Thursday, February 25, 2010

You are getting very sleepy....

So, my magic bullet turned out not so magical. I think I may have mentioned that the last time I saw my doctor I was having fairly severe insomnia problems and a lot of headaches. She prescribed a mild antidepressant that was also a sleep aid and a migraine preventer. She may have also mentioned something about conferring magical Japanese-speaking abilities and the power to see through walls, I'm not sure.

I was skeptical. I waited until my husband was back in town and it was near the week-end to try it, and I was prepared to wait out a few side effects. So a few days ago I started taking it at bedtime.

The thing about sleeping pills, is that it's quite possible to find one that will, in fact, help you sleep, especially if you dial the dosage high enough. The problem is that, contrary and demanding creatures that we are, no sooner do we sleep a few hours than we're wanting to be awake, and functioning with a reasonable degree of coherence. On this count, most sleeping pills are not so good -- I guess that's why they don't call them sleeping-then-waking-and-functioning pills.

The first night I took one, I read for a while, then had that delicious, I-can-now-turn-out-the-light-and-lie-down-and-sleep feeling, that heavy-eyed nodding-over-the-book feeling that I rarely have. Most nights, I turn out the light because the time on the clock seems reasonable for a going-to-sleep time. Then I lie there in the dark, eyes closed for a while, eyes open for a while. I make grocery lists in my head. I reflect on whichever song is playing over and over in the back of my mind (once it was Put Down the Ducky by Hoots the Owl from Sesame Street. That was fun). I try to meditate, I try to self-hypnotize, I try to think about nothing. Eventually I go to sleep. Or not.

So the nights were great. The days, not so much. If you feel like it, blink rapidly ten or twenty times. That's what I felt like -- like everything was this stop-action film coming at me in jerky fits and starts, and I couldn't get properly braced for it. I kept feeling like things were flying at my head, or like I was just missing something important out of the corner of my eye. I felt untethered from reality and vaguely paranoid. It was wretched. I didn't have a headache, but I felt constantly on the verge of collapsing in tears or erupting in a white-hot rage. Eve's sweet little voice was unbelievably grating, and even Angus asking if I was okay seemed irritating beyond measure.

I decided to stop taking it. This is a great thing on a couple of levels. The last time I had side effects like this, I lived with them for months. I was in such a horrible place before taking it that I actually wasn't sure that the cure was worse than the disease. I needed it to work so much that I kept trying to convince myself that it wasn't that bad. This wasn't true, and eventually I figured that out, but I think it stole a lot of time with my kids that would have been much better otherwise. Now? Sure, it would be nice if I could be sure I was going to sleep every night, and if I didn't have so many headaches. But there are other ways I can manage. Also, the thing with medications like this is that, like any mind-altering substance, they impair your judgement -- sometimes to the point where, very quickly, you forget that what you're experiencing isn't normal. So yeah, doesn't everyone see slugs disappearing into their hair when they comb it? If there's a cricket trapped in the basement, well sometimes they're trying to communicate with you and sometimes they're just your garden variety insect, right? Doesn't everyone have little baby naps between blinking and opening their eyes?

This time I was clear-minded and on the ball enough to realize that nothing like this is normal, and that I don't need to live like that. I've actually... made progress.

I believe this calls for chocolate. Chocolate helps you sleep, right?

6 comments:

Amber said...

Chocolate helps with EVERYTHING.

Hooray for progress!

Mary Lynn said...

Bah, why must things that sound too good to be true turn out to be too good to be true? Sorry to hear the sleeping pill didn't help you out as hoped, but good that you were still with-it enough to realize.

I suppose it didn't actually help you learn to speak Japanese, either? 'Cause I would totally love a pill that would help me with that.

Julie said...

bummer. i was rooting for you. perhaps there is another magic pill. your reaction sounds like when my cousin was put on prozac. she went comepletely loopy. they found another anti-depressant that worked for her. maybe something will for you.

insomnia sucks. i type this as i try and figure out how i will make it through the work day working on maybe 4 hours sleep over the past three days. i hope i can wait to crash until i get home!

suzicate said...

Chocolate helps everything. I woke up with a migraine this morn...I feel for you. My sleep problems had gotten much better by my taking two benadryl at night, but leaves me kind of wacky in the early am.

theycallmejane said...

Oh my goodness! I feel for you! My youngest (not a sleeper at all) woke through the night every couple hours for about 3 years. We tried everything, short of drugging him, and the lack of sleep for us was sheer torture. I now know why they use it as a torture device. And I hate that barely functioning feeling when you are awake. Here's to continued progress!

Amber said...

Chocolate, yes it is good for the migranes for sure. Crap, sorry you are going through this. Time for medical marijuana maybe? Or is this the California in me speaking? We've got dispensaries on every corner, lol. Hoping for more progress for you.