Sleep. Glorious Sleep. That’s what I have been missing.
I can sleep. I slept for two nights. Last night more than the first. Sleep is beautiful. The angels are singing a song of joy. I did not sleep by my own accord, sheer will or determination, but from the help of a wonderful new Psychiatrist I finally saw after two months of not having any medical help.
I could not get into the behavior health department where I live until a few days ago. Even after my severe overdose and suicide attempt and going through Klonopin withdrawals, I could not be seen until there was an opening. Our mental health treatment facilities are in a bad situation where I live and in many areas worldwide. It is an epidemic and is actually another tale for another day.
Sleep is defined as a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night (hopefully), in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
That sounds like a beautiful thing. Sleep. Sleep is something my body and mind had no trouble doing before the birth of my first child and before my bipolar disorder diagnosis. When I gave birth almost twenty-six years ago, my mind and body were never the same again. I had postpartum depression which was later diagnosed as postpartum bipolar disorder, which means the onset of my bipolar occurred after the birth of my baby. Before childbirth, I had many precursors to bipolar disorder as I had severe anxiety and dysthymia (mild depression) when I was young.
I have always been a person that seemed to wake up at night, even before my diagnosis. I was a night owl, as they say. After my bipolar diagnosis, sleep was difficult to achieve and seemed like something I did not need. I couldn’t sleep, so I didn’t sleep. I thought why should I try to sleep. I am wide awake and this way I can get a lot done.
I stayed up all night many nights in a row drawing and writing children’s books for my children. Then I would go to work, teach all day and take care of my children. What? How did I do that? Well, soon I did not do it very well as mania set in. Mania, mixed bipolar episodes and not sleeping caused my first break and first suicide attempt so many years ago.
Since that time, I required sleep aids of some kind to promote sleep. Essentially, my brain, body and I have not been sleeping on my own for approximately twenty years. I took many different medications over the years, but primarily used Ambien to promote sleep and mostly took Klonopin for the last four to five years.
Put simply from out of the mouth of my new Psychiatrist, “Benzodiazepines slow down areas of your brain, but your brain still fights to keep moving. After your brain, goes off Klonopin or other Benzos it has to learn to function again without it.” This is and can be a complicated and painful process. But in my opinion is well worth everything I went through. I do not have anxiety like I used to and my mind is much clearer and my memory has improved. But I still cannot sleep.
It has been over twenty years that I have not slept without help from medications. Sleep is a necessary behavior I need to learn how to do again. Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health. My Psychiatrist gave me two book suggestions that teach sleep strategies. The first one is “No More Sleepless Nights” and the second one is “Say Goodnight to Insominia.”
I haven’t purchased them yet but I am going to look into buying one of them. It might be an interesting read or maybe a boring read. Either way it will be beneficial for sleep. If it is a boring read, it will help me fall asleep. Hahaha…
I am now taking the medication called Neurontin or Gabapentin as the generic name. My P-doc prescribed this for me to reduce the joint pain I was still having from my Klonopin withdrawal and to help with sleep. He also gave me Doxepin to take as needed for sleep. I have not taken that one yet, as I want to see how Gabapentin works first. So far, after only two days, so good. One day at a time. I was prescribed to take it once in the morning and once at night. I am very sensitive to medications so I am so far only taking it at night. This is supposed to promote sleep, so I do not want to promote sleep in the morning. I have a lot to do. My other areas of mental health are good right now, so this is primarily for Klonopin withdrawal symptoms and to promote sleep.
Sleep has been difficult to non-existent for two months. I have forced myself to sleep and worked very hard at. It has been a difficult task and one I did not look forward to. I made myself try to sleep, because I know the negative outcomes if I do not get enough sleep. I went to bed very late at night, because I put off trying to sleep because it was so difficult. Once in my bed I could not fall asleep. It took over an hour to fall asleep, and once I was asleep I would wake up every few minutes at first until most recently every two hours or so.
Until now. Now I have been able to sleep. Not perfectly, but so much better. Sleep for the last two nights felt different. It was more peaceful and when I woke up I felt relaxed and peaceful. I felt rested. What a lovely event sleep is. Something we take for granted if we have always been able to do, but something we thoroughly appreciate and enjoy if it was missing.
I feel tired. I think I will go take a nap.
Just kidding. But for a change, it is a beautiful and pleasant thought to take a nap or go to sleep for the night. Sleep is now something that is achievable and is something I can look forward to doing. I am really not going to take a nap right now as I have a lot to do. The point is that I can sleep now and it does not feel like an impossible feat, but instead a healthy, positive and enjoyable experience I can look forward to again tonight.
I hope you all have a good day and night. I hope you sleep well and have happy dreams. May your cup of life overflow with blessings. Hugs, Sue
Enjoy some precious and peaceful photographs of babies and animals sleeping. I could not resist. Ahhhhh… slumber… how peaceful… and beautiful…
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