I thought it was because we moved house. I thought it was because we'd finally sorted out our finances to a place where we weren't constantly chasing our tails (so long as we were very conservative with our spending). I thought it was because we had a car.
Now I know it was because I was on anxiety medication.
That was quite a depressing realisation when it finally dawned on me. I can't help but feel incomplete as a person because I need medication to feel like living. I know I'm not alone, but still...
You see, I had gotten into a poor pattern with sleeping and in doing so, I had let taking the medication slip. At first it was a day here and there and then it was every second day until finally I realised one day I hadn't taken it in a week.
The realisation came as I sat in tears at 4am feeling completely at a loss as to why I felt so goddamn awful when nothing had changed. We were still in the same beautiful house, the car was in the driveway and running smoothly (relative for her age), and we had money in the bank, but I felt awful. I had had nightmare after nightmare for weeks on end. Really horrible nightmares like Bryn drowning - where I felt the full gamut of grief from denial through to guilt and despondency. I woke up no longer wanting to live.
In fact, I've had that feeling of no longer wanting to live a few times in the past couple of weeks.
Yes, it had truly been a sucky time.
The insomnia has been horrendous. I was not sleeping at all at night and then either trying to catch an hour or two before going to work, or giving up completely and sleeping 10 hours throughout the day.
I cannot keep doing this.
So, I have devised a six point plan to sort myself out.
The Six Point Plan ~
- Anti-anxiety medication: I've filled a new prescription for the anxiety medication and will take it every night at dinner time, so I don't forget. When I started taking the meds in Jan/Feb I found they helped to regulate my sleep, so I'm hoping they will do this again, but I won't rely solely on them.
- Melatonin: I have some Melatonin from the US - both a rapid action form and a slow release form and I will take both at the same time I take the anti-anxiety meds. Hopefully these will make me feel sleepy by about 9pm at night - which is usually the time I'm starting to wake up.
- Iron: I think my iron levels are low and this is part of the reason I feel so sleepy throughout the day and why I am prone to craving a nap mid-afternoon, which then feeds the insomnia during the night and causes me to feel tired through the next day (such a vicious cycle). So, I'm taking liquid iron to try and build up my iron stores.
- Berocca: A friend of mine told me recently that she takes Berocca regularly to help with her energy levels. I thought it was really only for hangovers (which I almost never suffer). So, anyway, I've decided to give Berocca a go as well to help keep the energy levels up throughout the day.
- Exercise: I'm going to start going for a daily walk again. I used to do this all the time to lose weight. The goal isn't to lose weight this time and I probably won't walk very far, rather it is to get some fresh air and use my body in the hopes that it will help to regulate my hormones and help me sleep more soundly at night and maybe use up some built up tension in my muscles. At the end of the day, I have one of those bodies which - naturally - has a fair bit of (well hidden) muscle and which feels tense and tight when I don't use those muscles. I suffer from restless legs - and arms for that matter - and I often feel like punching something just to dispel the built up tension in the muscles. So, I'm going to walk that tension out.
- Sunlight: As a side effect of walking I'm going to get some more sunlight. This is a more natural way of activating the body's melatonin production than taking tablets but I'll take the tablets as well, for now.
It has been nice to be up in the middle of the night and to get painting done and tatting (my newest obsession), but my head is foggy and I feel unable to concentrate enough to get work done for the PhD during daylight hours.
I'm going to see how this goes over the next month.