**POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING – this post is about insomnia, alcohol and sedatives**
I’m going through a bit of an unstable phase at the moment. I feel like I’ve been walking the line between wired and sedated for weeks. Drinking too much, not exercising or eating and taking tranquilizers.
This morning I actually fell over on the tube, but I don’t remember tripping. One minute I was on my feet and the next on the floor, (after grabbing a few people on the way down). I was so embarrassed. It’s like being underwater or not quite in my body. I knew the tranquilizers were still in my system and slowing my reactions.
I actually feel ashamed writing this, because someone with my amount of experience should know better. So what’s my excuse? Well I’ve had too much on my plate lately. What with my wedding (six weeks to go), hen dos, working late, writing my book and picking up freelance work I’ve been stretched thin. Most people could probably handle it, but I struggle and fall into bad habits. It’s my own fault, nobody forces me to take on so much. Sometimes I wonder if I’m addicted to the buzz of it all.
About six years ago I went through a phase of insomnia. For a month I lived off four hours sleep a night. I was working in a job I hated at the time, so the days were long. I should’ve recognised it was anxiety, but for some reason I ignored it. I won’t go into detail, but it wasn’t pretty and I had to take a week off work to recover. In many ways it was probably the prelude to my breakdown three years later. I’ve never had a great relationship with sleep but, but since the experience I’ve had a great fear that the insomnia could return. Any signs scare the sh** out of me.
I went home this weekend for my gran’s 80th birthday. On the Saturday night I woke up with a start around 2am and didn’t fall asleep again. I knew it when I woke up, I wouldn’t settle again. All the thoughts I’d been ignoring flooded my brain:
- You’re going to ruin your own wedding. Everybody has worked so hard on this and you’re going to let them all down.
- You’re going to get fired
- You’ll get ill again and lose everything
- This condition will eventually be the end of you. There’s no escape and you know it.
At 8:30 I finally got up. I don’t like to tell people because it upsets them. I felt fine and didn’t miss the sleep.
When I got back to London that evening I noticed the signs… I wasn’t going to fall asleep again. But this time it was different as I had work the following day and needed sleep to function. I couldn’t cope with the idea of it coming back. So I took a very strong sedative and technically went over the suggested dose (f**king stupid I know and I’m not proud). But it worked… although I didn’t so much fall asleep as lose consciousness. I slept through my alarm for twenty minutes and Dan had to wake me.
I would need shed loads of caffeine to balance the effects.
**DON’T WORRY I RECOGNISE THAT THIS IS DANGEROUS AND I NEED TO DO SOMETHING**
The mild insomnia on Saturday night was just the tip of the ice berg. I’ve fallen into a vicious cycle lately. Feeling ‘wired’ and then ‘tired,’ or ‘high’ and then ‘low.’ When I’m wired I’m on edge and can’t think straight.. and when I’m tired (usually happens during the day… bloody typical!) I can’t think of anything except how much I wish I could sleep.
Add a good dollop of guilt and self-loathing and we’re good to go! After all, It’s boring right? How much more of this can those closest to me be expected to hear.
It’s an easy cycle to spot too, I just did so very clearly then. But why haven’t I done anything? My biggest excuse is laziness. I don’t want to exercise or do CBT after a long day. I want a quick fix that requires minimal effort. I have an overwhelming urge to ‘check out of life’ when I’m like this.
Alcohol is an easy way to ‘take the edge off’ a stressful day. It makes me feel calm and less wired… and I really bloody like the taste! Sedatives are also an easy way to bring me down, but I’ve always had a high tolerance and can never get the dose right. My gym membership expired and I can’t really afford to renew it, so I was supposed to take up running outside (hasn’t happened). Also I’ve been eating badly because I’m tired and therefore crave carbs.
Now that I’ve scared you all to death let me tell you that it’s ok. I have to hit rock bottom before I can get better.. and that happened (literally) this morning when I fell on my arse. Doing things by half doesn’t work for me. I need to get back into a strict routine until I’m stable.
So what’s the plan:
- No alcohol at all until Saturday (it’s my second hen do). I might even give my debit card to Dan so that I can’t buy any from Sainsburys. It might sound extreme to many people but I like the freedom that comes with knowing that I couldn’t get any even if I wanted to.
- Give all the sedatives to Dan.
- Go running in the evenings rather than the mornings. It’ll give me something to do and take the edge of in a healthy way.
- Plan meals for the week. Lots of fish is needed.
- Be prepared for disturbed sleep and tackle it head on with CBT exercises. Trying to ignore it doesn’t work. If I don’t sleep that’s ok – I’ll take some of my own advice from an earlier post. https://wordpress.com/post/weallmadhere.com/863 Wish me luck!