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- July 8, 2013 at 2:44 am #8756
sleeplessinchicago✘ Not a client
Here's the short story long. I am a 35 yr old married mother of a 9 month old girl from Miami, by way of Atlanta, now living in Chicago. I was never a great sleeper but I was always able to fall asleep and stay asleep like a “normal person” until 8 years ago.
In 2005, I was fired from a job that I loved beyond measure when I got a new boss that decided she hated me. The first night of the day that I was fired, I tried to go to sleep and I could not sleep at all. AT ALL. I was up for 24 hrs straight. Exhausted, frightened, I took some OTC sleeping pills the next night. I did not sleep a wink that night either. After 48 hrs of supreme exhaustion, I combined alcohol with the sleeping pills and maybe got 2 hrs. I just kept jerking awake for some reason. Like I would fall asleep and it was like my mind was mentally forcing me awake, like “Hey, you, yeah you- get up!” (for what? I had no job and no job to go to even if I had one was at 3 am!!).
After 2 weeks of the alcohol sleeping pill mix and still not getting more than 2 hrs (total!), I went to a doctor and he prescribed Ambien. Ambien was the most horrifying insomniac episode I have ever had to date. Not only did it not help me sleep, it made me MORE tired during the day. Like it killed off all of the reserve adrenaline that I was using to get through my days. After 3 days of feeling near suicidal, I got off of the Ambien and decided to drink myself into a stupor. That worked and I got a few hours. Then a miracle happened, otherwise, I honestly don't know if I'd be here today…
My allergies started going crazy and I had to start taking some Benadryl. For the first time in 1 month, I was able to get 3 – 4 hrs of straight sleep before I would wake and my mind would race. With those 3 hrs, I had the minimum required to function to look for another job and I got one that same week of the Benadryl introduction to my routine. I popped 2 Benadryl every night with a glass of wine or two for 2 years until one night at my friend's bachelorette party, I broke down in tears when I ran in to an old friend and she asked me how I was doing after all these years. She had a face that you just couldn't lie to, you know?
When I told her how exhausted I was and what I was doing to get sleep, she called some other mutual friends over and they all circled the wagons around me. The most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me besides the birth of my daughter is that day when everyone turned to look at me, even the bride, and stopped what they were doing and fixed their eyes on me as if to say, “We will not stand by and let this happen to you.”
They encouraged me and with the recommendations I eventually went to see a psychiatrist who prescribed me Trazodone. The first night on Trazodone, I slept 6 hrs straight without interruption. When combined with Benadryl and a glass of wine, I was able to sleep a total of 8 hrs (not straight but still good). This combo was my night routine for the next 3-4 yrs. By the way, anyone out there wondering why hasn't she tried exercise, cutting sugar, caffeine, holistic, homeopathic, yoga, blah, nutrition, blah- I tried them all and I have always been active. I will attach a photo so you can see for yourself. I am in relatively good shape and I am very active and do Pilates every other day in addition to running….I skipped over those parts to spare you. 🙂
Another pivotal moment happened in 2009 when I switched docs because I moved and the new psych hearing my history was in shock and suggested that I pair trazodone with lorazopam (aka ativan)…First night on Traz/Loraz/Benadryl/wine combo, I slept 9 hrs straight, got up and peed (sorry), and went back to sleep for another 3 hrs. I called this psych the next day and told her “You gave me back my life.” I felt like I could cure cancer! I felt like MYSELF again.
But there's no happily ever after because you cannot take ativan while trying to get pregnant or while pregnant b/c it is known for definitively causing cleft palates and other birth defects…So I had to get off and I have been off for over 1 yr and a half b/c of the birth of my daughter. As a result, I have a bad insomniatic episode at least once every 2 months and it always catches me off guard and really wreaks havoc now. Try getting NO SLEEP AND TAKING CARE OF AN ACTIVE 9 MONTH OLD (I'm a stay at home mom who works part time). Last night I went to bed at 10 pm, she woke me at 2:30 am, I fed her and she went back to sleep and could not go back to sleep for several hours and finally at 4:45 am I got out of bed again and this time for good. It is 9:41 pm and I have been up since 2:30 am…
I am going to try Martin's exercises and I hope to God that they work. I have to fix this for my daughter's sake…I just don't see how I can go down this road and avoid stroke, heart issues, etc.
This is my story. I hope I did not bore you.
ChrisJuly 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #14804
Martin Reed★ Admin
Welcome to Insomnia Land, Chris – and thanks for the great introduction.
Through your experience, I think you have learnt one thing – you are capable of sleep. Indeed, even now you say you're still suffering from insomnia, but only 'at least once every 2 months'.
Of course, one episode is bad enough, but this is at least proof that you can sleep, and your body (and mind) is able to shut down, relax and fall asleep naturally.
Every single member of Insomnia Land has your back now you've joined our little community. We're all here to help and support one another – together, I am sure we'll help you continue to improve your sleep.