So I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I have had sleep problems forever. When I was little, I slept so deeply, I wet the bed till I was inappropriately old to be doing it. (Thank goodness that passed.) Then, I became a horribly difficult sleeper – everything woke me. With the depression, I would be able to sleep 18 hours one week, and then only 3 the next week. Besides, depressive sleep is a different kind of sleep – it’s deep and hard, but it’s sad and painful.
I try to sleep. My eyes are closed and I am in bed. But falling asleep requires drugs (of which I have tried an assortment – let me tell you about those side effects!) and then I have difficulty staying asleep. Sometimes I close my eyes telling myself, “ok, we are going to relax and get some rest, girl” and I open my eyes and 5 hours have passed. So that means I wasn’t really asleep for those 5 hours. A lot of times, I’m basically directing my dream – almost like I’m above it, directing a play. When I do fall asleep, I have anxiety nightmares (where for some reason someone is always yelling at me and won’t let me explain – yeah, you have to ask Freud about that…) and I wake myself up yelling or continuing the conversation. Funny thing about that is that I’m aware I’m awake but I still feel the need to finish the thought. I crack myself up. Sometimes, I get up to use the bathroom, and in the 20 seconds it takes me to get back to bed, start worrying about the day ahead and if I’ll be tired when I wake up and if I’m actually sleeping. Needless to say, sleep has become the enemy.
And no one can say I don’t try. I have an eye patch and noise machine. I only sit in my bed when it is nighttime. I do not nap. I only drink one cup of coffee at 8:30am every day, otherwise, no other caffeine. I wake up at the same time every day and “go to sleep” every time at night. I stop looking at computers and phones about 30 minutes before I go to sleep. I try to read, listen to classical music, sometimes if the meds have kicked in, I have the patience for a mindfulness exercise. The one error I make is that I sometimes eat too late and that makes it difficult some nights to lie down. But that is a whole other issue all on its own.
Evidently there is this new form of sleep therapy called CBTI and it’s what it sounds like: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. (Check out the program and procedures.) They try about half the things I already do, and something I think is cool called “sleep restriction” which sounds awful but effective. Given my doctor would really like to get me off my sleeping meds, and the impact my lack of sleep has on my mood and my day, she really thinks this might be helpful.
Of course, my insurance doesn’t cover it. So now I have to decide whether it is worth the money to pay out of pocket. Does anyone else find therapy and programs really difficult to value? How do I know what’s too much for a program or a treatment? I mean, there’s no real comparison tools. Plus, with mental health, if it works, it seems like it was worth all the money in the world. And when it doesn’t, even $25 seems like a horrid waste that could have gone to buying some groceries.
I just remember that I used to love sleep. I loved that really deep, dead to the world sleep, where your body just felt like a rock. I remember as a child, I also liked dreams. They just felt so real even though they were so odd. Now my dreams feel so real that I carry their emotional impact around with me all day – and I don’t have good dreams anymore, I have terror dreams, which I believe are called night terrors or nightmares.
I’m not a morning or a night person, and without sleep, I’m not really a midday person either. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just know I’m tired and the idea of blissful sleep is such a distant idea, it feels like merely a dream I used to have.