My stomach is tied in knots. My vision is blurred. I feel like my heart is going to beat right out of my chest. What is ailing me, you ask? Am I in love?
I can’t sleep. Let me rephrase that…. I haven’t slept in almost four years. I toss and turn to fall asleep, and when I finally do, I am usually right back up within the hour. It is a vicious cycle that I fall into, night after night after night after night after night………
I have tried everything: melatonin, valerian root, HTP-5, chamomile tea, lemon balm tea, a warm bath with Epsom salts before bed, no television for three hours prior to bed, breathing exercises, meditation CDs, a glass of wine, a couple of glasses of wine, a bottle of wine, no glasses of wine, no exercise within five hours of bed, essential oils, reading a book, Advocare Sleep Works, ZZZquil, Unisom….. It is always the same: toss and turn, fall asleep, awake within the hour, toss and turn, fall asleep, awake within the hour….
Why am I waking?? I’m thinking, thinking….. Always thinking…. Sometimes, it is the important stuff: how to help my dad through his impending divorce, the huge project at work, whether or not my three-year old is getting sick…… Sometimes, it is the not so important stuff: this year’s garden layout, flipping four candies in a row on Candy Crush, how Velcro works……
I went to the doctor and explained my conundrum. She was extremely empathetic and seemed like she genuinely wanted to help. I described my mind’s inability to shut down at night. She said it sounded as if I had anxiety issues. I have known anxiety issues. She wanted to put me on an anti-anxiety pill. I didn’t want to go back on medication.
I have been on every anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication out there. I could never deal with the side effects so I learned to cope as best as I could. I learned that running helps me sort out the thoughts in my head. I run a lot. I learned that if I keep myself busy with projects and hobbies, I have less time to think. I make candles, garden, write, make soap, cut glass bottles, cook, create wall art, and raise chickens and honeybees. My husband learned my trigger points. He is so damn patient and calm that even when my anxiety takes over and turns into a full-blown angry rant, he gently takes me by the shoulders and leads me to my room so the kids don’t have to experience my episodes. He should get a fucking medal.
I think my doctor could sense my apprehension. She got me to agree to try out a medication on the pretense that she usually prescribed it for headaches. Ironic, because this shit gives me headaches. I tucked away the possible side effects listing when I picked up my prescription. I didn’t want to give my mind a chance to take on the side effects just because I read about them.
It has been four weeks and while yes, I have been sleeping better, the side effects far out weigh the good. As I sit here typing, my vision is going in and out, like I am peering through a set of binoculars focusing out, then in, and back out again. My mind feels like it’s draped in a wet blanket. I have gained ten pounds in the past month. Ten fucking pounds. I am certain that is because I am forever constipated, even after bumping my intake of Poo Juice to three glasses a day. It almost feels as if my anxiety has gotten worse; I am irritated most of the time and get angry at the drop of a hat. The dry mouth is severe and everything has an acrid smell. I feel like I am constantly sucking on the end of a hair dryer, with a mouthful of pennies. Makes it a little hard to get a decent lung-full of air when you are running. Oh, and the insides of my mouth are peeling off in sheets. That’s a fun feeling.
So, I will be taking myself off yet another prescription and dealing with this crazy mind on my own. I’ve gotten this far without the help of medication, why start now? Hell, maybe I shouldn’t just accept it, but embrace this insomnia thing and put it to good use. Who knows what I can come up with at two o’clock in the morning, while the rest of the house is sleeping? Sounds like it’s time for a new category……