Hands up if you’ve ever had a sleepless night ✋✋
Yeah. Happens to the best of us. For some people it only happens occasionally, for others very rarely, and then for the unfortunate, it happens practically every single night. I fall into the latter category. I’ve had sleep difficulties for the past five years. Yup, it’s probably to do with some past experience I never dealt with properly blah blah queue Freud, but it is also the cause or a symptom of my anxiety too – I’m not sure which – insomnia is apparently a symptom of another disorder, but anxiety can also be caused by lack of sleep so who knows what is what, but whatever the case, It absolutely sucks all the same.
I recently got given a free course on sleepio.com, a website that has actually proven its use to help those with sleeping problems. You have to pay for the course usually – I was lucky and got onto the programme for free due to my university doing an experiment on sleep in conjunction with professors at Oxford. But this sleepio course does actual wonders.
There is a little professor and his dog Pavlov – yup if you know psychology, you’ll recognise Pavlov as the little guy who learned how to behave through classical conditioning. A technique professor sleepio uses to help you understand and reconnect your brain with sleep. Due to this course, I admit on a good occasion, I’ve managed to get a good nights sleep – the best night I’ve had in the past five years. But it doesn’t come without a price. A price that includes; a consistent sleep pattern, goals, rules and hard work. It takes time to retrain your brain, and most of the time when you’re so fucking tired you can’t be assed quite frankly. But most of the time I did what I had to.
It proved to work well enough, I do the techniques and I try the relaxation methods, but even with this under my belt, it still hasn’t fixed me completely. Of course, I’ve tried sleeping pills, they don’t work – they just make my body so heavy I feel trapped in my skin but my brain just won’t shut off. I also walk around in the morning like a zombie or like someone crashing from a drug high. It’s that bad. Sleeping pills are out.
The trouble is, I’m an overthinker. My mind goes into overdrive at night and I can’t shut it off no matter how hard I try. It’s always on the go and it hits supersonic speed at night. I think about what I did that day, I think about what I’m going to do in the morning, how I’m going to get from a to b, who I’ll talk to, who I won’t. And then the worry comes. That rush of the ocean that breaks away from the rest of my thoughts and carries me to my full induced panic mode. And I’m stuck on a rock far out to sea, crying all alone. There is nobody to save me. I’m drowning in my own thoughts.
Nothing is scarier than that.
But then morning comes and you’ve exhausted yourself so much, that as soon as day breaks, your eyes droop and you’re ready to fall into a deep needed slumber, but the alarm clock won’t let you and you have to get up. A vicious, endless cycle that never ever ends.
My advice for nights like that, to both myself and others: nap when you can, relax as much as you can, and get all your negative feelings out of your head by writing them down before you even attempt to fall asleep. It does work.
But if you are like me, you’ve most probably learned to deal with the average three to four hours sleep a night and function just well, minus the horrendous mood swings and occasional yawns throughout the day. I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, and I most definitely would love to learn to sleep better, but I’m also saying that insomnia and anxiety do not define me, they do not hinder me from doing my day to day tasks. I’m proud of myself and how I manage.
I just hope that other people can find the strength to help themselves feel proud of who they are too. You are not alone ❤️
This post was drafted at 3am and it’s now 8am and I have to dash off to an old weekend job to help out. Commitment to the blogosphere here I go!