Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Insomnia isn't fun

So here's the good news - I'm off my heart medications because they contribute to lowering my blood pressure to a point that is dangerous. So far I've had no a-fib episodes and my heart is beating fairy regularly most of the time. My thyroid numbers are moving in the right direction and the adrenal fatigue has lifted somewhat. I have energy most days for most of the day.

The bad news - I have insomnia. It is not fun. You lie there with your eyes closed, expecting to drift off to sleep at any moment. Instead, you are singing songs in your head, redoing conversations you had earlier, writing essays, planning trips, doing your shopping list, worrying about your health, trying to figure out a solution to a problem. When you try to stop the thoughts, they only get worse. Trying to meditate doesn't work either. You've been told not to get up and get on the computer because the light isn't good for promoting sleep, but after hours of these non-stop thoughts, you must do something to distract yourself. And spider solitaire fits the bill.

What causes insomnia on some nights and not others, I wonder. Will I ever be a person who gets a good night sleep on a regular basis again? I used to be such a good sleeper.

Thoughts, anyone?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - not sleeping is a pain isn't it ... and tiring, to say the least. Count sheep - that's what I was told .. not sure how many sheep there are .. but that'll keep you occupied for a while?!

Playing Spider I'd have thought wasn't such a great idea - it's addictive ... I took it off my machine so I can't get tempted - at any time of the day or night.

Some people swear by a cup of tea, or warm milk .. the thought appals me ... but good luck with getting this last piece of the jigsaw sorted out ...

... so pleased the medication or lack of is helping and you have more energy - good luck with the sleep patterns .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

Karen I read a book entitled "I Can Make You Sleep" by Paul McKenna.
In it among other things it say don't go to bed until your're REALLY tired. Should you awaken in the night for more than 20 mins. get up and do something boring. I get nights I keep waking up, sometimes his suggestions work other nights not so, I think it's all to do if one has health or family issues rearing it's ugly head.
Pleased your health is improving,
Here's to a good night's sleep.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can sleep through most the night, but getting to sleep can take a while. Exercise can help. They say doing something light thirty minutes before bed will help you sleep. Maybe some good stretches?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have been plagued by insomnia for years and years. I finally discovered something a few years ago over-the-counter that works wonders! A generic sleep aid at Wal Mart!

Crystal Collier said...

I've always been inclined toward insomnia, but I was on some meds for a year that pretty much guarenteed an all-nighter at least once a week. I feel your pain. I read more. Paper books. I also plotted more stories in my head and planned out new scenes. It wasn't wasted time, but being tired all the time is definitely troubling.

Robin said...

I have battled insomnia for a long time. Have you tried directed meditation? I am talking about CDs with someone's voice on them guiding you along. If my brain is too busy, I can't stay focused on my own meditation, BUT if I listen to someone else... totally different story.

Karen Walker said...

Hilary, thank you so much - wish I could drink milk but I could try de-caffeinated tea!
Yvonne, thanks - I'll try to stay up till I'm really really tired instead of going to sleep the same time every night. Thanks for the suggestion.
Alex, hmmm stretching sounds like a wonderful idea.
Optimistic, which one???
Crystal, it sure is - sorry you have the same problem

Karen Walker said...

Robin, no I haven't - but that's a great idea I'll look into it

Suzanne Furness said...

Sorry to hear you are struggling with insomnia. I tend to go through phases of it. Thankfully it is not all the time for me. I always take a mug of chamomile tea to bed with me, I think it helps.

mooderino said...

I have periods where I can't sleep and my way to deal with it is to read. Either the book will bore me to slumber or engage me so much I actually have fun being awake. Plus it helps get my TBR pile down a little. I do still feel wrecked the next day but I figure I would have felt like that anyway, but this way I have something to show for my red eyes.

Moody Writing

Karen Walker said...

Suzanne, sounds lovely but I'm afraid I'd be up all night doing you know what from all the liquid.
mooderino, love the idea of finding ways to actually have fun while I'm awake - altho' it still doesn't solve the problem of being exhausted the next day.

Amy Jarecki said...

Congrats on getting off your heart medicine!!!! On the insomnia thing, my husband has to take sleep medicine to survive, otherwise he can't sleep and no one can live with him. He's a pharmacists and says there are classes of drugs out there with almost no side-effects. Maybe talk to your doc? Good luck...hope you get some sleep!!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Ah, insomnia. We should have a club. I go through that now and then. I decided a few years ago to quit fretting about it. I get more sleep some nights than others and seem to get along okay. More IS better though. My list of aids duplicates much of what others have said:

* Stay up until I can't keep my eyes open. Write that story that won't let go.

* Find an audio book with a low tension story told in a soothing voice. Listen to it with earbuds at barely audible volume, over and over and over and over. It works like meditation for me, keeping my mind focused on the story and I don't need to stay awake because I can practically recite it by heart.

If you can find suitably soothing music that would be good too, playing it over and over. Spoken voice works best for me.

You could record your own "hypnotic" tape, or have someone with a soothing voice do it for you and loop that.

* Benadryl -- not too often. It takes two or three hours to kick in, and nine or ten to wash through, so I need to plan ahead for this one. It's not a 2 am solution. If I've gone two or three nights with little sleep, this is a good way to break the cycle. Some people feel too hung over the next day.

* Ambien -- I've been hooked on this and won't do that again! I use it maybe four to six times a year, so a prescription lasts forever.

* Chamomile tea -- I don't find this notably effective.

* Alcohol -- I might try this at 3 am, but am leery of falling into the trap, and it doesn't always work.

* Valerian root -- the jury is out.

* Melatonin -- sometimes helps. This is a hormone. You might do well to discuss it with your doc before using it.