Sunday, 15 December 2013

I Can't Sleep

I'm tired today. For the last few nights I have been struggling with getting to sleep. I lay in bed, awake, thinking, wondering about things. The anxiety builds in me and I can't seem to shake it. As I lay there, I contemplate what is happening to me, what will happen to me, how long this will go on. I think about what has happened in the last year and visualize what will happen in the next.

As all of this goes on in my mind, my body fails to cooperate. It's not enough that sleep escapes me but comfort escapes me too. I simply cannot toss and turn as others do. For each toss, for every turn, I must manually move my legs, lifting them off, over and down. I have to reach down to re-adjust sheets and blankets; my lower legs are not strong enough to do this. I struggle, ever so slightly, with swallowing while I lay there, so I sit up, then lay back down. All in all it becomes a restless night, night after night.

This is not my situation alone. In talking with PALS, they tell me that sleeping difficulties are not uncommon. Many of them use sleep aids or anxiety drugs, helping them get past the barrier to rest and into the land of slumber. I have decided to avoid those kinds of drugs, instead focusing on my mind and body, leaning heavily on my mental skills to comfort myself. It works most of the time; the last few days have been the exception, not the rule.

Many years ago I went through a depressive period. During that time I took Prozac as a way to moderate the lows of my mood. What I found is that the drug did make the down periods less down; it also made the up periods less up. I hated the general feeling that went with the drug. My ex-wife loved it when I was drugged; it made me easier to manage. Things didn't seem to matter that much when I was on Prozac. I want life to matter. It does matter, and what happens in it matters. I want to be there for it.

If you want to live your life disconnected from how you feel, things like Prozac and Atavan are fine. If you have a true medical condition, clinical depression or some such thing, these drugs can be a life saver. For me, however, I prefer to be in touch with myself. I prefer to feel my feelings and let them go. I prefer to work through my issues and come out the other end with a better understanding of who I am and what I am doing. I'll be okay after a few days; I just need to go through this period of sleeplessness. It will end, as do all things.


  1. Hi Richard - your blog is truly uplifting and beautifully written. But I wish you would consider something (like a touch of Ativan) to help you sleep if your doctors sign off on it. It's nothing like Prozac (the two are completely unrelated from a pharmacology standpoint)- it wears off in about 8 hours and helps with sleep and muscle relaxation. You really deserve a good night's sleep! You could just try one dose and see how you feel - if you don't like it, you don't have to take it again.

    Take care,
    Anna R. (a fan who has been reading your blog)

    1. Hi Anna

      I understand your point of view. The doctors regularly administer these drugs when you spend the night in hospital. I would rather not, for now. I'm okay.