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  • in reply to: Feeling sad after a set back #80198
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi Becc, if the course materials are still available, you might want to review a couple of points. If not, here is a sketch at least. Some of this stuff is pretty much burned into my memory for good.

    After all your hard work to complete the course, it would seem fairer that you should not have to go through setbacks. So much for life being fair. Setbacks happen, no getting around it.

    But knowing they just happen can lessen the feeling that it is a disaster. And if the feeling of doom is really strong, remembering the course chapters about stepping back and observing. Recall the difference between:

    1. I am having the thought, and noticing the feeling, that I am plagued with insomnia for life; and
    2. I am plagued with insomnia for life.

    Finally, you speak about using your will power and working harder to “prove your brain wrong.” But you might recall Martin’s lessons on how effort doesn’t work here as well as in other areas of life, and how we cannot undelete stuff in our brains. Nor can we cast thoughts away, never to return. For what it’s worth, I have fared better when I’ve not taken thoughts so seriously, especially when I’m tired.

    Going on a bit here, but when (not if) you have a setback, I hope you can note that feeling something strongly does not make it true.

    Take care, you are not alone in this.

    in reply to: insomnia with small children #80196
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi Moran, I am not a parent, so I don’t feel qualified to answer. I am writing this in the hope that parents will reply to you.

    All I can offer is anecdotal stuff about what i have seen and heard parents do. You decide whether it is worth thinking about.

    One practice is after doing what you can to comfort a small child, simply letting them deal with it, even crying themselves to sleep. While seeming to be heartless, I guess, the alternative seems to be arguably coddling them. How long will you let the kids sleep with you and your wife? (By the way, how is she dealing with all this?)

    I see parents trying to prevent anything unfortunate from happening to their children, ever. Not letting them walk anywhere, no random play with kids in the neighborhood. Protecting them from the world, or trying to. All of which seems loving and well-intentioned, but how will the kids ever grow up?

    As I say, better to let parents weigh in here. If you don’t get replies in this forum, how about checking in with other parents at your kids’ school, or any friends who are also parents? As kindly as you are treating your kids, the lack of good sleep must be taking a toll after a while.

    Sorry I cannot come up with more, and I hope you can get better information.

    in reply to: Hoping to get off medications #79938
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi tamimendonca, even with your medical training as a nurse, I would consult the medical professional most qualified to advise you on half-lifes of medications, how/whether to taper off, side effects, etc. This would be a pharmacist.

    I am not sure what led you away from CBT. You have found it the most beneficial of all the therapies you have tried. Maybe because it was not a perfect solution? What do you think about giving it another try, now that it sounds like you have realized there is no perfect solution, rather just go with the best one for you?

    You acknowledge your need to practice more self-kindness. Maybe it developed after you moved away from CBT, but there is quite a bit of research on self-compassion, e.g. author Kristen (Kristin?) Neff. It seems that the people less apt to be self-compassionate are generally more compassionate to others (like nurses?)

    in reply to: Falling asleep to the TV #79822
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi TraciD, well, as habits go, it’s certainly the worst out there. Still, I get that you would like to kick it and just go to sleep without the TV. I gather it is a problem because it’s not as though you wake up rested with the TV on. You describe having sleep problems for decades, so I’m assuming you wake up too early, perhaps prompted at least in part by the light or noise of the TV.

    There could be a lot of perspectives on this. One might be to turn it off via remote a few seconds before you conk out. Or maybe not face the screen so the ambient light doesn’t jar you awake midway through the night. Or gradually lower the volume over several nights. Or maybe try listening to a podcast, which even if it continues would not include the light. Or just keep falling asleep to the TV–but not panicking when it wakes you up midway, just turning it off and going back to sleep. Or moving the TV to the bedroom so at least you are lying in bed (if you are currently falling asleep in living room armchair / sofa). Or just turning off the TV and experiencing the “cold turkey” anxiety—not to diminish the unpleasant aspects here, but at least it is not a risk to physical health, such as trying to detox off heroin without medical supervision.

    I hope other people will reply so you can get additional ideas. In the meantime, I suggest you read other posts, even if they don’t address this specific subject. The common thread is sleep anxiety, as in omg, what am I going to do if I can’t sleep, I can’t handle this, etc. Whether it originates from a TV or anything else.

    You are not alone.

    in reply to: early waking #79820
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi kbgust, regardless whether you are employing sleep restriction, sleep anxiety can kick in at the start of sleep, or when you wake up in the middle of the night, as you are experiencing.

    It’s indeed not unusual to wake up during the night. Martin focuses quite a bit in his course on the issue of nighttime wakefulness—that it is not unusual, and also doesn’t have to translate into oh no, now I won’t be able to get back to sleep. Okay, sometimes you get back to sleep, and sometimes you don’t, even though you would prefer to.

    I think a sign of progress is when you are not panicked or even particularly surprised that you wake up in the middle of the night. Even more progress when you can accept that sometimes you don’t get back to sleep, so maybe just get up and do something relaxing in the quiet early morning. This can be hard to see when you are tired and not thinking straight. Been there.

    in reply to: Sleep medication #79697
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi Nicki_23, I found that sleep meds could help on a temporary basis, sometimes. But if there were a surefire, slam dunk sleep med which guarantees great sleep, insomnia would be relegated to history, something no one experiences anymore because of this new drug. People would line up for miles to get it.

    Unfortunately, you’re right: they don’t consistently work, even when you up the dosage. As for getting off them, I strongly suggest you consult a health care professional. Fortunately, the best people to answer medication questions are readily available–pharmacists. They spend years studying meds, dosages, side effects, whether you need to taper on or off. And they work at pharmacies which you can simply call up without an appointment. They are usually quite busy and you may have to wait a few minutes, but they are invaluable.

    I’d recommend checking with a pharmacist even if you are just taking over-the counter meds.

    I gather you are just starting Martin’s course, in Week 1? Please stick with it. I think you will discover that while there are insights to be gained, perspectives to be considered, still, you don’t focus on how to sleep. A little kid just conks out and goes to sleep, without studying and learning how to go about it. We adults have more trouble because our personal stuff, emotional baggage or whatever, can get in the way of the natural process of just falling asleep.

    And yes, keep checking with the forum. People have good insights and if nothing else, you get reminded you are not alone. Take care.

    in reply to: Heat in the bedroom #79693
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi Chantal, I wish I knew a solution to the heat problem. I think most people have trouble sleeping in the heat. I suppose you have thought of whatever you can do to get temporarily cooled off, e.g. ice pack, cold shower, in the hope to getting to sleep before you get too warm again. I assume you don’t have access to a fan, much less an air conditioner, or a basement/garage which might be cooler.

    As for thoughts, I can say with more confidence that not “everyone” is sleeping well while you are not. I am guessing your thoughts are leading into how am I supposed to deal with tomorrow when I can’t sleep tonight. For me, I just try to stay in the moment, even if it is not all that great. The alternative is to try to take on the future as well as the present, with all the future’s possibilities, all the what-ifs, when a lot of the possibilities won’t happen anyway.

    I hope someone else can chime in with more specific suggestions about the heat.

    in reply to: Overcoming Fear #79278
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    This will be sort of stream of consciousness, but maybe it will help someone.

    Last night, I woke up around 3 am, judging from the amount of natural light. I got up and stretched a little bit on the living room floor. I noticed I was having the thought that I might not get back to sleep, and also the thought that I wanted to, and then the usual accompanying thought that the day is going to be tougher if I don’t. And then I noticed the thought that what if I do go back to sleep, great, but what about tomorrow night and the day following after that?And then I noticed that all these thoughts were jumbling up into sort of a cloud and drifting off.

    I got back into bed and had the thought that maybe I would go back to sleep, and if not I would just get up.

    It turns out that I did go back to sleep. As for tonight, who knows? I’ll just have to see what happens then.

    There have been plenty of nights when I had the thoughts described above, but when I did not just notice them from a distance, but instead I got drawn into them in a panic. And I know that I have not achieved Total Lifetime Serenity, and I will still get sucked into them now and then. And then I will re-commit myself to practicing mindfulness during the day and it will help, but with no guarantee.

    I have been dealing with insomnia long enough to know it’s not like healing a broken arm. The arm takes several weeks, the progress is slow. But it is steady improvement, and the arm heals, for good. The broken arm is in the rearview mirror, for good. I think we all know insomnia doesn’t work that way.

    Take care, you are not alone.

    in reply to: Trouble falling asleep #78847
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    I can relate, Kleee. Trying to get insomnia under control, and trying to do everything in the mind to make sleep come is totally understandable. I find myself doing that when I have a setback also. I think you sum it up well when you note that letting it bother you makes it worse.

    For sure, easier said than done, but I do find the insomnia doesn’t seem like such a monumental issue when I can just let the bummer thoughts about it just drift through–rather than reacting to them and generating a catastrophe.

    in reply to: Back at square one? #78586
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi JakeAwake, I can relate to the pendulum thing, where you think you are back to square one. I have no doubt it seems that way. If I have a rough patch, sometimes if only one or two nights, sometimes I have felt like a complete failure. Forget that I have slept well in the past; that’s in the past.

    These feelings can be powerful, but that doesn’t make them true. This can be difficult to discern when I am hammered by insomnia. I just can’t think straight.

    But it’s not back to square one, because eventually I recall some of the skills I have acquired. One is to stop trying to think my way out of “the problem.” Instead of trying to dissect and analyze my mind, I just sit back and watch it.

    Observing instead of believing thoughts can provide some space. The alternative: being at the mercy of whatever next pops into your head. This is a big component of mindfulness, and also Martin’s course, where he talks about acknowledging unpleasant thoughts and emotions (granted, you wish they weren’t there in the first place).

    I’ll probably have bad sleep nights in the future. In fact, I can count on it. No one sleeps great every night. But I know if I can eventually remember to step back from it, I will be okay.

    Take care, you are not alone in this.

    in reply to: sleeping with a partner #78438
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi bekahmoore1, my wife and I usually sleep together but not always. If I have to set the alarm early; if one of us has a cold; if one of us hasn’t slept well but thinks we’d have a better chance at sleeping if separate.

    The key for us is how we treat each other during the day, when we are conscious and can show our love for each other in any number of ways.

    hiker
    ✓ Client

    I agree with donaldcoomer28.

    Perhaps one of the nastiest features of chronic insomnia is the feeling of isolation. I know I have felt that no one can possibly understand. Sometimes I also feel that no one cares, that they think I should just get over it, that I am damaged, maybe beyond hope……eventually, I realize that while these feelings are powerful, they are not true. That it’s just the insomnia talking.

    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi sleepaidaustralia, you are really going through it, no doubt.

    I don’t know how long you have been seeing your therapist, or anything about their qualifications. Perhaps you haven’t been going very long; or you have and the sessions are easy but ineffective; or?

    I don’t think it is physically possible go seven months without any sleep, but in any event, you are clearly not getting very much.

    I wonder if taking Martin’s course would help. As it progresses, it focuses more on how thoughts and emotions can drive insomnia, and on how to live full lives even when we don’t get as much sleep as we’d like.

    You know by now there is no surefire cure for great sleep for the rest of your life, but the course might be worth a try. (I am not getting anything for suggesting this.)

    in reply to: Totally Disheartened #78168
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    One last thought on sleep anxiety. Sometimes I get so wiped out that all pretense of maybe having some control over sleep is stripped away. And I get a good night’s sleep. Would be nice if that happens tonight, but who knows?

    Okay, another thought….I think I will plan on sleeping well tonight. Wait a second. Just how am I going to do that? Okay wait, I will not allow any anxious thoughts. Wait. I am not able to control what pops into my head during the day, so how am I going to suddenly do it at night? ……. But there must be something I can do to sleep better. I mean, there must be!

    The preceding is just another example of what Martin refers to above—- being attached to making sleep happen. Actually, sleep just happens on its own, like when a little kid runs around all day and then just conks out. I am quite certain the kid isn’t putting a lot of thought into sleep issues.

    Like you, Hyhan and so many others, I have been dealing with insomnia for quite a while. I don’t think it is a steady upward climb to eternal success, instead more like the jagged line graph which shows the U.S. stock market over the last several decades. Ups and downs—but long term, a steady trend upwards. I think if we stick with practices like observing thoughts instead of living them, being kind to ourselves, we will have more good sleep nights over the long term. And hopefully we won’t freak out too much when things go south now and then.

    in reply to: Totally Disheartened #78153
    hiker
    ✓ Client

    Hi Hyhan, I also wish I could wave a magic wand and solve your sleep problem. And mine, too!

    I could toss out a sugar-coated response with an instant solution, the kind you see on the YouTube ads which thankfully you can usually skip over. The fact is that sometimes it is really (insert more colorful language here) disappointing / frustrating / maddening / take your pick. Especially when it seems like everybody else is raring to go this morning, all refreshed and bursting with happiness.

    Another thing for me is sometimes a sense of failure: why can’t I sleep like normal people?

    At this point, I can spiral down a rabbit hole of despair. On the other hand, I can remind myself that I’ve been here before. I wish I hadn’t been, and I wish I wasn’t here now. But I am, so now what?

    I happen to be going through a bit of a rough insomnia patch myself the last several nights. And as I type this, I am stepping back from the thoughts drifting through. They are pretty bad, e.g. I am tired of this, I wish I were dead. I am not denying them. I am also seeing that while they are powerful thoughts, I can also see that they are not orders. For example, I am not required to kill myself. And if I am letting my mind stay open to whatever pops in there, another thought is that I have no control over how long or how well I sleep. Another thought is that I wish I did. Yet another thought is that I am enjoying this cup of coffee, and the trees are starting to bud out, including some cherry blossoms.

    I don’t know if this is helping. What I am trying to get at it is we can’t control sleep any more than we can control the weather. When you are hoping for a sunny day and instead it is raining, it’s a letdown. But at some point, you decide how you’re going to react to it.

    Hard to think and write clearly when I’m hammered myself from insomnia, but I do think it comes down to letting go of trying to control it, as much as we’d like to.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 188 total)