On February 20th, when I last posted, I had a terrible night. I’ve struggled with insomnia since middle school. It can take me hours to fall asleep only to spend the night waking every hour. It is, if I’m honest, profoundly wearying.
The night of February 20th was a tipping point. I spent the next morning exhausted and in a foul mood following 3-4 hours of much interrupted sleep, feeling very much the victim of the anxiety and restless thoughts that make it so difficult for me to drift off every night. Then I decided that I was going to solve my insomnia problem. Having often read that consistently going to bed and getting up at the same time every day would help with sleeping problems, I made a point of being in bed by 9pm every day and getting up at 5:30am every morning. I also invested in a Philips Wake-Up Light in an effort to wake up more naturally.
I experienced great success following this regimen. I, in fact, fell asleep more easily and woke up feeling more refreshed. It was challenging, however, to fit in everything I wanted and/or needed to do every evening after work and still be in bed by 9pm. Posting on my blog wasn’t something I’d yet fit in to my new routine, though I had every intention of remedying that.
Life, however, does insist on unfolding contrary to our plans and I had a very busy several months. Selling my condo proved to be an experience I did not enjoy, and finding an apartment to live in even more so. Moving is always a time consuming endeavor and added into the mix I had a good friend in the hospital, a car accident, thyroid problems, and work stress. While the car accident was admittedly minor, it came at at time when I had so many other things going on that it was hard to find the bandwidth to deal with getting my car repaired, even though it was completely covered by insurance since I was not the at-fault driver (yay).
Added to all of that is the fact that we – or at least I – can easily fall into patterns. I fell into the pattern of not posting here. This week I am on vacation at Huntington Lake and I set this as the time to finally get back to Storying. So here, obviously, I am.
My thyroid problems continue, though I am at last on medication and it does seem to be helping a lot. I’ve been diagnosed with both Hashimoto’s Disease and Graves Disease, which makes treating my thyroid more challenging. I’m by no means convinced that my treatment won’t have to be changed because of this but am right now simply happy to be feeling better. (Un)fun fact: if you’re already struggling with anxiety and insomnia, an overactive thyroid can make both so much worse; if you’re already struggling with depression, an underactive thyroid can make that worse. If your thyroid is fluctuating between the two it just really sucks.
Moving threw off my routine of being in bed by 9pm and getting up at 5:30am and I’m working to get back to that. That does mean that currently my insomnia is worse, but I accept the fault of that for trying to be in bed by 9pm as opposed to actually being in bed at that time. So it goes.
I think I’ve gone on long enough for one post and will leave you with a sentence that I plan to work into my novel…somewhere:
We shouldn’t have to be extraordinary for them to think we deserve basic rights.
P.S. For my fellow insomniacs, here is the complete list of what’s helped me:
- A consistent sleeping schedule.
- 4-7-8 breathing when I get in bed to fall asleep and then again later if I wake up from a nightmare or stress dream.
- A wake-up light instead of a traditional alarm clock.
- Using red lights in the evening before I go to bed, instead of traditional lights.
- Listening to a bed time story with the wonderful Sleepiest app.
- White noise machines while I’m sleeping (I’m a very light sleeper).
- And to a much lesser extent than all of the above, a weighted blanket.