Sunday, December 11, 2011

Insomnnia As Always

I have been an insomniac for as long as I remember.  When I was a little kid, I had lots of distractions in my room because my parents went to sleep long before I did and they didn't want me to leave my room.  Video games, TV, books, puzzles, toys, etc kept me busy into the wee hours of the morning.  When I was younger I used to wear it as a badge of honor: "Yeah, I only slept for 2 hours last night and I'm fine."  But as I've grown older it had become less of a cause for bragging rights and more of a medical concern. 

I have tried several over the counter sleep aids, natural supplements, teas and techniques with varying success.  Physical exams and home sleep studies have shown that there is nothing medically wrong with me and that my problem is likely psychological.  I am a stressed out person.  I do not think my life is any more stressful than the average person but  that doesn't prevent me from obsessing over things.  When I was younger my life was very stressful and unfortunately that is when I developed this problem.  

I think people are looking at me when they probably aren't.  I replay conversations in my head.  I have imaginary arguments with people.  Sometimes it feels like at the end of the day, when I have nothing left to do, all the stresses come rushing back and fill my brain with ridiculous thoughts.  Melatonin has been a lifesaver in helping me fall asleep but I generally wake up 2-3 hours later with heart palpitations.  Stress tests and a cardiologist have confirmed that I don't have a heart problem and, of course, this is likely a stress reaction as well.  

My husband thinks I need to see a psychotherapist to get to the root of my sleep problems once and for all.  I have avoided seeing a therapist for all my life.  My brother and mother saw shrinks regularly and both of them seemed more screwed up because of it.  I know that there is nothing wrong with getting therapy and I don't judge people negatively for doing it but somewhere in my mind it would make me weak.  That's ridiculous but that's how I feel.  

I know that stress and sleep can affect your metabolism and your ability to lose weight.  I know that I have damaged my body with all of these years of stress and that if I don't figure things out soon I will have no choice but to take Ambien or some other prescription drug that will not solve the problem but will treat the symptoms to the point that I can function.  With all the exercise that I do, I know that my body does not have ample time to recover.  I'm sure my lack of sleep is related to my slow recovery from relatively mild injuries.    

So I've decided on a compromise.  I'm going to try a self-hypnosis sleep CD along with the melatonin.  Hopefully it will work but if it doesn't, I will make an appointment with a psychotherapist.  It would be great to be able to relax and let go of things.  

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