Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sweet Dreams

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.

Thanks for joining,


  1. I finally tried melatonin and discovered that 10 mg a night gives me a decent night's sleep. First time in my 47 years on this planet that I've been getting decent sleep.

    I take the melatonin, benadryl, and 2 ambiens every night to sleep. For anyone else, this would probably be a drug overdose. I'm immune.


  2. Great post! I originally began using a combination of Melatonin, Calcium, and Magnesium for sleep, but it wasn't long until I built up tolerance to them. Moved onto Tylenol PM, then Ambien, and now Temazepam. For some reason I just keep building up tolerance after a month or two :( So frustrating!

    Big fan of the Fibromyalgia Fun House, by the way! :D

  3. I had a sleep study done three years ago. The study showed that I never reached REM sleep and aroused over 130 times. My primary Doc was satisfied that I didn't have sleep apnea and didn't look any further into the results. I know everyone responds differently to the treatments available, but can anyone share what has helped them? I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia around the same time.
    Still A Zombie

    1. I had a sleep study because I was sleeping 16-20 hours of unrefreshing sleep a day. After the first overnight, they called me and had me do the night and day MSLT, where they let you fall asleep during the day, then wake you up after 15 minutes. If you dream in REM sleepduring those short naps, you have narcolepsy. I have narcolepsy and what is weird if, if you have narcolepsy, you have a 50% chance of having fibro, also a 30% chance of having IBS, which is the third part of the triangle. You probably should have a MSLT to find out if you dream right away when you go to sleep. The good news about having fibro, I get Xyrem for my narcolepsy, which helps a lot with the fibro. Xyrem makes you sleep in stage 4 deep sleep the correct amount of time. The first morning after taking the xyrem, I literally popped out of bed before the alarm went off. I found in my sleep studies that i wake up 16 times an hour, so I never get into deep sleep. The Xyrem forces one to sleep better. I can remember dreams where I told myself in my sleep, "Better hurry up, the Xyrem is wearing off." Then pop you are awake. Xyrem is my drug of choice. wahela

    2. Wow, I always dream during naps...I could not figure that one out. Why not at night? And I do have IBS! Thank you so much for the info. Now, if I can get my Doc to listen!
      Thanks Anonymous & Thanks Leah

  4. Leah, do you think that Ambien sleep is restful and healing sleep? I have taken it for years and can't sleep without it but I, too wake up fatigued and in pain. I don't dream taking it. I am wondering if it does more harm than good but I don't know if I could stand the withdrawal if I tried to stop taking it.

  5. I wake up constantly at night because I can only lay on one side for an hour or two. I tried Ambien but it gave me such bad nightmares and it didn't help much. Now I take my nighttime sinus medicine and advil PM. It helps some but nothing else really helps.


  6. @Chelle I also tried melatonin, but it was not for me. It made me feel very, very groggy. Which brand did you purchase?