Tag Archives: Insomnia

#Depressedbutdressed an on going battle

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Even when the depression is at its least intrusive it is there.

It is always there.

When I am smiling.

When I am doubled over in laughter.

It is there.

No matter what I am doing, anyone with depression is doing, it is the dark cloud that is always there.

Depression is very tricky. It lets you think that you are not depressed. It reels you into feeling safe.

I am not depressed anymore so I don’t need my medications.

I am not depressed anymore so I can lower my medications.

Sometimes it even lets you stop your medication.

That was when it was the easiest for it to strike again for me.

I don’t even second guess anymore that I need an anti-depressant.

It is just a fact that I do.

I also need an anti-anxiety medication.

Not everyone with depression is the same.

Depression is rarely exactly alike in two people.

I have a friend who when hers flares she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.

When mine is bad, I can’t sleep.

There are areas that people who have depression can relate to.

It makes you feel helpless.

It makes you feel alone.

It makes you feel broken.

Depression is not just sadness. It is so much more than that.

Just like there are different types of people, there are different types of depression.

I was so easily deceived by depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was not explained properly to me so it got a good hold on me before I realized it. Clinical depression does not just mean a chemical imbalance. So much of what I was feeling is also common in OCD, which is my primary diagnosis.  That constant feeling of impending doom, you don’t know why its there but it is. There is no reason for it to be there. Some people get a feeling of despair. For me it has always been that waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling.

This is why I absolutely loved the hashtag depressedbutdressed. It’s creation was my friend Jen’s brain child. Go check her out (http://www.itsnotmyworkout.com/) Depression has many faces and this hashtag is a way of making people realize that.

I don’t remember to use it everyday. It does not have to be something you hashtag you use everyday. Actually I think if you do it looses its effect.

We need more people showing they did the hardest thing that day. They got up , they got dressed even with depression. They may be depressed but they are dressed and that is the hardest thing for someone with depression.

********** feelings of suicide or suicidal thoughts are a very real aspect of depression. If you are having such thoughts there is hope, There is help. There is a national number that can help you get the help you need. YOU DESERVE THE HELP. Don’t think these thoughts will go away and you will be okay. Pick up the phone and call. CALL NOW! 1-800-273-8255 ************************************

”I’m

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Rest when you need rest

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Rest! I can’t rest I have a house to run! I have stuff to do! I have cleaning to get done! Oh and I got to get time in for me and get everyone where they gotta go and think about dinner and I CAN’T POSSIBLY REST!

This is the one area that I am constantly struggling with when it comes to managing chronic pain and illness. I am absolutely horrible at it. Then when I do rest, I feel guilty about resting!

I know I have been doing too much. I know it. I have felt it. I did it anyway. I had a lot to get through. December always brings so much running and doing. I can’t tell you how many times already that we have been double triple or quadruple booked this month.  Of course on some of them we made decisions not to go or not to do it.

I get caught up in wanting to see my daughters reaction to things. To seeing Santa to seeing the Christmas lights. To experiencing it all through her again.

So when I crash. I really really crash. I rarely sleep during the day as I already have soooo much trouble sleeping at night. Today though it wasn’t a choice. It was a demand. My body demanded I nap.  For once when I woke up I felt better. That doesn’t always happen. It tends to happen more when I crash though. This is the second time in five days I have crashed like this. I need to get better at truly resting. Laying down in bed watching tv. Sitting down to write is not resting. I need to just lay down and read or lay down and watch tv. Not try to always engage my brain.  If I need to grab a cat and snuggle and just pay attention to petting the cat, then that is what I need to do.

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It doesn’t do any good to beat myself up more for resting. It doesn’t I know that. This morning though I was feeling guilty about not getting any cleaning done. Not moving the laundry along, not finishing the few dishes , not getting the floors done.  Then I realized I was not getting anything done until I at least attempted to sleep. Sleep I did. I now feel that maybe when I come back home I can get some cleaning done at least do the few dishes and make dinner.

So today I have a renewed motivation to be better at resting. To pace myself better. So that I can better enjoy the season. That even when I make sure to schedule in self care in a walk for myself I need to also schedule in time to rest. To actually rest and to not feel guilty about resting. It is a form of self care and my body needs it more than most. To rest and say, its okay to rest.

The insomniac waltz

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Fibromyalgia brings many joys. Like learning how to do the insomniac waltz. A mixture of sleep deprivation and pain.

 

Get comfy in bed. Got to go pee. Get up to pee. Get comfy in bed.

Five minutes later flip to your left side. Close your eyes again. Deep breathes.

Sleep for maybe thirty minutes. Wake up.

flip to your right side.

Sleep for maybe an hour. Wake up

lay on your back.

Nope lay on your stomach.

Nope lay on your back. Listen to deep sleep meditation. Listen to another one.

Get up have a bowl of cereal.

Count how long its been since last medications. Take some more.

Lay back down. Play Facebook games until can’t keep eyes open.

Go through relaxation techniques. Fall asleep somewhere in the midst.

Sleep for two hours. Not a second more!

Wake up stiff and sore.

Change positions. Scroll Facebook.

Fall asleep.

Thirty minutes later……

alarm goes off for the day.

Sleep clean sleep

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Last night I was suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion. It wasn’t even a choice. It was you are sleeping now.

I slept for about an hour around six pm. I vaguely had an idea that it was after five. That was about it.

I was able to get back to sleep and sleep until 10:30. By eleven thirty I accepted the fact that I was now awake.

Instead of trying to force sleep I got up. Did a little laundry. Did some dishes. Wiped down counters. Swept the floors. I didn’t think I just did it. Well I did think a little bit. I wanted to vacuum as well but by this time it was almost one am. Probably not the best idea.

By two am I was back in bed.

Sometime around three am I fell back to sleep.

Sometimes you just got to go with what Fibromyalgia and its symptoms gives you.

Sure I would rather have been sleeping. However that wasn’t happening. Tossing and turning is exhausting all on its own.

I am fairly certain that the few hours I did sleep. I slept better than if I had tried to stay in bed and force sleep.

Of course, this only comes from trial and error. Meaning there have indeed been nights that I tried to force sleep.

Life with a chronic illness, add or two or three, requires some trial and error learning.  It is an ebb and flow that takes some practice to finesse.

Sometimes it just throws you lemons and you don’t get what it is trying to tell you. Frankly sometimes I don’t think it really knows what it is doing. Fibromyalgia is a fickle fickle illness.

Simply sleep

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Sleep.

So simple.

Lay down, close your eyes….and it happens.

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Except when it doesn’t.

The first night it’s not so bad.

A little extra coffee.

A little extra soda later on.

I got this.

So, because I didn’t sleep so good last night and I have been tired all day, I will sleep really good tonight!

Then sleep laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Sleep and I have come to an agreement.

Well, mostly.

Sometimes sleep likes to throw a wrench in here and there.

First, you need to read about sleep loss and how to correct it.

Read several different sources.

I can not tell you what will work for you.

I can only tell you what works most nights for me.

Even then, I only get two or sometimes three hours of sleep at once.  Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep.  Sometimes not.

Normally, I start by winding myself down around four pm. Mentally.

That goes as it does most days. By four pm I start THINKING about sleeping. Sometimes it’s like, “Why is it not bedtime?” Sometimes it is like, “Ooh, it’s four pm! Need to start winding down for bedtime.” TELL YOUR BRAIN BEDTIME IS COMING. I don’t know why it works. It just does. For me.

Around five or five thirty, I take 5mg of melatonin.

Melatonin is really tricky. It seems so easy. My 5mg may knock you out for days. I suggest getting a bottle of 1mg, and increasing until you find your magic number. I didn’t and started at ten mg. It DID work. I just happened to find by chance months later that 8mg split up over time was my magic number.

Then, I either take a magnesium supplement or drink Natural Calm typically around six. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, and with fibromyalgia that is not a bad thing at all.

After dinner, mostly at seven thirty though, I take my heart meds, Benedryl and an additional 3mg of melatonin.

For the most part, the husband does bedtime – for the most part.  It is harder to keep track of time and meds/supplements when I am doing it. It IS possible though. It’s not always important the actual time, as opposed to the distance of time between meds. Kinda like stepping down a staircase.

So… where was I? I got distracted by the judgey little squiggly line…

So last is around eight pm – my Ativan and aspirin. If it’s a really bad day, Tylenol gets tossed into the mix.

Like I said, it’s crazy. It’s not for everyone. It’s what works for me.

Some nights I have forgotten completely, or I am out and about and then it’s TAKE ALL THE PILLS and hope for SLEEP.

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Then there are nights that no matter how much I tried, how much I continue to try, sleep is an elusive butterfly that will NOT STAY STILL FOR ONE SECOND.

I have learned I can go without a lot more sleep than I ever thought possible.

So read up on insomnia from several different sources. Read about insomnia with not being able to fall asleep. Read about insomnia without being able to stay asleep. Read about what happens when you have both.  Read scientific articles, read holistic articles, read it all.  What resonates with you? What can you incorporate into your life?

ALSO BEFORE YOU START ANY SUPPLEMENT EVER, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.  I am not your doctor. The pharmacist is not your doctor, although they can be your friend.

I also crank the AC down to 70 and have two fans going…..I like it cold…but I also like to wear long sleeves and pants to bed and bury myself under at least a sheet a blanket and a quilt….at least…

Then there are the pillows. I like lots of them. Four is sufficient. But I mostly sleep with five and then a body pillow folded in half as well. All behind my head.

I have post nasal drip as a constant companion. It does not like to let me breathe if I lay down. SOOOOO at least a 45 degree angle most of the time.  Which also explains the Benedryl at night.

When you know what your OPTIMUM sleeping environment is, you can take steps to rule out what is keeping you from sleep or keeping you from staying asleep.

It becomes a little check list just like the one you had when the kid was a newborn. Could it be this? No we did that. Could it be that? No I did that.

Sometimes Sleep is just a bastard and you won’t find what is missing. Mostly though, I know what happened.

Fatigue is such an inadequate word.

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I really wish there was a better word. When people here fatigue they think oh just a little sleep will set you right. WRONG.

Its not just being tired. Its not getting restful restorative sleep. I have learned so much about sleep since getting sick. Sleep is not sleep. There are different types of sleep. All I know is I just want to sleep.

So how to describe to someone the feeling Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia together create? Its a very challenging thing to do. Not only is my brain tired. My muscles are tired and my eyes are tired and my bones are tired and my joints are tired. They don’t want to do any kind of movement at all. Which might be okay if it started around six or seven pm. When this is how you wake up….its a different story.

Ever since I was a kid I have read to get to sleep. So when I wake up in the middle of the night. Its not just a matter of reading to get back to sleep. Most of the time I have no cognitive ability to read. I typically play a game on my phone or scroll through facebook. That is if I actually get out of bed. I have a rule that if I am awake longer than fifteen minutes I get up. I used to think I was waking up out of hunger. I gained a lot of weight with that. Sometimes though its the only thing that helps. I have switched to a high protein high fiber cereal and that helps even more.

Some people have called me lazy. I am young I must be able to just pop right up. Yeah about that pop right up…..This body says you are funny! There is no popping. I struggled for a along time thinking I was actually being lazy. Can it be laziness when it actually is hard to force pass the all over muscle tiredness that is always there?

There are four levels of sleep. We all cycle through them each time we sleep. Its not til the third and fourth level that we get restorative sleep. For people who have Chronic Fatigue and or Fibromyalgia this is a very difficult to achieve. Most people don’t reach these levels of their sleep cycle until ninty minutes after falling asleep. So with me waking every two hours. I don’t spend alot of time in that glory area! The longer you sleep the longer the third and fourth level last starting at ten minutes or so and increasing to up to an hour. Kinda hard to get to longer levels of the deeper sleep when you are constantly starting your sleep cycle over.

There are lots of ways to help people achieve this third and fourth level of sleep. Its called REM sleep or also delta wave sleep. I have found meditations and recordings that will help you get to the delta wave faster. They work some of the time. Sometimes when I am tossing and turning alot these meditations can help calm that. Sometimes but not always.

I also use melatonin. It at least gets me that sleepy feeling so I can actually fall asleep. I have tried the extended release as well but was not very impressed. Being on antidepressants Melatonin is one of the few things I can safely take. I also take a magnesium calcium combo to help me sleep.Basically I take enough medications and supplements in the evening that could knock out a horse but make me just a tad sleepy.

I do find this time that I am awake in the middle of the night peaceful. I think that is probably some of the reason I do it. The animals are quiet the kid is quiet the husband is quiet. I can hear myself think. If I want to think that is. Sometimes I wake up and am so AWAKE that my brain starts up. Those nights I know it will be hard to get back to sleep. These nights I should not even try to go back to sleep, but I always do. I always feel worse when I wake up.

How to describe a feeling of immense fatigue? That you feel daily that you are being weighed down by cement while also walking through molasses. A feeling that never really truly goes away. A little cob webby feeling of it is always there. That no matter how often you are resting or sleeping it never goes away. Im not sure that you can. I think its just something you have to experience. I also don’t think I can explain HOW I do the things I do….I just do. I don’t think about it I just do it. I might whine and complain and bitch and vent but  I do it. How does a mother push a baby out? She just does. She doesn’t give up. She keeps going….even when she is sure she can’t stand another second of pain.  How do I function on three sometimes four hours of sleep? I don’t know. Plain and simple. I don’t know. I just do it because the way I see it. I have no other choice. The other choice is too much like giving up. I won’t quit. I won’t give up. So I just go on.