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Just checking in to say hello

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by chickenbone, May 2, 2016.

  1. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Hi everyone. I have not been on the forum in awhile, but I have learned a lot while I was away.

    Thanks to my TMS experience, I have beaten most of the back pain and various other chronic complaints like acid reflux and headaches. I now know what brings them on and am ever vigilant for the danger signs. Basically, whenever I begin to have the old familiar physical complaints, I know right away that I am not successfully processing my emotions. Whenever my mind races, I know that I am intellectualizing my response to certain specific emotions rather then feeling my feelings in my body, identifying the emotion giving me difficulty in the moment, and processing the emotion in a healthy way.

    To give an example, I just experienced a perfect recipe for the unwelcome return of a smorgasbord of all my former TMS complaints. I am having difficulty with some new tenants whom I really like a lot, but who came recently from the US to live here in Panama and do not speak the language or have any idea how difficult and inconvenient it can be living in a foreign country. I am really busy here myself and there is only so much of me to go around. They are very dependent and demanding. I have had to set firm boundaries (which I am not good at) and even speak rather sharply to them at times. I finally found someone they can hire to help them with all the things they need to do to get settled here because it was running me ragged. Of course I am not completely out of the loop yet, but this has taken the bulk of the pressure off.

    So I had to dust off my TMS knowledge to prevent another TMS sneak attack. And believe me, it was starting. I admit I am not good at processing my own emotions. It annoys me that I find it so difficult to do what other people find so easy and natural. So I am having a difficult time with that, but at least I managed to avoid the TMS pain and other symptoms. At least I have succeeded in transforming the physical anguish firmly back to the mental/emotional realm where it belongs.

    However, I am still having difficulty with sleep, not sleeping well at all. The last time I posted on the forum, I had just been diagnosed with SBD (Sleep Breathing Disorder) of unknown origin. For that, I started APAP therapy about 8 months ago. I just read a book about sleep that everyone on my CPAP forum is raving about called "Sound Sleep, Sound Mind". It is loaded with good information, well presented and precise, about CBT for treating chronic insomnia. This seems to be the only problem I have left, but it is a big one. Although I managed to avoid the TMS attacks, the sleep attacks of troubling and unprocessed emotion is giving me a lot more trouble. So that is what I am working on now. The APAP keeps my airway open and takes care of the physical issues. What I find so interesting is that emotional problems can actually cause nighttime physical breathing problems and experts find that 90% of people with chronic insomnia have sleep breathing problems.

    So I wanted to say hello to everyone.
    camera and Forest like this.
  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Welcome back, Chickenbone! I was gone for a while too, but returned at the beginning of the year. So good to hear from you!
    Kudos to you for setting some boundaries with your needy tenants. Setting limits is challenging for me too.
    I'm intrigued by your success with APAP. I've had insomnia for years. It's better now; mine seems correlated to how well I'm processing my emotions.
    Blessings to you.
  3. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Thanks, Gigi, I remember you well. We had some good discussions. PAP (positive airway pressure) is difficult to get used to, but I am glad I stuck with it. Right now, I am still having difficulty with minor mask leaks sometimes waking me up. However, a goodnight's sleep on APAP is unbelievably good, something I had never experienced before. Of course, it does not completely solve my insomnia issues. I joined a forum called Cpaptalk.com. The people there are incredibly knowledgeable and help newbies solve all the associated problems. Without their help, I probably would have given it up. The compliance rate is still only about 50%.

    But we have our problems with emotions, don't we? It feels really good to be back here!

    The book I mentioned above is really good. I can't tell you how much it helped me. I would recommend anyone with insomnia to read it. It really gets to the heart of insomnia problems.
    Forest likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome back, Chickenbone! Congratulations on your success. I'm still struggling with insomnia, too. A really hard one for me. I'll take a look at the book you recommend. There is also a 5 week online CBT program for insomnia available that is only about $40. I'm thinking of trying that.

    http://www.cbtforinsomnia.com/ (CBT)
  5. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Can you let us know if you have success with that CBT site if you decide to try it? Thanks!
  6. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Ellen, thanks so much for the link. Maybe I will take that course. I wasn't sure about CBT until someone from my CPAP forum told me she took CBT therapy for her insomnia and it worked very well. Lavendar, I will let you know how it went too if I decide to take it.

    The book I referenced that utilizes CBT already helped me a lot too. This book is so clear and concise. I have already changed some patterns of thinking and behaviors that I did not realize before were keeping me from falling asleep. It is not just the normal "sleep hygiene" approach that I have read so much of before. This book has made me want to take a course!
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @chickenbone, it's great to see you again. I use my body to help process my emotions, too. I'm sorry to hear you are having issues with sleep, but thanks for bringing us up to date. You see so many areas where CBT can be helpful, but I'm glad you have a foundation in the deeper work as well. I think it's the mixture of approaches and finding the right tool for whatever is going on at the moment that works best for me.
  8. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    You are so right, Forest. It has been a long journey, but I feel I have made progress.
    Forest likes this.
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/24/sleep-twice-a-night-anxiety (Sleep: why they used to do it twice a night | Laura Barton)

    Sleep: why they used to do it twice a night
    Laura Barton
    The need to sleep eight hours is the cause of much stress. But for centuries we happily woke up in the middle of the night

    Margaret Thatcher dozes off during a conference of Conservative youth in Eastbourne, in 1975. As British prime minister, her reputation for needing only four hours sleep fuelled a 'sort of competitive sleeporexia'. Photograph: Selwyn Tait/Corbis Sygma

    Friday 24 February 2012 17.58 EST


    Save for later
    With the exceptions of our sex lives and waistbands, there are few things so compelling to mankind as sleeping patterns. We fret over whether we sleep well enough, long enough, deeply enough. We dwell on bad nights and bad dreams, we chase insomnia cures, new mattresses, and news of new sleep aids.

    This week's BBC report on segmented sleep was only the latest in a stream of sleep-related news stories, but it was notable in that it was considerably more sensible than most – offering the reassuring fact that we have long slept not in one solid stretch but as a performance of two halves, with an interval.

    This is not a new idea. For centuries we were accustomed to the idea of "first sleep" or "dead sleep" and "second sleep". It was accepted that between this first bout of slumber and the next there would lie an hour or so of quiet wakefulness, sometimes known as a "watch". This period was often used for prayer, or writing, or sex, or even for visiting the neighbours. But the idea of two sleeps dwindled in the late 17th century, so that by 1920 it was practically obsolete. For the last century or so we have been wedded to the idea of eight solid hours abed. And since the key to our sense of restedness often lies in our perception of how much sleep we have had, the figure of eight hours looms large.

    But while once viewed as a great leveller (Sir Philip Sidney called sleep "the poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, the indifferent judge between the high and low"), sleeping long has become regarded as an indulgence, a weakness. Today careerists operate a sort of competitive sleeporexia, seeing who can function on the least amount of sleep, fuelled by tales of Thatcher and her four hours.

    Simultaneously, we crave rest; the pursuit of the perfect sleep has become a multibillion-pound industry – five years ago, Forbes estimated it as worth some $20bn – as we invest in pillows, sleep centres, herbal tinctures, hypnotherapy and, of course, sleeping tablets.

    We have grown increasingly reliant on sleeping tablets. Between 2000 and 2005 the US experienced a 60% increase in their use. Yet a study by the US National Institutes of Health found that prescribed tablets only give us an extra 11 minutes of sleep, although the amnesiac effect of their working made patients feel as if they had actually had an extra 32 minutes more.

    A few years back, while researching a lengthy piece about sleep and the sleep industry for this newspaper. I spoke to Kevin Morgan, an insomnia expert, and something he said stayed with me: "Living the right kind of life has become the target of the 21st century," he said, "and there are three principal pillars for health: diet, exercise, and sleep. Most people know about nutrition and calories ... but most people know nothing about sleep."

    It brought to mind the words of the Tudor physician Thomas Cogan, who spoke of how sleep began in the belly, with the "fumes" from digesting food that would rise to the head of an individual "where through coldnesse of the braine, they being congealed, doe stop the conduits and waies of the senses, and so procure sleepe".

    How curious that all these centuries after Cogan's theorising, we appear no more enlightened as to our own sleep, its patterns and persuasions, its detail and its depth.

    How strange, too, that rather than enjoy our night's rest, these days we attempt to tame it: we try to get by with less of it, we curse it for not behaving as we wish, for not arriving in one solid stretch. And when all else fails, we conquer it with pills, potions and prescriptions.

    • Follow Comment is free on Twitter @commentisfree
  10. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    I would just like to describe what the latest sleep research has shown about sleep breathing problems and insomnia. These issues are not related to the QUANTITY of one's sleep at all. It does not matter if one sleeps 8 to 10 hours in one shot or breaks up their sleep, or when one sleeps. This is completely irrelevant. For example, my husband sleeps better with the night broken into 2 parts with a period of wakefulness in between whereas I seem to do better getting all my sleep contiguously. And we all know that in a normal sleep cycle, there is light sleep, delta sleep and REM sleep. Sleep problems are always correctly defined as sleep QUALITY issues. Specifically, sleep that one defines as a QUALITATIVE matter, ie UN-RESTORATIVE sleep. It is well recognized that the mind/body restores itself during sleep. When sleep does not result in this restoration having occurred, this is a real problem. I suggest that anyone who does not understand how to correctly define insomnia or sleep architecture problems read the book I mentioned about for a comprehensive definition, so we all know what we are talking about.
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just wanted to say that I've been sleeping without taking any sleep medication for a couple of weeks now. This is major progress for me, as I've rarely been able to sleep without taking something for a couple of years (when I recovered from my pain syndromes--the symptom imperative at work). I accomplished this by practicing acceptance and outcome independence. Telling myself every night when I go to bed that it doesn't matter if I sleep or not, I'll be fine the next day. It helps that I'm not working at the moment, so the pressure has been off to feel like I have to sleep in order to "perform" the next day. Of course, I'll be going back to work soon and am hoping I can still keep this up then.

    I had a few days when I felt like hell from sleep deprivation, but I survived. Some of this was probably due to the effects of rebound insomnia that can occur when you suddenly stop taking a sleep medication. So I didn't get discouraged and just kept it up.

    The reason this has taken me so long is that I had convinced myself that this symptom (insomnia) was different somehow from the pain syndromes. Once I finally removed that block and practiced the same techniques that worked for recovering from pain, I had success. Our unconscious brain is so creative at coming up with symptoms that serve as distractions. It never ceases to amaze me.

    I feel that medication can be helpful at times, and will probably have some special circumstances in which I'll use sleep meds again. Like when I travel for work, and jet lag and unfamiliar surroundings combine with starting a new job in a new location. But I know now I can keep this from being something I need to do every night.
  12. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    I am so happy for your success, Ellen. I have also make pretty good progress with my CBT. I am down to taking a tiny amount of Ambien only about once per week, if I have a bad night. I expect to be off completely in a couple of weeks. I still take an antidepressant, but I have been successful at cutting down to 10mg from 50mg 8 years ago. The Ambien was easy, the the Amitriptyline has been more difficult.

    As part of my CBT, I have learned to set up up enjoyable things to do if I can't get to sleep and do them if I need to. I can turn a bad night of insomnia into a good night that way. I have also covered all the clocks at night so I don't fret about the time. I think the biggest thing CBT taught me is not to lay awake being aggravated that I can't sleep.

    I know that the insomnia is my brain's reaction to my not feeling totally safe as a child. Sometimes, journaling about my fears, trying to bring them to full consciousness helps when I have to get up at night. It almost seems like the act of getting the fears out of my unconscious mind and onto paper seems to allow me to return to bed without them. It does not work every time, but a lot.
  13. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    All good strategies. One I use is if I wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep right away, I put on an audio book (a dry, non-fiction one) with the sleep timer set for an hour. If I'm still awake when it ends, then I get up, but usually I am able to fall back to sleep--at least lately.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  14. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I've struggled with insomnia for many years. I finally decided that if I couldn't sleep I'd get up and read a good book. That way, i don't feel as if a night without sleep is a "waste." It sure beats lying in bed wide awake.
    Tennis Tom likes this.

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