Author Topic: Insomnia  (Read 3623 times)

arthur

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Insomnia
« on: February 27, 2012, 10:09:34 PM »
I have been suffering from recurrent insomnia again.  It seems to run concurrent with how I am dealing with my grief..if I am grieving well, I can sleep well..
if I am in alot of pain in my mind, and don't grieve well for whatever reason, I wake up with my heart pounding as if someone attached electrodes to me
and was hitting the shock button crazily. I am not certain whether my insomnia is not due to caregiving for my wife late at night. 
What typically happens after I wake up at 3-4-5 am is I get up and do some chores, and depending on the time, go into my morning exercise routine. After that and a shower I eat breakfast, and then the endorphines from the exercise wear off, and then I feel like a zombie, and it isn't even time for me to go back to work yet.
I've been stuck in this rut and now because I had to call in sick just to get a few extra hours of sleep, I am in trouble at work. I am applying for fmla for this and the depression. Any suggestions would be great.
The doctor also gave me some more anti depressants to try..he's concerned I'm regressing in my depression. Things have been bad lately. Thanks for listening

Terry

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 11:33:10 PM »

Arthur,

I can relate. Your words bounced off the screen at me. I, too have had a difficult time with sleeping as I was up all night long and usually and like you, at around the same times. I was always checking on Dad as he also had sleep apnea and I kept a monitor on my night stand and listened to him breathe all night. When he would stop, I would run into his room and sit him up or turn him on his side and he would start again to breathe normally.

As you know, Dad just died the 18th of December and it's just been the last two weeks that I have settled in to a good, healthy sleep schedule. Remember that we had a lot of energy and at certain times of the night due to the care we were giving our loved ones. When they died and we no longer were expending this energy at these set times every night, our biological clock being so out of whack, needed serious adjustments.


I am not certain whether my insomnia is not due to caregiving for my wife late at night. 
What typically happens after I wake up at 3-4-5 am is I get up and do some chores, and depending on the time, go into my morning exercise routine. After that and a shower I eat breakfast, and then the endorphines from the exercise wear off, and then I feel like a zombie, and it isn't even time for me to go back to work yet.
I've been stuck in this rut and now because I had to call in sick just to get a few extra hours of sleep, I am in trouble at work. I am applying for fmla for this and the depression. Any suggestions would be great.


I was actually getting very sick, Arthur and knew I had to make serious changes and fast. I can only share with you how I did this and why I am now doing well, and sleeping peacefully. I hope it helps you.

1) I started getting up at 9AM every morning and stay physical all day long.
(Now, this was hard because I was grieving hard. Crying a lot. Pacing. Sitting for long periods in one place, unable to move, at times. So, it took an enormous amount of discipline on my part and I wasn't sure if I could even accomplish this, but knew at that point I had no choice. I had to give it my all and not think about it too much. I did like NIKE...I just did it!)

2) I eat healthy meals and at the same time everyday.
(When I was caring for my Dad, I ate when I had the chance to eat. I had no schedule. Toward the end, my sugar was dropping weekly as I would forget to eat as (we both know) that time runs away from us when we're caring for someone and very busy. I have one cup of coffee when I get up. I eat fruit around lunch time. For dinner, I have a big salad and usually add either broiled chicken, salmon or something I enjoy.

3) I go to bed at the same time every night, usually around 1-1:30.
(I am now getting 7 hours of good, uninterrupted sleep. I feel good when I wake up and not just because I sleep good but because I know what my day will hold, more or less. It's a new sense of security, stability in my daily routine. Routine wraps around us like a blanket of security. Routine and rut are two different things. I stay well aware to assure I will not fall into a rut.)

I felt the need to share this with you as it's really helping me. Geting me back on track and feeling really good again. Most importantly, as I am still grieving is to sure I am not staying *too* busy that I am going off track in regards to my grieving. I take the time I need throughout my day and do the same things I was doing the first 8 weeks and that is talking to Dad, writing to him, sharing about Dad with a hospice volunteer that calls me daily....basically taking care of my emotional needs, the best I can.

I went through something similar with my husband as he was bed bound the last months of his life. So, I had Dad and my husband at the same time so I really had my hands full. My poor men, bless their hearts were having such a hard time. After my husband died, if my Dad saw me cry it would upset him so I would have to wait until he either took a nap or was eating. See, my Dad didn't even know my husband died. He didn't know anyone else was in the house, due to his Alzheimer's. That was also a very difficult time.

Maybe try first, writing down what you feel would help you at this time. A healthy schedule. I know you work outside your home (I work at home) but you can still arrange a healthy and workable schedule. Because when we're run down, sick physically and at the same time, grieving well, this is not a good combination.

Something else you mentioned regarding your 'grieving well' and being able to sleep and visa versa; Maybe try and do this 3 or 4 hours before you know you're going to sleep; to enter into a peaceful activity and one that doesn't involve feeling stress and this will ease you into a good sleep pattern. When we have too much on our minds and too soon before sleep, it doesn't make for a good nights sleep. Not even close. I have been watching these goofy comedies, something I don't like ordinarily but they make me laugh until I cry and that, in itself is tiring. And, I go to sleep with a smile on my face. (It can't hurt, right?)

I'm not a doctor and won't even consider offering medical advice but will offer what is factual and that is that depression and deep sadness are two completely different things. Now, grieving over a long period of time can actually cause depression but too many doctors want to put someone who is grieving, and too quickly on anti-depressants. I heard that shared 1000 times. Sometimes, certain meds will actually prevent us from feeling what we need to feel, which is vital when grieving. Just food for thought and maybe discuss this with another doctor. One who is willing to hear your feelings. They ARE out there. I'm not aware of your situation but needed to share that with you. You may very well need this medication but then again, you may not. Also, monthly blood work is important to ensure the levels are balanced when taking an anti-depressant.

I've been where you are, Arthur. I AM where you are and it takes work everyday to keep myself on the straight and narrow as it's very easy to slip back into my old patterns of deep sadness, where it's at least *comfortable* and takes no work on my part to sit like a zombie all day, but this is not the life I want to live.

The peace I feel, along with just feeling so much better is picturing my Dad, smiling on me, saying, "It's about time, honey. That's my girl."

Holding you close and know that I understand and sure wish I could do more but I hope something I shared will maybe help you.

((((((((((Arthur)))))))))

You have my love,
Terry

Spring2012

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 03:09:53 PM »
Wow Terry you may not be a doctor -- but that is one of the best and most helpful e-mails that I have read on the subject of grieving and healing.
Thank you --

Arthur --I hope things are a little better for you --

Spring -
Good-night ! good-night !
As we so oft have said
Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days that are no more, and shall no more return.
Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn.

stampingwidow

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 04:35:38 PM »
I too have problems with waking up at 4:00 or so and being unable t go back to sleep.  If I avoid taking a nap, I seem to be better able to return to sleep in the middle of the night.  I still need to work on eating regularly.  I often forget to eat.

Your rapid heart beat symptoms make me wonder if you could be a side affect to any medications.  If I take ibuprofin or vicodin I have similar symptoms.  My heart feels like is going to pump right out of my body.  With Vicodan I also see purple spots.  Very few people have this reaction but it has been documented.  If you are taking any medications in the evening, ask the doctor or pharmacist to see if this could be the root of the problem.  It is a very scary sensation.  Hope things will improve for you.  At least you know that you are not alone.

gaberax

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 07:46:04 PM »
I've had trouble sleeping for months, Arthur.  Waking up at 3-4-5...just like you say.  and tell myself I have to get back to sleep to work.  Or cry for a few hours in the dark...talking outloud like a madman.

I was on some medication for another condition that came with a mild sedative.  It really helped and the dosage was so low as not to be a problem.  Just enough to relax enough to get to sleep and help me stay asleep.  I am off of it now and the "3am wakings" have resumed.  I am going to talk to my GP about a low dose prescription, I think.  At least for a while. After enough loss of sleep I cannot function.

sonya

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 01:51:20 AM »
Terry that was a fantastic and useful post. I am so sorry that you have had to get so good at this. Any more tips will be gratefully received.

I swing from sleeping as if i have slipped into a coma by being so exhausted from it all, to waking at stupid o clock in the morning.

If it is not too early then I get up and start my day. If it really is too early then I have found that praying or meditation really helps. Really focussing on each individual word and repeating slows my mind down enough to help me drift off to sleep. If not then just focussing on my breath going in and out helps too.

For a long time I was scared of going to bed because my mind would just go crazy, but getting into a pattern before bed has really helped me sleep quickly and stay asleep too.
So I try to drink decaf after one cup of caffiene in the morning. I shower, get changed for bed, read, pray, meditate and drift off. Of course this is not always the case but it is a pattern that often helps me.

I guess it sounds similar to Terry takling about the power of routines and the comfort that they give. I guess I am treating myself like a child and giving myself a good bedtime routine.

I hope this helps as  I know how horrible it is not to be sleeping xxxxxxxxx
Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy

oneangel

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 07:14:28 PM »
Arthur,
May you find some routine and the proper help to get you to be able to relax and start getting some sleep. When I started exercising back in the Fall, things were starting to settle with my sleep patterns. But I have slipped back into sleeplessness since the holidays, and now my daughter(6yrs old) has been really acting up and giving me a really hard time which has sent me into a whirlwind of mixed emotions. I am close to the end of my patience. Hoping a family grieving program starting in the spring sometime will help with my current situation.

Terry,
I never realized how much you have had on your plate. Your words of wisdom and unfortunate experience have been very helpful. I too work from home, running a daycare, but this is actually becoming frustrating to me now. Wish I could find some other work from home job. Still looking!
Thanks for your advice Terry!

Terry

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 11:03:56 PM »

((((Spring)))) Thank You for that nice message. I'm always glad if someone can take something with them, if it can help in some small way. I appreciate your sharing that with me!

((((Son)))) I had to smile when you shared that you were sorry that I was getting 'so good at this.' My warped sense of humor, I guess. But, hey...you made me smile and I thank you for that!! And, for your kind words. It sounds as if you're working very hard at keeping a workable routine. I know it's not easy, in fact it's a struggle most days but I think we're worth the peace we find. You're right, too to treat yourself like a child as we are taking those wobbly baby steps and will be for awhile. Continue taking care. You're on the right track!

((((Angela)))) I'm glad that you found what I shared helpful and thank you for letting me know. Working at home has both it's advantages and disadvantages, as you well know. I started a business in town here years ago but have been unable to work outside my home due to caring for my husband and my Dad. I have volunteers that have taken over and are keeping it running for now. And, my main source of income has always been from my work here at home. It takes so much more discipline to work at home, as my bed and my couch are more comfortable than my desk chair. :) (but with a daycare, that thought couldn't linger with you!!) Especially when we're grieving....but I'm doing like NIKE....Just Doing It!!!

Thanks, guys!! I always love hearing from you!

Love,
Terry

arthur

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 06:35:55 AM »
Wow thanks for the long post Terry! I didn't know that you lost your husband and your dad at almost the same time.  I am sorry you had to go through both of these losses. It sounded like the time from hell. Your words help shed light on the nocturnal care I had to give Maureen for a long time. You're right we do/did  have alot of energy at night when our loved ones were alive. It sure helps to hear I'm not the only one who has suffers/suffered from insomnia due to grief. What you said about deep sadness and depression  not being the same thing was also illuminating.  It makes me think that maybe you're right...the new anti-depressant my dr gave me I learned from the pharmacist can cause nausea(the dr told me it comes in and out of your system so fast most likely it won't).  I'm not going to get nauseous again due to some stupid drug. I've been dealing with my grief through grief groups(which I quit recently), therapy, exercise, and prayer. I've been**managing** it and living as normally as I can without drugs. I've been told by my family and friends that I've been doing a great job..I felt like I was too until the last few weeks.  I heard this one love song on the radio..and thats all it took to set my grief off and it has been strong lately.  I know its just grief in my mind..but- you know that gamut of emotions a griever goes through- it seemed I was going through them again.  Geez..and I thought I made some progress.  I haven't been journaling-and I know I should do this-so I think I'll make myself start again. Anything to help with the grief. My doctor wants me to do a sleep study and I think I'll try this..I don't know if it'll work or not. I thank you for your suggestions. I am actually doing most of them.    I am glad you have found some peace amidst all the tragedy you went through both with your husband and your father, Terry.  Its good to hear:))

Spring-thanks for your support!

Sonya-your words show me that maybe I need to spend more time in prayer. I am going to try this before bedtime too! I hope your grief has eased up some.
I didn't realize you were suffering from insomnia as well. I hope you can find a routine that'll help you get some sleep. ((Sonya))

Bob-I can relate to your posts so much. I take ambien..its in and out of your sytem fast..at least thats the way it works for me. I was addicted to it last fall when I had insomnia..I got off of it per my dr's orders..didn't have trouble sleeping..and now I am in the same boat again. Now I am trying to take it just when I feel like I need it..and that hasn't worked. I get to sleep on the night when I take the ambien..but not the next day. Maybe I need to start taking it regularly again. I didn't realize that you were having trouble sleeping too. I hope your gp can help.

Angela-Good to hear from you again! Wow yes kids can really set off the grief with their chaotic behavior sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself that grief involves such a mixed bag of emotions. Its not just missing your spouse..its alot of other emotions as well.  Just yesterday I had these weird feelings of desolation..I felt like where did this come from...? Its grief..and I had to mentally remind myself of that. I hope your efforts to find a family grief group help you!
I personally found griefshare to be extremely helpful and illuminating. I learned alot from that program.  Just google "griefshare" and see if the program suits you.

Stampingwidow-Hi and thanks for your suggestions! I try not to take a nap but it just doesn't help! Take this morning for instance. I was tired last night but I kept active cleaning up the kitchen and avoided taking a nap.  I had no trouble at all getting to sleep..its staying asleep that seems to be my problem.  I woke up this morning at 3 am again, rapid heart beat..no nightmares, no loud sound in the house to wake me up. I have a fan going to create white noise to help drown out sounds that might wake me up. All to no avail. I did my exercise as I always do in the morning..now I am coming down off of the endorphines and am starting to zombie out again.  I do take drugs at night ..but their the same heart meds i've been taking for years. I don't know.  Thanks for your suggestions. I hope you sleep better too. 

Well I am in the same boat this am. Got 3 hours of sleep. Now I have to figure out how Im going to function for today. Thanks for all the suggestions and support everyone! They're very much appreciated!
arthur

 

stampingwidow

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 07:33:49 AM »
I think this is something we have to work through.  Each persons approach will probably be different.  In a short term grief support group through hospice, the leader said that most of  us would have problems with insomnia.
She pointed out that our bodies need rest but that sleep was not required.  She suggested that if we can not sleep that we still try to get rest.  Instead of getting up and doing things, that it would be beneficial to our bodies is we just laid there and let it rest.  This is the opposite to what I was doing.  I tried her method and it seemed to help.  At night after in bed, I spend some time in prayer.  It helps me be able to relax and go to sleep.  If I wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. I usually can go back to sleep.  If I wake up at 4:00 or later, it is more difficult to go back to sleep.  If I have had a nap, it is a greater problem.  On the other hand, some days I just can not get along with out a nap.  It is an ongoing struggle.  Hope that through all the comments being made that something will help you and others with this problem.

Doug1222

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 10:18:20 AM »
Spring-thanks for your support!
Bob-I can relate to your posts so much. I take ambien..its in and out of your sytem fast..at least thats the way it works for me. I was addicted to it last fall when I had insomnia...

Arthur, my wife has some health problems that make it very hard for her to sleep (fibromyalgia, an anti-immune disorder, and some other stuff). She has a lot of pain that makes her not sleep. Not sleeping makes the pain worse. It's a snowball. Her doctor has her on a very low dose of Ambien that's meant to be taken indefinitely. It has helped her tremendously. She can't sleep at all without it, but it's not that she's addicted. They look at it like insulin for a diabetic. As far as we can see, she'll probably take it forever. It's a very low dose, though. Just another way to look at it. If the Ambien helps you, I wouldn't worry about being addicted.

I'm the exact opposite from you. I have no trouble at all sleeping once I'm asleep. On a regular night, I sleep solid until I have to get up...without even turning over. I could (and have) sleep through a tornado. It's getting to sleep that's a problem. It takes me three or four hours to get to sleep sometimes. Sometimes I just don't go to sleep. Once it passes a certain point, I'm better off just staying awake. I once was awake for seventy something hours when I was dating my wife. She's the one who kept track. My brain won't go off. I have found meditation and self-hypnosis help.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 06:25:58 AM by Doug1222 »

sonya

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 12:20:33 AM »
(((((((((Arthur))))))))))))

I seem to have bouts of insomnia. At the moment, like Doug, I am flat out and not woken by anything until its time for me to wake up. Then I go for a while scared of going to bed and lieing there thinking too much and unable to get to sleep, which is where my little routine started. For now it seems to be working for me so lets hope it continues.
Hope you getting the rest that you need tonight.

On another point, I have often taken naps in the afternoon, for years because teaching is so hectic. I often used to have about 45min nap when I got home and then carried on and slept really well. I dont know what the advice from the dr would be but I am thinking that as long as you get the sleep you need does it matter is some of it is in the day? Just a thought.

Take care,

Son xx
Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy

gaberax

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 05:44:22 AM »
Another point, Arthur.  I have cut way back on the caffeine during the day.  Switched from tea to water and regular coffee to decaf.

Also, I have started to "talk" to Denise when I wake up at those early hours (2:33am last night.)  Sometimes images pop into my head when I do.  I ask Denise if that means something.  I imagine she says Yes or No. And I follow it out.  I do this for 15 minutes or so and start getting sleepy again.  I then ask Denise if I can go to sleep and she says Yes.  Crazy?  Yeah but it works for me.

Doug1222

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 06:27:09 AM »
Crazy?  Yeah but it works for me.

Doesn't sound crazy to me. It sounds like a wonderful idea!

arthur

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Re: Insomnia
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 10:16:26 PM »
Hi Everyone! Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to start taking my sleeping pills every day for a week and see if that doesn't get me off of
this insomnia. Thanks for that info about your wife Doug. I have been back and forth with this insomnia and everything I've tried(napping, not napping,
getting up and do activities, relaxing in bed, etc) hasn't worked. I don't like to take drugs if I can help it but the pills are the last thing I can think of until I get to a sleep specialist in a few weeks. Thanks again everyone, arthur