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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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Wednesday
Aug172011

GLARGH

You may not know this about me, but I've bet you've guessed: I like to sleep. A lot. I like a lot of sleep. LOOK, I know we all require sleep to live and so forth, but I'm not one of those people who can get by on four or five hours a night. Or even six. Seven, I can do, but not for too long. No, I need eight or nine hours. NEED.

Okay, maybe not need. Like? Prefer. I prefer that much sleep. I desperately, desperately prefer it.

I've never been an insomnia sufferer, and if I were I probably wouldn't be able to write anything because I'd be too busy crying. Even when I was seriously depressed, I could sleep. (I can't nap, though. I hate it. I hate napping. Aren't you fascinated by these details about me? I'm a world of wonders!)

ANYWAY I'm bringing this up now because of course I can't sleep, fuck shit damn bitch and also fuck. Yes I am cursing, HENRY. (Henry doesn't like cursing. It's like living with a smaller version of my dad! Don't even get him started about taking the Lord's name in vain.) (My mom on the other hand is a real potty mouth.) (What was I talking about, again?) (Sleeping, right.) I can't fall asleep AND when I manage to fall asleep I wake up too early and this is terrible. TERRIBLE. This is the worst tragedy that has ever befallen anyone in the universe. Yes, I realize some of you people deal with insomnia all the time, but this is more serious because it's me.

I've been living (and loving!) with insomnia since I stopped taking mirtazipine, a very effective anti-depressant that had the unfortunate side effect of causing me to feel as if I were about to die.  My psychiatrist had warned me that this might happen but also said it was temporary. TEMPORARY. This was true in the beginning. I didn't sleep for a week, and quietly went insane, but then it seemed to ease up for a couple of weeks. But now, in the past two weeks, my sleep has been deteriorating to the point where I am sometimes just not sleeping at all, and other times sleeping a little here and there but waking up every hour and MAYBE I am getting three hours of sleep a night. Plus I can't nap, not even when I really, really try. I think I need to create new curse words to put in here.

So here is all I can write about, my stupid not-sleeping body. I'm also dealing with these breathtaking muscle spasms in my back and neck and arms, plus headaches that laugh at the standard painkillers, and I'm pretty sure this is all because I'm not sleeping. Nothing causes me to tense up more than being deprived of the one thing that I do very very well. Also, while I am not sleeping, I am usually staring at someone in my household who is sleeping (Scott, Henry, pets) and loathing them with every fiber of my being. And that might be causing my muscles to seize. (It's true, my beloveds! I am glaring at you while you peacefully slumber! Aw, you look so cute. Don't mind me! I'm just pinching you a little.)

Anyway, I am going to the doctor tomorrow, because I have had it with this bullshit. Goddamn it. Yes. I'm cursing again. I know.  I'm going to try to do something fun at the doctor's office, something I can write about, like maybe ask her out on a date? But what if I'm successful? Then I'll have some doctor girlfriend and Scott will be mad and oh I am tired.

Reader Comments (46)

Oh how I feel your pain. I have a 5 month old who (until 2 nights ago) has been sleeping through the night. And yet, for 3 weeks, I've been getting in bed and lying there for hours, watching the clock, wondering why I am awake when I am so tired. It would be one thing if the baby kept me up. Almost excusable (though still bullshit, as he's not hungry or poopy or in pain). But he's asleep. My 3 year old is asleep. My cats and my husband are asleep. And I'm not. Dammit.

Hope you figure it out soon.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

oh sweetie. That just sucks. I have so been there. Have you heard about the book, The Diet Cure? The gist of the book is not a special diet, per se, but about amino acids deficiency that can cause all kinds of chaos. insomnia, depression, anxiety, foggy thinking, pain, carb and caffeine addiction, etc. I have had tremendous relief in many of those symptoms with amino acid supplements. Relatively inexpensive and easy to find. She talks about using them concurrently with meds too, psych and thyroid.

I hope you get some relief soon. That place you're in is sooo crazy making. Take care.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGolden

Oh dear Alice!

Insomnia is an awful beast. I have suffered from it for years. One thing I have found, and its not a cure-all, (thank you stress!) but it works well, is the lavender vanilla aromatherapy line from Bath and Body works. The first time I used it, I only used the body wash and the lotion, and I slept soo well that night. It was amazing.

I liked it so much I went back and repurchased it when I ran out and added the linen spray. Some nights I just use the linen spray, and on those nights, I don't go right to sleep, but I do sleep.

The good news is, you can buy the travel size of the lotion and bath gel and so you aren't committed to a huge bottle if it does not work out.

I also drink the calming tea, made by Yogi. I adore Yogi teas - because I have not yet had one that did not work. It can be found online, or in health food stores.

Good luck, and I hope you are able to sleep soon!!

owb

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronewithbooks

I only know of one word of wisdom for your situation, and you probably already know it (and possibly curse it): melatonin.

Other than that, I got nuthin' except I'm so sorry - insomnia is horrific. I truly hope you sleep well and soon!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky

I hope sleep comes to you soon. While it is by no means a panacea, I do find that taking a super super hot shower, then putting on light pjs helps trick my body into thinking it is sleepy time.

Also, totally unrelated, when I took your photo into my hairdresser for inspiration for a haircut, she recognized it because a previous client had done the same thing. You're like the hair archetype for women of Ann Arbor.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Nicole! That's fantastic. And hilarious. And a little sad for the women of Ann Arbor.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

I was having trouble sleeping back in the winter. I would wake up feeling very worried about everything. I had Acupuncture done within 2 times I was sleeping again like a baby. My husband said he never saw someone sleep so sound. Dogs and kids did not wake me until I was at 7 hours of sleep. Try it might help.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Sorry you can't sleep....but this? Is perfect and I'm stealing it.... "but this is more serious because it's me."

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

I am glad to be your inspiration, Caroline.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

I agree with caroline...that line is steal-able.

Now let's talk about Ambien, shall we? Not only will it help you sleep BUT if you stay up after taking it and write on the blog...we shall be thoroughly entertained the next day. And you won't even remember a thing.

I know. Trust me. This is experience speaking. =)

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

Oh, I am sorry. Klonopin? Baths? Acupuncture? Reclining with headphones on (Blossom Dearie is good for this) and a lavender-scented thing over your eyes? More Klonopin?

All of these things have worked for me at one time or another, but what matters is if they work for YOU, obviously, and I have no idea about that.

I will agree that naps are AWFUL, and I hate when I haven't slept and someone tells me to "take a nap," as if they didn't already know that a nap is basically like sending a panic attack an engraved invitation to come to where you are and attack you with panic.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

@ Summer - I took my husband OFF Ambien after finding a picture of my sleeping backside on his camera phone that he had no recollection of even taking. And that one time I got up to pee in the middle of the night and found him outside, on the back patio enjoying the night...nekkid. This was AFTER countless Ambein-nated (sort of like inebriated) texts and middle of the night snack fests...He kept waking me up! To cure his insomnia I made him get a second job. I figured if he's going to be awake the least he could do was get us better health insurance...

Hope the 'expletive' Dr gets you worked out...Feel better, Alice.
(Long time fan, but I think this is my first comment here ever)

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrsK

Thirding the acupunture. Hope the doctor helps!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuthWells

I have to admit, I have a scrip for Ambien, but I'm too afraid to take it. I know I would sleep-eat. And sleep-kill.

Alexa, your comment made me snort with glee. SNORT!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

I hate taking naps too!! I feel like everybody else in the world relishes, loves, wishes they could marry taking naps but I just cannot stand sleeping during the day.

That sucks about the insomnia, my husband suffers from it and takes Lunesta, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Bodies can be really stupid when they want to be.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I know I already mentioned acupuncture -- I SWEAR I'm not sponsored or anything, but I didn't know you also were suffering from insomnia, so here's what my acupuncturist had me do for that:

Right before you go to bed, (and not before!) soak your feet in the hottest water you can tolerate (without burning yourself) and then go lie down and try to sleep. Don't take a hot bath -- your feet need to be warmer than your brain. (You gotta love acupuncturists!)

She said it would drain all the energy away from my head, and out my feet.

Sounds crazy, but it can't (and didn't) hurt.

She also said that because I write (or, um, try to) things all day I can never shut off my brain, and that is my problem. Too much thinking, too much worrying, too much plotting in my brain. All writers at her practice complain of the same thing.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxanna

Holy crap, and here I was blaming Zoloft for years! I switched to Zoloft after mirtazapine made me gain 25# in 3 months. I slept an average of 3 hours a night for 3 weeks, which led to my first prescription for Clonopin. Hope you get something good from the doctor tomorrow!

Seconding Debbie's recommendation--getting acupuncture for antidepressant side effects basically kickstarted my career change.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

FWIW, if your husband is like mine, and you came home to announce you were going out with a female, the last thing he'd be is mad.

Sending fence-leaping sheep your way.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I had a terrible time sleeping when I was pregnant. My midwife suggested lavender oil. I basically bathed in lavender oil before bed and it MAYBE helped a little.

I feel for you. My youngest just started sleeping through the night, and I'm still waking up almost every hour. Good luck!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMother Ruckus

The answer is easy: Melatonin. Over the counter. Works.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMicaela

When I am suffering from the Why Can I Not Sleep And Yet You Slumber Peacefully Therefore I Hate You Syndrome (WHYDAMMIT Syndrome for short), I want every sleeping person in the world to stop hoarding all of the good sleeps. And I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. Also, everything irritates me. Even AIR irritates me. (It finds WAYS.)

So what I'm saying is, that really, really blows, and I hope it ends soon.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTherese

Trader Joe's chewable melatonin - you will be able to sleep on the subway in a pile of poop next to an armed homeless person.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKris

On the up side, I'm sure Scott, Henry and the pets are HIGHLY comforted by your staring at them while they sleep and simultaneously muscle spasm. Nothing says love like watching people in their sleep while involuntarily twitching!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershal

One word: Doxepin.

Try it. You'll like it.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel E.

I can't believe that the sponsored link at the bottom of your post is for a show called, "Up all Night." ?!??!!!

I really hope you get some relief, Alice - I hate not sleeping. :^(

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

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