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Struggling with sleep anxiety

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Penny2007, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    I'm trying to dig myself out of a bad TMS attack. Bad back pain started waking me every night and wrecked havoc with my sleep to the point that I started to get extremely anxious before bed, fearful of waking in terrible pain.

    After trying many different pills that didn't help I finally got Xanax which has been working, though I still wake from pain when it wears off in about 6-7 hours.

    I've taken Xanax for 5 nights so far and am nervous of getting hooked on it. I'm taking .5 mg. Ironically my anxiety medication is making anxious. :(

    Any tips for dealing with sleep anxiety so I can get off the Xanax quickly? This is the first time in my 50 years that I'm taking meds like this.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  2. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Your pain is caused by tension in your life and now that pain is causing you more tension so it is a cycle which can be broken by increasing your self care.

    Reassure yourself during the day and before you go to bed that you are safe, that when the pain comes to wake you up you know that it is harmless. Do not anticipate the pain, just accept that for the moment it is with you but it doesn't matter because it is just your own mind generating these symptoms out of fear/anxiety.

    As you remain calm your nervous system and fear brain will dull down too. I would expect it all to settle shortly. Tapering off the Xanax gradually would be the way to go.
    Penny2007 likes this.
  3. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    My beautiful dog, Lucy, badly broke her hind foot. She is a Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever, and very athletic and energetic. Now she is wearing a thick splint, and she must be kept as quiet as possible. The vet said they would provide tranquilizers if we needed. They emphasized that every jar on her foot could slow down the healing process.

    I declined the tranquilizers. Instead, I prepare for her large doses of Catnip and Chamomile tea. She gets this six times a day. Catnip is a sedative and Chamomile is an anti-anxiety. She has remained low-key and sleeps a great deal. The Catnip also helps with digestion, so her biological needs have not been backed up due to lack of her usual exercise.

    Some believe herbs are placebos. Yet my dog is clearly sedated.

    Catnip tea is how I weened off pharmaceuticals. I have a sleep disorder (my sleep switch needs assistance to turn on). Most pharmaceuticals originated from a plant source.

    Nature, without pharmaceutical intervention, provides many remedies for many issues. (example: Willow bark was turned into aspirin). St.John's Wort is very powerful at reducing anxiety, as well. These are not 'crutches'. These are tools to assist our bodies in returning to a healthy state.

    If you want more information on this, let me know :)

    .... with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    Penny2007 likes this.
  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are getting plenty of sleep, what you need is a new perspective on SLEEP. Here's a great article that will quell your fear of not getting enough sleep, "THE MYTH OF THE EIGHT HOUR SLEEP" :

    If you're nervous about becoming an "addict", then there's little chance you will become one at this point in your life. You need to have an addictive personality to become one, it definitely doesn't sound like you are not the type. Nothing wrong with meds when they are used short term for the right purpose.

    You have to change your screen name to something more positive, you are compartmentalizing yourself with a chronic pain label.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
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  5. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I do agree with Tom that a screen name is a wonderful opportunity shed anything that smothers your potential. Choosing something that reflects more about who you really are would give you a visual reminder that you are NOT your pain. Beneath the layers of trauma and pain, you will find your radiance. It is always there, awaiting your attention and awareness.

    ... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    Tennis Tom and Penny2007 like this.
  6. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Thank you all for your feedback. Ironically, I've been thinking how negative my screen name is and will now try to think up an empowering alternative (hope I can change it).

    What are your suggestions for tapering off the Xanax? I've taken 50 mg. a night for 5 nights (2 pills of 25 mg each). I was thinking of cutting down by half a pill a night so in 4 nights from now I hopefully won't be taking anything.

    BTW, the reason I have a fear of getting hooked is that I grew up with all the adults in my life popping pills and swore I'd never be the same, hence my anxiety about my anxiety medication :wideyed:

    I saw a doctor today who suggested all sorts of alternative treatments and drugs and her very last question was if I'd every thought of therapy. She was quite shocked that my regular doctor had given me Xanax. She thought that SSRI drugs were a better choice which she said would take 2 months to work and I'd need to stay on them for a year! Really?? fingersinears She said that this would prevent future attacks instead of trying to deal with them when they happen. I told her that I planned to be better in much less then 2 months with the help of therapy (I started with a TMS therapist last week). It's sad that therapy is the very last thing discussed by doctors and that they still know so very little about the mind-body connection.
    Tennis Tom and Lily Rose like this.
  7. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    I think that is a good way to do it. I agree with Lily Rose about the use of herbs. I find Chamomile to be a good calming tea that helps with sleep too. You could introduce that after you have come off of the Xanax perhaps? But ultimately changing your fear/anxious thoughts to reassuring positive thoughts will change your emotions and the way your body functions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Thanks. After speaking to someone I realized that there is no physical reason to wean myself off the Xanax as I've only taken it for 5 nights and a pretty low dose. It was more of a psychological factor as I was scared to try to sleep without it. So last night I decided to try to sleep without it and only take it if I need it and thank G-d managed to fall asleep and slept soundly until waking from pain 5 hours later.

    @birdsetfree - do you just use commercial Chamomile tea bags?

    One mantra I've been telling myself when fearful is from an article by Alan G. about soothing yourself. Every time you think fearful thoughts you are scaring the child that is still apart of you. When I tell myself that it helps as I obviously don't want to scare a young child.
  9. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Well done! I'm so glad you got over the Xanax. Yes I just use the Chamomile tea bags or any tea that I can find that has calming properties without valerian as that did not agree with me.

    You are learning to be supportive of yourself and I think this is a helpful way to do that. With practising this the fear part of the brain is put back into the appropriate perspective and your mind and body will achieve balance
  10. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    I got really tired after being awake for a couple of hours this morning and decided to try and go back to sleep. However the anxiety hit again when I tried to sleep. It feels like it happens automatically. My body catches itself just as I'm dozing off and I get a surge of adrenaline/fear that wakes me back up. I'm not aware of any thoughts because I'm just dozing off. I was in bed for about 2 hours and I did fall asleep maybe after an hour, but then I had 2 bad dreams. One fear based and one guilt based. I woke feeling depressed and anxious.

    So now I'm thinking I may want to try the Xanax again tonight so that I'll sleep longer. I know I'm obsessing about this which isn't helpful. It's a TMS trait.
  11. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Remind yourself that your mind and body know what to do when you get into bed. There is nothing you have to do. Take the pressure off and sleep will come.

    If I take Xanax to sleep which is very rare I always have vivid dreams and nightmares and will feel more anxious the next day. You could be experiencing this mildly but it should go away soon.
  12. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    When I take the Xanax I don't remember my dreams at all and sleep deeply. It was only when I didn't take the Xanax that I had bad dreams. Anyhow, I don't want to create more fears then I already have so I'll try to focus on your first bit of advice, to take the pressure off and that there is nothing I have to do, sleep will come. I like that. Thanks for kind words and support.

    birdsetfree likes this.
  13. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I, too, found Valerian to have a severely negative effect. It provoked extreme nightmares. Odd, that. Also, I buy my organic chamomile in bulk. This provides many more of the actual flowers, and thus is bit more effective.

    Diminishing the fear of pain is a major step in working with TMS issues. When the fear of pain is reduced, the anxiety surrounding the pain is reduced. What isn't talked about so much is fear of sleep, which I found to be even more complicated.

    It might help to set up a 'plan' when wakefulness occurs. Use the wakefulness to repeat a mantra (any set of repetitive words which can mean lyrics, poetry, affirmations, etc). Or use it to visualize a desired reality. You might also consider Alternative Nostril Breathing, which is used to create a pre-meditative state (you can google this). I use this one often. And consider this: What is the worst thing that can happen if you have a rough night? You already know this, and you have gotten through it. So why fear it? You will have another opportunity the following night to practice various ways in which to improve your sleep.

    Sometimes, when I've had a not-so-lovely night, I sit up, take a deep breath, and murmur to my self, "Well, that didn't go so well," which diminishes the seriousness of it and makes it more like you just routinely did a practice of something and recognize you need more practice. (example: I'm trying to learn a belly dancing move which looks oooooh so easy, yet my body is like huh? and at first there was frustration, but then I shifted my perspective and it turned rather comic. So I said prosaically to my husband, "Oh yeahhhh do I need practice!"). Everything is just a practice.

    Sleep is a primal need, and our emotions are wildly out of control when in this state. (even typing this triggered a heat-flash, which caused me to pause so I could self-soothe, not with fear, but with simple acknowledgement ... and my body relaxed again).

    Patience. Self-kindness. Self-compassion. Patience. Self-soothing. Gentleness. Patience.
    Don't think about what you would LIKE to do. Just DO it.
    Rather than thinking what you want to be, just ... be it.

    Over-thinking is not your friend. Create new thought habits. Practice. Practice. Patience and more practice.
    All of this just means ... don't criticize yourself for not achieving the goals you set for yourself within a made-up timeline.
    It WILL happen when you release your judgment of it.

    Remember your strength and remember your radiance.

    .... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
    birdsetfree likes this.
  14. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Did you read the article I recommended on segmented sleep?

    What did you think about it?

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
  15. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    @Lily Rose - you are wonderful. I've read many of your posts and you always know what to say. May you continue to share this kindness with others.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  16. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I read this with interest. As with all science, 'facts' continually undergo 'updating'. I rather like this particular 'fact', whether it is valid or not. It is easy to merge it with my own experience, and thus creates sort of a validation. Thank you for sharing it ^_^

    You honor me, thank you ^_^
    It is my deep belief that we are all connected. Everything we do and say becomes an energetic part of our fabric of life. Your smile, literally, changes the world around you. The energy from it will ripple outward, though you will likely never know the power of it, or who has been affected. Your wonder, your courage, your release of pent up breath ... it affects us all.

    Which reminds me! It is the exhale that is important in breathing when you are anxious and fearful. If you exhale fully, that releases much tension, and then there is more room to inhale, which brings in more balance. When you start to practice this, start slowly ... meaning build up to it on how many times you do it .. or you may get a little dizzy :)

    ... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
  17. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    @Lily Rose
    Regarding the breathing - when I inhale deeply and hold it for a couple of seconds I don't feel any pain. Only when I exhale does the pain return. That seems to be the opposite response to what you just wrote. It feels like my oxygen deprived muscles are getting some needed oxygen when I inhale deeply.
  18. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Have any one you tried listening to sleep anxiety audios on youtube? They seem to help me. I've listened to this one a few times and usually fall asleep at some point during the audio:

    The only problem is if you have youtube on autoplay then the next video will start and the change in voice might wake you (that's what happened to me).
    birdsetfree likes this.
  19. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    This topic is quite complex and multilayered. Recently at my 'check in' doctor appointment, they recorded my oxygen content as quite high. I had to mull on that for a bit before it clicked. My overall intake is good, but where my muscles are in contraction, everything is diminished.

    To take a deep breath feels good. To hold it a moment or two also feels good. Releasing it deeply ... stirs up junk. Literally and figuratively. I did not mean to imply that your pain would be reduced on an exhale. I meant to express that getting rid of the toxins (emotionally and physically) on the exhale will begin the cleansing. As with any cleansing ... it gets messy before it gets better.

    There have been times I have listened to soothing things during the night, but only when my husband is travelling or I am sleeping on the couch because our sweet dog is having an anxiety attack (music soothes her).

    If it is working for you, absolutely do it. When you successfully manage to sleep even once, it starts a 'success' cycle. In time, it just keeps improving!

    You will find your own path, as this is your unique journey. We all can offer advice and our experiences, but it is YOU who must decide what works for you and what does not.

    I believe in you <3

    .... with Love and Gratitude, always ^_^
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
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  20. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    You can disable the auto play on YouTube if you look next to the video that you are watching there will be "up next". On the right of that you will see the word AUTOPLAY and a blue slide button. Just slide it across to the left and only your video will play.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
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