Friday, October 01, 2004

It's STEWPID, stupid!

I give up.

I was a sickly infant, then a sickly child, then a sickly child minus the painful tonsils, then a sickly teenager and then things perked up, and then my nose cartilage got surgeried (THERE IS NOW!) into what should have been the original shape, bacteria lost their spa nook of sorts and things perked up even more. (But let me share the joys of months of weekly penicilin injections to prevent rheumatic fever in 1985. Heart is fine but it's a not so small wonder I can still WALK. Oh, and when you're a teenager, it's just brilliant to be taken ill every 5th week. You feel so much more normal and accepted.) So I was left with a very healthy respect for medication, i.e., I will take it only when ABSOLUTELY necessary. Unnecessary or improperly used medication can actually kill you or decrease your quality of life because:

a) Either you are self-medicating and may very well end up creating havock with vital organs or plain killing yourself (there's a reason why those people spend a decade studying, it's not that they love it so); or

b) you lower your natural resistances by bringing in the cavalry when one foot soldier would be more than adequate and increase kidney/liver workload (and those are noble organs you need to pamper); and
c) your over or improper or not-taken-long-enough medication may have as a consequence your not only having screwed up your own immune system BUT your, in addition, having helped create resistent bacteria strains because you were feeling better and didn't take the prescribed antibiotics for the entire length of time - and that's VERY SCARY. People are actually DYING again because of it (e.g. tuberculosis, flesh-eating bacteria - and I'm not making this up!).

So I am now getting to my point, because I do have one, yes I do, though I've managed to fool you.

Sadly, even though I suffer from it and have from when I was a small child, even though I am now writing to you about it because of it (it's 4.30 am), I have, REPEATEDLY, the hardest time accepting the fact that insomnia cannot be dealt with naturally.

And that makes me not only sleepless and exhausted but also profoundly stupid, the kind of stupid that should be spelled STEWPID because it is so beyond what is acceptable, really, that it is a whole new category, it's stupid with a really bad attitude, it's the stupid that knows better, gives you grief and is, of course, INVARIABLY WRONG.

This particular insomnia phase started in June, before a really bad exam which I passed but the damage had been done. My insomnia bouts are triggered by anxiety and then they acquire a mind of their own. (I will one day post about what it does to your mind and body to only be able to fall asleep at around 10 am for a month, and then a month, and then a month and a half in 3 sucessive years. But that will be tackled only after I'm sleeping again.) As bouts go, this one is not too bad. It came and went for a while. Nowadays - nowadays! - I usually fall asleep around 5.30-6.00, before the sun comes up. If you're lucky, you have no notion of the way you feel the next day if by the time you manage to go to sleep the sun is up already.

This is very genetically unfair. My mother will say "I think I'll sleep for 10 min", close her eyes and IMMEDIATELY fall asleep. My father will sleep in on weekends, then have a nap in the afternoon, then have no problem falling asleep in the evening. Disgraceful.

I, on the other hand, have trouble falling asleep - and must read, absolutely MUST or will not be able to, even in between bouts, wake up (in my bedroom) if my mobile so much as peeps bcs it received a text message (in living-room with hallway in between, happened 2 nights ago), wake up tired and sore, fight to stay awake throughout the day in the hope of thus re-regulating sleeping patterns, get the migraine and nausea from hell whenever I can't resist napping and forget about sleeping at night then, have trouble falling asleep even when I slept next to nothing the night before, and have trouble falling asleep even when I didn't sleep AT ALL the night before.

he good news is I managed to reduce the aggravation to almost nothing and don't let it annoy me anymore. I can't sleep? I'll read, then, or blog, or browse and manage quite a philosophical approach to the whole thing that is quite effective almost all the time - exceptions being those times when my life is effectively derailed.

(Please DO NOT give me any advice on how to overcome insomnia, I've tried everything and can't hear about it anymore. It doesn't work. But thanks all the same.)

Considering I now know exactly that my insomnia spins out of control after a certain duration and a certain time of falling asleep (still awake by 4 am is a bad, bad omen), and considering I now know for a fact that this loop creates a positive feedback that causes me to stay awake for longer and longer as time goes by, and considering that it makes a wreck out of me, and considering that in all the years I've suffered from it I have NOT ONCE been able to break the cycle NATURALLY - i.e. through sheer willpower or herbs- you would think I've by now learned that more extreme measures need to be taken AS SOON AS IT SETS IN.

You would think that.

But remember my 1st paragraph, eons of kms ago? I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH TAKING MEDS FOR SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE THEM. Even if it does. Which my insomnia does. And I know this because this is an old replay of my least favourite sit-com. But my mind has embraced the notion that insomnia is not a real ailment. You didn't break anything, you don't have an infection, you're not in immediate danger, it's insomnia for pity's sake!


So instead of breaking the cycle right away, I let myself be driven crazy for a looooong loooooong time before caving in. Why? WHY??? Because I'm stewpid, we've established that.

I am oficially giving up. I will tomorrow take the sleep-inducer at 23.00 and enjoy a refreshingly normal sleep that will take place during regular hours. And the day after I will do the same, and the same shall happen. And the day after that, the universe being so (generously) inclined, I will no longer need to. Because I will have been NORMALISED, blessed be.

I do need to sleep. I really, really need to sleep. Not only because I do, since I am alive, but also because school will start in a few days and there are lectures and lab classes. And I would love to attend them, and I would love to attend them with a modicum of sanity. As of tomorrow, Stilnox is a friend.

Hi, my name is Lioness and I'm an insomniac. I NEED HELP. And that's ok, you bloody bimbo! What took you so long?

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At 1/10/04 18:02, Blogger Dale said...

Bravo! Take the damn meds. It's good to be skeptical, very skeptical, but sometimes they're the right tool for the job, and then it's just foolishness and obstinacy not to take them.

At 1/10/04 22:56, Blogger Marg said...

stewpid should be spelt like that because there's a never ending stew of stewpid things that can be done.

I'll say something intelligent soon... just let my brain begin working again. It may take a little while.

At 2/10/04 17:22, Blogger CarpeDM said...

I hate insomnia. Really hate it. And I hate that feeling your eyes get when you do get a little bit of sleep but so not enough and then your eyes feel all dry and like someone has rubbed sandpaper over them.

My major problem now is not that I can't fall asleep but that I don't sleep well. Probably sleep apnea but I'm putting off going to the doctor about it.

Oh, well. I hope you get a good night's sleep.


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