everything I think I should have gotten done in the day, what I forgot to do, and what needs to be on the list for tomorrow. And like the conversations in my head, I visualize doing all the stuff that needs doing, so really, I should be exhausted. I work really hard. In my head.
I haven’t always been a light sleeper. I’ve never been a deep sleeper, or one who falls asleep quickly and easily either. But, this problem intensified during my pregnancy with Wendell. There is truth in what they say about pregnancy being practice for after the baby comes. I was up every couple of hours going to the bathroom. Then of course once Wendell came into the picture, I was up every couple of hours to feed and change him. And being a child with a Naso-gastric Tube, a continuous feeding pump at night, and therefore heart and lung monitor, I tended to sleep with one ear and one eye open all night.
Wendell was never a colicky baby, he never woke up crying or screaming, he rarely fussed at all. He also wasn’t a toddler who left his crib or bed, and he never wandered around his room or the house. HE always sleeps through the night, even to this day! One would have thought I could adjust, but after 13 plus years, it hasn’t happened yet.
Then DJ came along, he snores horribly, in spite of a sinus surgery that was supposed to correct the problem. I would sleep with one ear plug to muffle some of the noise, but because I still needed to be able to hear Wendell, I couldn’t sleep with both ears plugged. Fortunately, DJ was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and now he has a CPAP (Continuous Pressurized Air Pump) machine. The only sound I hear from him is the quiet, constant whoosh of his pump. Sometimes I wake in the middle of a wind storm with my hair blowing all over my face to find that DJ has turns to face me and is blowing cold air all over me. And sometimes his mask leaks, but I’ll take these problems over the noise of his snoring. But, I’m still faced with the problem of falling back to sleep.
Also part of my problem is Restless Leg Syndrome. But I have found if I don’t eat a lot of sweets during the day, and nothing much at all after 8 pm, those tics and twitches are minimized. Hot flashes were a problem for a while, but I have those mostly controlled with Black Cohosh as recommended by one of my friends. I still get them, but the intensity is reduced. Anxiety over not sleeping enough also contributes, that brain going on and on, never quite switching off.
I’ve tried Melatonin, it doesn’t work for me. Over the counter sleep aids do work, but aren’t designed for long term use. I kept waking DJ up with my hallucinations about bugs in the bedroom and on the walls, and I started sleep walking. So I quit taking them. And because of the reaction to the OTC meds, I’m very reluctant to take a prescription medication. Relaxation and meditation tapes help, but I don’t stay asleep. I also don’t do the alcohol thing. I haven’t tried warm milk yet, that might be my next home remedy solution.
I guess until I find a long term solution, I’ll just have to continue to go back to bed after Wendell leaves for school, and nap in the afternoon when he comes home from school and decides he wants a nap. Good night!