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what to do about terrible insomnia?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by NicoleB34, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    This has been a problem of mine ever since i was a teen. Long story short, when i was a teenager, some bad thigns happened to me, and not long later, i had a year-long bout of severe insomnia, which led to a total mental breakdown. I thought i was dying. A doctor told me it was just anxiety and sent me to a therapist. They put me on a certain antidepressent that causes drowsiness and helps anxiety, and honestly, it "cured" my sleep issues like magic. Problem was, i eventually had to go off the stuff because i hate the side effects of antidepressents.

    I never had a bout that severe again, but i go thru phases of anxious insomnia. This is a big problem because when i get poor sleep, my pain skyrockets. I do my best to chill out, not look at the clock (but i know hours have gone by) and i get hot and sweaty and belligerent as the clock ticks.

    One of my doctors prescribed valium for pelvic spasms, and admittedly, i just stuff them down, along with other muscle relaxers to try to drug myself to sleep. i know it's not the answer, but i'm desperate. At this point, i'm getting tolerant to meds and they barely work. I asked my doctor, and all she said was "get more exercise". I'm a bit of a weekend warrior when it comes to exercise, and i KNOW i wont go to a gym because i hate them. I like outdoor exercise better, but because of health issues, i have limits. Even the days i exercise hard, i still struggle to sleep.

    I have to imagine i'm not the only person here with insomnia but I was doing really well with my pain (30% less for 2-3 months) then a killer flare came out of nowhere and i cant pinpoint the cause. All i know is, i'm hurting terribly today, and i suspect my rough night last night didnt help.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Nicole,

    I don't know if I've shared my insomnia success story with you yet, but here it is.

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/recovery-from-chronic-insomnia.16653/ (Recovery from Chronic Insomnia)

    The only way I could get over it was by addressing outcome independence. It's breaking that fear cycle that is the same for all TMS. There are a few other things I put in there that have helped. Since I wrote that I've also started using a weighted blanket which I love. There is research that shows that it can help promote sleep.

    I feel for you, as I know how truly awful it is to not be able to sleep. I still have an occasional difficult night, but it is the exception now. And because I don't overuse sleeping pills now, they work when I need one as long as I use it intermittently.

    Wishing you restful nights...
  3. Norrie

    Norrie New Member

    Hi Nicole , I am not an insomniac I just don't sleep and my mind want to be busy with interesting stuff not the boredom of " Sleep". I grew up in a house where sleep was a dirty word and I never had a bed time as even as a small child. I use CBD oil by a trusted manufacturer and it helps but I feel its part of my mind body challenges so its a work in progress. No blue screens and all the lovely extras are not enough if your mind is craving to stay up which mine is. Good luck
  4. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    A doctor once prescribed me Kavinace for sleep - after taking it daily for 12 days, I read about it containing phenibut (not a benzo, but it is classified as a GABA receptor antagonist). I decided to quit because the tolerance to anything that affects GABA makes it shaky for a long-term solution. No judgement toward those of us who have taken pills or supplements. It's just never fun when you reach the point where they're no longer effective, and it sounds like you're getting there.

    Let's think of some other potential options.

    Have you tried meditation/visualization or calming music? What makes you feel relaxed? You could temporarily try phosphatidylserine - a natural supplement that is non-addictive (no withdrawal) and lowers cortisol, which can help one stay asleep. I don't think you need to rely on such supplements forever, but sometimes they help relax the body as you work through powerful emotions and get back to living life happily and peacefully. It's important to remember that the emotional work must be done.

    Ultimately, you need to engage in activities that make you happy and release happy neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin. This is far more powerful than any pill or supplement. Overall balance in life is key here. What brings you joy?
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
    plum and Nzombro like this.
  5. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    one of the supplements i was taking had 5htp which is a precursor to serotonin, and i think that was kind of helping. i ran out, and i reordered it.

    i do think boredom and anxiety are a big problem. Boredom is a big factor in my pain too. When i'm bored, i start screwing around on social media. This creates a deep down feeling of "Nicole, you're a loser, you have no friends, and this is why you're screwing around on your phone". I notice when i'm on my phone, my pain is high. i think there is a guilt about social media. Most of my friends are either married or in serious relationships, so they're busy. They're not gonna hang out late on a weeknight. I'm dating somebody, but he's got all these hobbies and he's a total night owl so we clash on plans. He stays up really late and works on his cars and motorcycles and projects, so it's a point of contention between us. I think that's another reason i get stressed and upset (not worth breaking up over, but still). On the other hand, it's a nice way to just lay with my pets and "wind down" before bed. Yeah i know, blue light can screw with your melatonin and sleep chemicals so it's a catch 22. It's this push/pull between browsing my phone as a nice relaxation thing in bed, and something that deep down depresses me because i feel like i should be doing something else with people. i'm relaxing, but i'm lonely too. It's not like i have some something to do at 11 pm other than relax and surf the web.
    yes i've tried meditation, and i still do. I'm just really bad at it!
  6. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    Ellen, interesting. the one thing about outcome independence is that, your'e right. For a while before my chronic pain, i realized that not sleeping 8 hrs didnt quite maim me as much as you'd think. i could get 6 hrs and actually not feel that bad. I also stopped looking at the clock ebcause that would lead to panic. i stop trying to panic in general if i know that hours have gone by. Sometimes i fail at the "no panic" part. I can try and mentally not panic, but the worst part is that i get physical symptoms like i get really really hot and sweaty and sometimes i get beligerant and angry. i actually sat up and reached for a pill bottle in the night. when irealized i couldnt open it in the dark, i grabbed the entire drawer and threw it across the room, shattereing evertthing, all while yelling and screaming. I woke my bf up and he said "what the hell are you doing?!" i yelled that it was boiling hot in here. He told me "no it's not! the AC is cranked in here!". That's when i realized he was right, but my anxiety made me feel like i had a horrid fever. So often my physical anxiety makes me feel so awful. But more than that, the next day my whole body feels like it's alive with electricity and sensitivity, the same feeling you have if you're starting to come down with a virus. i'm guessing that's like fibro? my nervous system wont calm down if i cant get restful sleep. my PN is off the charts right now, i feel like my body is raging with caffeine. So strange to feel so exhausted and so hyper at the same time. i feel like i'm a risk to be driving in a car :(.
    That being said, i know i have to scale back the "planning" mindset before bed because i know i'm setting myself up for failure. how do i know? because it's usually the extra-early morning that i fail the most. If i have an early appointment where i have to get up earlier than normal and i'm stressed about it, then i guarantee those are the nights i wont sleep
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I could have written what you've posted here. It fits my experience. My anxiety would also cause me to have to get out of bed and urinate frequently during these episodes. Yes, it's very weird to be hyper and exhausted at the same time. Doctors didn't seem to understand this when I described it.

    So I know exactly what you're going through. It is possible to calm the nervous system, but it takes time and patience....and in my experience it's mostly about changing our thinking patterns in order to break the fear cycle. First step is awareness that this is what is going on, and then the knowledge that you can do something about it.

    Wishing you the best.....
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Need to add that @plum does a beautiful job of discussing approaching calming the nervous system through the body, rather than the mind. She has lots of self-soothing and self care recommendations. Good idea to address the entire mindbody phenomenon.
    plum likes this.
  9. Norrie

    Norrie New Member

    Thats so relevent to me Ellen , I have been to the doctor several times as I urinate about 30 times a day , I dont drink at all during working hours as I would be leaving my clients so ofetn. 5 times in half an hour and 3 or 4 times I'd wake up to pee. Is this a TMS Manifestation ?any way to do something. I have had two sets of different tablets which did not work at all now he is talking about keyhole surgery.
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    For me, frequent urination is definitely related to anxiety, which is a form of TMS. But you should rule out any physical causes first, which it sounds like you are doing. Have you tried addressing anxiety and then see how it effects your frequency of urination?
    Norrie likes this.
  11. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

    For me tms theory of causing anxiety has worked.
    Anxiety kept me in pain and insomnia.
    It was one fine day while analysing my thoughts, I realized I was too anxious due to some idiotic reasons that made my brain feel in danger.
    As anxiety started going, good sleep started coming.
    Do follow Alan's multimedia program.

    Also working hard during day and going to bed sleepy without fearing if you will sleep tonight works well.

    In my opinion antidepressants are habit forming and there will come a point where you'll need more to sleep.theres no end to them.
  12. rain

    rain New Member

    Interesting timing as I was also about to make a post about insomnia. I've been having really terrible insomnia for the past week. I normally don't have lots of problems sleeping (except when I'm physically in pain in the night) but for the past week, I think it's my mind that's keeping me awake - constantly churning this or that thought over and over.

    It started last week when I took a few drops of CBD oil for pain relief. I didn't know it at the time but apparently, in low doses, CBD oil can induce a sense of wakefulness/alertness. It doesn't take that long for CBD to get out of your system, but I guess for me it's stayed so far.

    I was recently recommended cherry tart concentrate. I just got it today so will try it tonight. Have you tried that?

    Over this past week, I've tried meditation, deep breathing, visualization, listening to calming music, chanting, eating snacks (sometimes hunger keeps me awake), affirmations...but it doesn't always work. I end up getting more frustrated thinking that I have to work so hard just to get sleep. Like you, I also can't look at the clock in the night or it will annoy me even more knowing that only X hours remain in the night. As of now, the only solution that sort-of works for me is taking a muscle relaxant (cyclobenzaprine) - not so much for its muscle relaxant properties, but for the drowsiness it induces. I don't like taking it as it makes me really groggy and weak the rest of the day and it doesn't always get me to sleep, but it's the closest thing I have right now.

    Hope you find what works. I know it's really frustrating to not get a good night's sleep. It affects the whole day.
  13. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Have you tried yoga nidra? I've just started doing it on a daily basis - after fellow forum member Rosebud mentioned it to me on another thread - and I'm already a big fan of it. Here's an article https://blog.bulletproof.com/yoga-nidra-guided-sleep-meditation/ (It's reckoned that one 30-minute practice of yoga nidra equals approximately two hours of deep sleep.)
  14. Norrie

    Norrie New Member

    Hi Ellen , I have done 3 therapists over several years of talk therapy but I know I have done lots to help with the symptoms like mindfulness and exercise etc. But I know that it all inside me most I think from rage and anger , I feel very unsure and uncomfortable with thinking about the real stuff and I also don't know how to find out what is going on inside me . So much has to do with my inner child which up until now I did not really put mush store in . I hated my weakness as a child and how helpless I was and I hated me so I shut that "me" down forgot about her and stuffed her away. I simply don't know how to go about it.
  15. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    yup, constantly peeing on the nights i cant sleep! Last night i actually got a good night sleep but i started super early so that by the time i fell asleep, it was a "normal" hour. interestingly enough, i had little to no dreams. on the "bad" nights, it's full of very vivid nightmares that i remember very well. It got to the point where i feared bedtime, because it was like "ok, here we go....".
    i know i have to change my approach.
    I just remembered somethign though. i have been kind of wacky with my meds. I dont know if any of you guys have been on gabapentin, but i was on it for years, a rather high dose. i have been trying to taper and quit it for months now, and being pretty unsuccessful. If you asked me whether i could quit opiates or gaba easier, i'd say opiates! (i know this by experience). I also take/took topamax and can quit that easy, same with valium. Gaba on the other hand, i will get nasty withdrawals whenever i try and stop. I was down to a very low amount, but then my bad flare hit a month ago, so i bumped the amount back up ( I dont know why, it doesnt work anymore, which is why i'm quitting it, but i was just kind of desperate and hoping it might have started working again) but then i started tapering again, so that could have been messing with my sleep. After all, Gaba withdrawal causes nasty sleep problems and i'm currently dropping down to minuscule amounts again. By far this has been the hardest med i've ever had to quit.
  16. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    i should also point out that i get brain zaps now and then, which i heard was a thing that happens during antidepressant withdrawals but i'm not taking those. This has been happening to me long before i took any meds. it happens usually when i'm having trouble sleeping. I also believe i have "exploding head syndrome" which is when you hear sudden loud noises in your head, usually when you're trying to sleep. Other times i hear audio hallucinations, that sound like a loud cafeteria in my head. it's like static noise. I think all of this is a product of a very sensitive nervous system but it's most pronounced when i cant sleep. The worst is when i swear i'm hallucinating visually with my eyes closed. it's like dreaming while awake.
  17. Norrie

    Norrie New Member

    Hi Nicole , I was on Gaba for 13 years a very high dose twice daily..the side effects are not good . I am totally off them since March this year. I pushed hard from last November 2017 using TMS and highlighting goals I achieved, like sitting in a car ride for 4 hours , working all day and not having to lie down all night at home with a hot water bottle, lifting and shoveling snow all first things for me. I used TMS and lots of self talk telling myself I am fine and that the gaba etc are just giving credence to a false truth TMS! I started in November on 150 mg twice daily and got the pharmacy to give me all the tabs in 15 mg so I could just shaved 15mg off an pm dose every second night then third night etc , then I did the same as days so I reduced 15mg pm then switched to am and so on. I also reduced my tylex codine/paracetamol from 8 a day whcih I have taken for 20 years to now only taking 2 occasionally .I was ok with the withdraw with the help of CBD oil and if in public a rare xanax which I was taking anyway. You can do it they serve no function except to keep you in the mind set that your have a real problem , do it slowly and it will work.
  18. Jeanette1977

    Jeanette1977 Newcomer

    One of the better ways to deal with chronic insomnia is to change to natural chronic insomnia treatment. In few cases, when pharmaceutical drugs no more work for one then natural treatments could help. There are few herbal mixtures (rest of the post deleted by moderator, contains discussion not related to TMS and an unauthorized commercial link - see the guidelines for forum participation here: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/forum-faqs-frequently-asked-questions.1618/#rules (Forum FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)))
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2019
  19. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    Sadly the supplements didnt help me and i'm one of those small percentage of people who sometimes get revved up from valaerian. I know most of my sleep issues are psychosomatic so i'm trying to learn natural ways to wind myself down. thanks yall.
  20. Amira

    Amira Newcomer

    Has anyone tried ASMR triggers? I heard of them recently, but haven't tried yet

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