I am not sure when I realized I was not sleeping. I think I had to start dreaming again to fully understand dream state was a place I wasn’t visiting. But by then I had all sorts of problems and was completely coming undone. I could not sleep but was exhausted. Slept ten hours a night only to wake up more fatigued than when I went to bed. Simultaneously suffering from insomnia and a REM thirst I could not quench, I was in an awful state of purgatory. Tylenol PM became my best friend, but eventually that stopped working. I got a prescription for Ambien and a referral for a sleep study. I slept with Ambien, enough to not melt into a puddle of mush at my retail job. But not nearly enough to feel even close to good. Then the sleep study lady was wont to prescribe me any more of the sleep medication. I begged and pleaded, explaining I could not work if I could not get rest. My brain was not shutting off. Why wasn’t she understanding this? But at this point in my life even working my scaled back job with shortened hours was becoming next to impossible.
So I went and had myself a good old fashioned breakdown. Had to cancel the sleep study scheduled for the next night but did find something to knock me out, Neurontin. It was originally prescribed by my psychiatrist to calm my over-firing neurotic central nervous system. It helped with anxiety and sleep and eventually pain, too. But I did not dream again, really reach the deep stage of sleep where the body repairs itself and builds immunity and the brain filters it’s subconscious through strange mashed up images, for a while. It took lots of treatment and medications.
And then one night I dreamed. It shocked me, for how had I not realized I was missing them? Things started to fall into place. There may have been that undiagnosed sleep problem for years, long before I ever felt symptoms! My poor body had chugged along as best it could without the ability to repair itself or maintain a healthy immune system. Until it couldn’t anymore. I spent years sleeping, ten to twelve hours a night. I had a lot to make up for and although I felt like a zombie who was sleeping my life away, something worked. My pain let up and never returned to the degree I suffered before getting lots and lots of sleep and trying different medications and treatments. Now it's plain as Christmas on December 25th when I don’t sleep. I feel terrible. My mood, my pain, my desire to participate in life. It all tanks. Before I slept and woke up exhausted. Now, for the most part, I wake up mildly interested in tackling this thing called life.
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