October 22, 2014

Insomnia - How I got over it in three steps

Hello again!

I am guilty of neglecting this blog . As some of you may know (and can read in ya previous posts) I originally set it up to just keep track and share some stuff of my daily life. Then Insomnia started to hit me really hard. It started in July/August 2013 and I had it for more than a year, sometimes with more than 3 sleepless nights a week. I started to be so down and tired that it was literally impossible to do ANYTHING besides going to work and going home.

No social life, no nightlife, no nothing. Now, I don't think I will ever be "cured" - in tense situations with a lot of pressure I will probably have problems again. But I can say that since August 2014 my sleep and life quality has improved a great deal. In the next days I will share the steps I took to cope with my problem.

1) Change your mind
Most people who have insomnia know that the biggest enemy is our mind . (After ruling out medical conditions, such as tiroids etc) People with insomnia tend to be sensitive persons who carry their problems with them and can't shut down their minds. Since I was little, I tended to have a delicate sleep and problems at school often made it impossible for me to rest. Then I accepted a very challenging job in 2013 , while at the same time finishing my master. I worked crazy hours, after I came home from work i would study and then usually work again until 1 am or even later. I know now that this was a mistake. No job is worth risking your health. I got to the point when I started to see blurry during the day and felt dizzy when I got up in the morning. And when I didn't get all my work done, I wouldn't sleep because I felt so guilty, thinking about how I could get it all done the next day.This was how it all started. After i finished my master things started to get better, but I had already established a sleeping pattern that I couldn't overcome any more. As time passed, I didn't have sleepless night because of stress at work,, but because I was stressing about not being able to sleep. In the mornings I would get up and think about the next night. A vicious circle. At some point thinking of my bed would make me so nervous that I started sweating and my pulse went up. When I couldn't sleep, I would work at night as I knew that my performance during the day would be low. Frequently, I would wake up my boyfriend crying because I felt so worn out and because I thought I would never be "normal" again. The thought to remain sleepless for the rest of my life was terrifying.

I signed up in  an online community for people with insomnia. It was great to see that I am not the only one with this problem, and that some people slept even less than I. I had some great and very helpful conversations with people from this community who told me more about their experiences and what helped them after bad nights. It was a first step for me to learn how to cope with my problem. Trying to break the vicious circle. Celebrating every progress ( such as "I slept 2 hours tonight, instead of 0 hours" ), thinking that some people are alive and ok after more than 20 years with an average of 3 or 4 hours a night - and how lucky I was to be able to fight insomnia at an early stage. Thinking of all those people who have serious medical conditions such as cancer etc, and that I had no right to get so worked up about some sleepless nights. I signed up for meditation and yoga classes, that helped me to relax my mind. I stopped working at night. When I had a sleepless night, I would be allowed to read a little but it was prohibited to switch on the TV or Laptop.

These were the first things I did and that I would describe as the psychological step. There are two more things that i found important: 2) establishing a very regular schedule and 3) medication.

Expect more posts about this within the next days. I will also take up some other topics on my blog again, and of course if you have any questions feel free to send me a mail or comment,

Have a nice day :)

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