Anxiety and sleep issues for a month

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #54961

    ✘ Not a client

    Hey all,

    I’ve struggled with major health-related anxiety for years, and also have a history of insomnia from childhood, which I remember to have lasted for the best part of a year. How I was still functioning was beyond anyone’s guess frankly; it was that severe. Also how I overcame it, I don’t remember, as it was a very long time ago.

    Nearly a month ago now, I developed a persistent headache that lasted around 2 weeks, with neck stiffness and symptoms that worsened and became dizzying with movement. There were other symptoms as well that came and went, which contributed to my anxiety and a fear of an undiagnosed brain tumour or such, making functioning day to day near impossible – and as a result, my sleep was disrupted. I was still getting sleep, but it was interrupted several times with panic attacks in the night, and added up to a maximum of around 4 hours. Thankfully my symptoms have, for the most part, subsided, and I am more easily able to rationalise my thought processes regarding that side of things. What I haven’t overcome, however, is the insomnia.

    At first I kept “waking up” fully aware and alert (which led to doubts about how asleep I was in the first place) in the middle of the night, typically around 4:30am. I went to the GP and was first prescribed zopiclone, which didn’t do anything for me, and then diazepam, which I took before bedtime for a week and which managed to increase that 4 hour maximum to a 6 hour maximum. In a check-up last week, I was advised to try sleeping naturally to avoid reliance or addiction, which was when things have taken an even sourer turn.

    I now feel as though I am getting no sleep, or if I am, then it is INCREDIBLY light – and it was already feeling light enough to begin with. I took diazepam last night out of desperation, but even that has seemed to stop working its magic. My health anxiety is warning me of the dangers of not sleeping, and of all these rare sleep-impacting diseases, which as my insomnia seemingly worsens, is becoming more difficult to deal with.

    I’ve been on sertraline for anxiety, which worked for me in the past, for 2 weeks now, and I’m hoping that it starts to work sooner than later. In the meantime, I’m just in need of help both getting to sleep and being able to stay asleep. The last two days have seen me at my most tired and my most defeated, and I need any reassurance I can get from people who have been through this. It’s so easy for my brain to convince itself that my situation is in some way worse than everyone else’s, and that sense of community and understanding is something I’m desperately craving.

    I apologise for the wall of text, but it’s been a hell of a month and I have had to do a lot of venting to get through it. Any advice would be truly appreciated at this point. Thanks for reading.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your story.

    Your experience is not unusual — there is a trigger for the sleep disruption but, once that trigger is no longer present/relevant, the insomnia seems to stick around.

    The insomnia sticks around because of all the things we do (quite understandably, I might add!) to get our sleep back on track.

    Common responses that end up giving insomnia the oxygen it needs to survive include going to bed earlier, staying in bed later, napping during the day, modifying our days in response to sleep, modifying our actions in a bid to “protect” our sleep, engaging in significant amounts of ongoing sleep-related research, experimenting with medication and supplements, putting effort into sleep, putting pressure on ourselves to sleep, and/or trying to fight or avoid all the difficult thoughts and feelings that like to come along for the ride.

    If you’ve listened to any of the Insomnia Coach podcast episodes, I feel you might identify with many of the stories shared there. If that’s the case, perhaps that would suggest that your insomnia isn’t unusual and that there is a way through it!

    I hope there’s something helpful here!

    The content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.

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