ADHD, DUI, Depression, Insomnia, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, PTSD

A note to the sleepless…

You’re tired, but you can’t sleep. Your head won’t calm down, and you shoulders won’t ease up. You grind your teeth and repeat over and over “just fall asleep” but it isn’t working like it used to.

You wonder what time it is now, illuminating the screen on your phone, knowing that’s not going to help the problem either. You wander around the house and try to eat something, smoke a cigarette and crawl back in bed, hoping the combination would mysteriously work this time.

My thoughts race, and I feel like I should jump into action, make a to do list, go to the gym right then, call my friend I just remembered had messaged me awhile back, but it’s too late/early in the morning to do anything so I just lay there.

I pick the scab of the wounds that are still fresh, as if they are in my skin, but really they run through my mind.

I make myself think of all the things that could have happened, to me, to my loved ones, to all the others that were on the road that night, and I cry. Tears are coming down my face and my nose is so stuffed up I can barely breathe, I pick at the edge of the guilt wound. How incredibly difficult it would be to leave behind my parents and my sister, and how harsh the world would be to them. I’m the Drunk driver, If I died in that car accident  would there be any sympathy to my family? What would have happened if I had killed someone. My family would be the enemy and take all the blame for the crime and lack of responsibility I took that night. Even if they too had lost a child? Who would be there for them? How much more pain could they deal with? I successfully peeled the scab off the wound, crying and yelping, and feeling so miserable about myself that I just sob. I take a colonopin and drift off tears still running down my face.

Crying actually helps me fall asleep I’ve noticed. Not as nice as a joint or a glass of wine would put me down previously, but it made it into my nightly routine for the first 5 or 6 months.

It could take hours to fall asleep. Hours of thinking and trying to avoid my thoughts. I started a bullet journal, I had purchased adult coloring books, my mom had sewn me a weighted blanket, but it didn’t matter how tired I was, mentally or physically, I couldn’t get to sleep.

I partially blame this on my ADHD and the fact that I was now sober, and hadn’t really slept sober in a long time (besides the ten nights in jail). It was hard to make everything calm down, which is probably why I thoroughly enjoyed a joint before bed on the regular.

I also blame jail. Not only was it hard for me to fall asleep, it was also like clockwork that I would wake up at 2 am from a night terror. My pulse would be in the 115 range, which is like me walking up a flight of stairs, I would be sweating through my clothes, unable to breathe and the last thing I could remember was part of the dream. Either being killed, or having to kill someone, or being trapped in a sinking car/ship/bathroom stall. The night terrors were rough. I would wake up in a panic attack, knowing that what I just experienced in my dream wasn’t real, but does that really make a difference when you first wake up?

The night terrors were true to their name, terrible. Horrifying and confusing, my mind making up mazes in my head of scary torment turned into reality. I saw people I know, I was forced to kill or be killed, and there was always so much blood. Houses would start on fire with me in them, I would drown at the hands of my friends and I would wake up crying, sometimes so bad I couldn’t fall back asleep.

My average night sleep was 4.3 hours. The only reason I know that is from my Fitbit watch. I could see the times of night I suffered through pantic attacks, raised heart rate and very rapid light sleep.

As things got less intense from probation, and life in general started getting easier not long ago, I was doing a lot better. I was working out and on a good morning routine, I slept 6 or 7 hours a night and took colonopin before bed to help ease the terrors.

Soon they started to drift. They would come out of the blue, and still do every once in awhile, they throw off my day, I wake up feeling that my dream was reality and not feeling like I could shake it off.

Recently I started new medication of depression/Anxiety. I switched from wellbutrin XL to Lexapro, my Dr increased the dosage I think before I. was ready, and I started sleeping ALOT. At first I was like “Yessssss!! Oh sleep how I have missed you!” To “OH my GOd! I slept 14 hours last night and I’m still tired WTF”. I’d come home and get right into bed and sleep until I needed to get up to go to work.

I consulted a friend on the same medication and she recommend me taking 15 instead of the 20 mg dosage. Since the change I have not been soo tired, and I’m able to stay asleep once I can fall asleep.

I take really long naps on the weekends, and average about 6 hours on weekdays.

I spoke to my Phsychiatrist about the changes I noticed from upping the dosage and how I had started taking 15 mg vs 20. She was really understanding and suggested I start taking it at night. It was a game changer. It not only helped me sleep, but It helped me to feel less groggy during the day.

I still struggle to find the balance and I truly think it all comes down to the racing thoughts each night.

I have tried all sorts of other remedies but I’m prone to headaches, which are a common side affect of so many stimulants and antidepressants. I take concerta for my ADHD at work. I have tried taking less, and it’s not a good sight. I used to take melatonin at night, but was getting really bad light sensitivity during the day giving me headaches, and noticed it was because my pupils were dilated from the medicines.

Sometimes I’m up until 4 am wondering why the F I can’t just fall asleep, other nights I’m out before I even turn off my bedroom light or feed the cat..

Anyone else get this way? I have started to color again, hoping that will ease my mind before bed, I also just ordered myself a salt lamp… i’ve heard that should help too

Anyways, a note from the sleepless to the other sleepless… HELP

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