Well, bugger. Insomnia…(rambling thoughts too early in the morning)

I’m starting to write this at 5:45 am after another sleepless night.  WTF?  Here are some things I know about my insomnia:

  • It’s not so much the lack of sleep that upsets me – it’s my struggle with my lack of sleep.  I almost woke Mr Beloved to tell him “I CAN’T SLEEP!” but by the time I even thought of using that strategy, it was 5 am.  *headdesk*  If I had been brave enough to do that earlier in the night, say at around 2 am, I could have had his help while I took the dreaded val1um (and possibly had some rest.)  But we  know about my fear of val1um and I am even more wary of it after the Incident of The Neck in the Night-time.  And by “brave” I am not saying that Mr Beloved is scary – just that I find it hard to be kind to myself sometimes and ask for help.
  • I have a repertoire of “tricks” that usually help me sleep.  These include: slowly savouring about 1/3 of a cup of frozen raspberries; eating a small piece of cheese (protein helps? I dunno); taking off or putting on a layer of clothes; holding a cool wet face washer to my forehead; reading a cozy type mystery; playing the MP3 of the”Mindfulness of the Breath” exercise from The Happiness Trap (it’s not designed to make you relax but I find it very calming).    Sometimes NONE OF THESE WORK.  And I am learning to be okay with that – to stop struggling with not falling asleep.  (Also, I have just reserved a book at the library that looks promising: Sleep Well, Live better: 3 Steps to Good Sleep. We shall see. I am not keen to add any more med1cat10ns because of interact1ons with all the stuff I already take.)
  • My sleep hygiene is important to me, even though some of the things I do (reading in bed!) are NOT recommended.  I am careful about how much caffeine I consume and when;  I take my evening med1cat10ns at an early enough time to let the sedat1ng ones help me get drowsy; I rarely nap during the day (sometimes to my detriment).  Even when I am super tired, I can’t actually get to sleep without reading at least a few pages.  (It’s a habit of at least 38 years, so it’s not likely to change!) The problems happen when I read entire books…which is something I did last night.  (Damn you, Charlaine Harris, for making “Dead Reckoning” the best Sookie Stackhouse book yet! But my insomnia was not entirely the book’s fault – I knew I was very wakeful when I got into bed.)
  • I have times when the aches of fibromyalgia either stop me from getting to sleep or wake me up (and I can’t get back to sleep.)  Now I’m thinking about it, what I need to do in those times is have a nice hot shower/warm bath.  Hmmm.  Or do the full body scan mindfulness meditation, that seems to help.
  • Sometimes if my nose is sniffly I can get really weirded out about putting my CPAP mask on.  Often I can overcome this by lying quietly in the dark and then putting the mask on while engaging “observing mind” – pretending I am a compassionate and gently interested scientist observing the feelings of the mask on my face.  (This is another part of the mindfulness training that the Unhelpful Psychiatrist dismissed as “just a bandaid”.  I don’t believe it is. U. P.  said I need to “address my underlying anxiety or the problem will never be solved”.)
  • Sometimes if I write in a journal I can get to sleep.  Last night though, there really wasn’t any specific anxiety that was bugging my brain and stopping me from getting to sleep. In fact, the journaling seemed to be stimulating rather than soporific.  So after three pages, I stopped.
  • I seem to have insomnia round the full moon.  Despite scientific studies NOT finding any links, there is so much anecdotal evidence for some sort of link that I have to wonder what the scientists are missing.  My bedroom has decent blockout curtains, so I usually don’t notice the full moon UNTIL I realise that I haven’t slept and oh look, it’s about a month since the LAST time I couldn’t sleep.
  • (It’s just started raining.  I find rain on the roof is really lovely to help me sleep.  I have to have a fan on in the bedroom to move the air and to provide white noise.  The current pedestal fan was about $15 and the motor is SHOT so it sounds like a damn Cessna!  I will be buying a new fan TODAY.)
  • AFTER a night of not sleeping, I get anxious and scared about not sleeping because I worry that it is the onset of mania.   I know that this story is not helpful and it’s one that often plays in my head. So, hey, let’s give it a name – hello, Thelma!  It’s you again!  (This may be my favourite defusion technique. My Helpful Psychologist and I recently decided to name my “OMG I’m letting people down” story as “Myrtle”.  The names sound silly, right? But it helps to show those unhelpful stories for what they are – just old stories my brain likes to play with.  Those stories are not reality.)
  • The change of Seasons (hello, Spring!) is a time that manias can ramp up.  So it’s a time I am more aware of (and more anxious about) mania symptoms.  Now that I have expressed this, I can probably let it go more easily.
  • I am very angry that instead of taking my concerns about not sleeping seriously, the unhelpful psychiatrist wanted to talk to me about my childhood.  WTF?!
  • I know that staring at a BRIGHT SCREEN with the LIGHTS ON in the studio as I type this isn’t helping me get any sleep this morning.  I also know (from bitter experience) that I can (sort of) function for a day without any sleep the night before.  Science tells us that to readjust our body clocks, some sunlight in the morning is a good thing…I will be taking advantage of this soon.