Tag Archives: insomnia

Long time no see, hear or read

I know it’s been far too long since I have written a post for my blog. I know how it feels when people you communicate with regularly on WP suddenly ‘disappear’. I know how much support and comfort my blogging tribe have given me over the past 20 months. I know all this and yet I have found it really hard to put pen to paper, or finger to keypad, and the more time that passes, the harder it becomes.

I am continuing to read posts and comment. I want to connect with and support my lovely friends on here and I really enjoy catching up with them. I find others’ posts stimulate lots of thoughts and changes for me. I just appear to have a mental block when it comes to writing my own ideas down. I guess a fair bit of my working life involves writing. Patient reports, letters, emails, documents, business cases. It can take the love out of writing. It’s a shame because I do find it extremely therapeutic and I honestly believe that without my blog I would not have achieved and maintained sobriety.

Yep, I am still AF! 20 months today actually. It’s still absolutely the right choice for me but that’s not to say I don’t continue to battle with the drinking demon voices. They come out to play and taunt me from time to time. I find that a lovely tasty AF drink takes the edge off the psychological craving. Some bars and restaurants are developing their range of mocktails and AF drinks which makes a huge difference. Sadly others seem to be stuck in the ‘becks blue’ and soft drink only days. I avoid those places like the plague. I still, as I always have, take it one day at a time and I never say it’s forever. It’s for today.

My depression (and sometimes anxiety) still like to visit me on occasion. Good of them both to hang around and keep a close eye on me! I have had a few ongoing health issues over the past couple of years … both with my mental and physical health. Nothing sinister and all manageable but enough to start me thinking I might be coming apart at the seams a little. Recent media coverage of the peri-menopause and menopause led to me contacting my GP about these various ailments. Rather than calling me a complete hypochondriac and sending me on my way, she listened and agreed that, at 49 years old, it was likely my hormones were running riot, having a little ‘reverse puberty’ party and causing me to feel, well, a bit crap. I’m going to try HRT. See how it goes and then potentially come off my antidepressants. It’s all so very exciting being a woman approaching 50. Some days I can’t believe my luck.

It’s now 1.20am on Sunday morning and I probably should try to sleep. The weather over here in the UK is lovely but very hot. We aren’t really used to it and what with my hot flushes, aching limbs and pins and needles … high temperatures mean catching zeds is not very achievable. It’s Sunday though so a siesta is definitely on the agenda later. Enough rambling. I’m sure everyone is hoping I’ll take another long sabbatical from writing after getting to the end of this post!! 😄

Happy Sunday all. Relax and enjoy 💕

Love Claire x

Sleep

I have had some trouble sleeping this week. It’s made me tired each day and a little bit grumpy. I adore sleeping and I hate feeling tired and lethargic. Today is good though because, although it’s cloudy and a little chilly, it’s Good Friday and I slept well, albeit having very weird dreams. That’s for another post!

I often listen to bedtime and sleep meditations when I’m in bed. Hypnotic ones from a variety of apps I have accumulated. The one I was listening to last night included a visualisation technique which I found helpful. I had to observe and notice the thoughts swirling around my brain, of which there were many, and visualise a box, chest or some type of container. It could be any size I wanted; mine was fairly large. I then had to visualise all my thoughts going into the box, one by one. Once they were all in there, I put the lid on the box and put it away somewhere for the night. It had to be out of the room I was sleeping in, just outside the bedroom door or miles away if that was preferable. I stuck mine at the bottom of our garden. I didn’t want it in the house at all. The meditation guide instructed me to visualise coming back to bed, leaving the box containing the thoughts and worries until the morning, where it could be reopened and dealt with. I did feel lighter and more at peace.

She then asked me to visualise something positive that happened during the day. To focus on one thing that had made me feel good, at peace or happy and to embrace that feeling. I thought back over my day. I’ve been working in the hospital all week with a very heavy clinical schedule. It’s been refreshing to work with patients again. I thought back to one of the little boys I had seen earlier in the morning. A little 5 year old with a repaired cleft lip and palate. He had been very wary initially but I kept grinning at him (under my mask!), asking him about what he liked and enjoyed and generally joking around with him. He began to relax and at one point he looked up at me and gave me the most enormous smile. It was absolutely adorable. I felt so happy because he was smiling and enjoying the session. Thinking back to that moment and visualising his big smile and how it had made me feel was lovely. I lay in bed, anxious thoughts tucked away in my box in the garden, with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

I was asleep before the 20 minute meditation had ended. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and positive and ready to take on the day. I have unpacked my thoughts from the box and some of them didn’t need dealing with. They were simply me overthinking and getting stuck in a negative thought pattern. Others can be sorted. None of them involve challenges that are insurmountable. There are now blue skies peeking out behind the clouds and if I can make an anxious little boy smile with happiness, I can do anything.

Claire x

Unanswered questions …

You can never take your sobriety for granted. Never take your eye off the ball. Don’t assume you are safely through to the other side. That is what I’ve learnt today.

This past week has been full of anxiety triggers for me. Work pressures and stress, the sad loss of a very old family friend, not having been able to see my closest friend for 4 months now (and still likely to be longer) and the outlook and reporting on the news just so bloody bleak. In addition, I am fully med free having spent 4 weeks weaning off my antidepressants. I have had virtually no sleep since Friday, struggling to go off until 2 or 3am and then awake again at 5am. Then, today, for the first time in ages, the unthinkable happened. I wanted a drink.

It wasn’t a romantic, sit by a lake, enjoying a picnic, sipping a glass of Prosecco type of longing. Oh no! It was a full on, fuck this, I want to go and buy two bottles of wine (white or red – I’m not fussy) and drink the whole lot type of craving. Nor was it a, “I’m a bit curious as to whether I can moderate and be able to live with alcohol once again” moment. Nope. It was a, “moderation is for idiots, I’m going to get totally pissed and I don’t care” attitude.

Don’t panic. I haven’t. I went out and bought plants and shrubs for the garden. I bought paint for the utility walls and white spirit to mop up the paint I will undoubtably spill on the floor. I did not treat myself to a Chablis or a Shiraz. I’m not currently lying on my bed half comatose having fallen spectacularly off the wagon. It is however a sign I’m struggling again. What I can’t work out is what is acceptable and ‘normal’? Is it ok to feel anxious because problems, challenges and change are all happening at once? Is it ok that the anxiety is kickstarting my over thinking and subsequently affecting my ability to accurately read and interpret a situation? Is it ok that sleep has suddenly evaded me after achieving a consistent 8hrs every night for months and months? I suppose the question I really want the answer to is this. Is this the return of generalised anxiety disorder and is it directly linked to my coming off the SSRIs? I honestly can’t face it all again.

How long do you wait to find out? What if I’m basically just a stress head and I need to accept it as part of me, rather than blaming it on a mental health illness? Everyone gets stressed. I’m just not sure when my ‘stressed’ tips over into becoming unwell. Mental health is so complex. The interplay between lack of sleep, stress triggers, meds, personality and, let’s not forget, the lovely peri-menopause, makes it hard to tease out the cause and therefore the best way to manage it. I used a word early on in my sobriety. Tangled. It’s such a descriptive word and is exactly how I feel once more. Tangled.

I didn’t drink. I won’t drink. I know it is not the answer. Quite what is, I really have no idea.

Love Claire x

Lists, lists, lists …

I can’t sleep. I’m just lying here staring into the dark and wondering what I should do. I’ve decided I will post on my blog. Just fill the time waiting to drift off and put my private thoughts down for all to read. I like to share! I read somewhere that you should write down what goes through your mind when you can’t sleep. I think I’ll do it as a list, spurred on by the recent post by blogger bereavedandbeingasingleparent. Here is my list of ‘keeping me awake’ thoughts …

  1. Why can’t I sleep? All I’ve wanted to do today is sleep and now I’m wide awake!
  2. Why has running become so difficult? It feels as if each leg is filled with lead and every step is a huge effort.
  3. I have successfully managed three days on my significant reduction in sugar diet. It’s bloody torture.
  4. I realised that 5.1g of sugar per 100ml in alcohol free wine is A LOT of sugar!! Now I have to kick that addiction too. Am I psychologically attached to AF wine now?
  5. My 15 year old son looks like a huge adult now. He takes up so much space.
  6. I actually don’t understand what my 15 year old says some of the time. For a speech and language therapist, that’s poor!
  7. I’m still a bundle of pins and needles with stiff wrists, arms and hands. No feedback from MRI over 3 weeks ago. Do I chase it? I suspect I’m just getting old.
  8. I reached 5 months sober last Friday. I celebrated by ordering an early birthday present for myself. An ipad Air. Never having owned an iPad I am ridiculously excited for it to arrive.
  9. I bet my iPad doesn’t come for ages.
  10. My birthday is less that two weeks away. I’m going to celebrate the day by heading to los Lounges, les Gardenia, Santa Bedroomed and Playa de Kitchena. I’ll also take a super exciting trip to ‘Worlde de Outside’ for up to an hour. I’m looking forward to it already.
  11. I don’t really miss drinking at the moment. For someone who loved to drink at home that’s pretty good going.
  12. I don’t miss social outings with lots of people either, particularly centred around drinking
  13. I keep forgetting to face time or Skype people for a social catch up
  14. I’ve realised I’m actually quite an antisocial person.
  15. What if a test for antibodies is developed? Will there be two distinct groups of communities? Those with an ID card that proves they are immune to Covid-19 and those without. The cans and the cannots?
  16. Are my children actually learning anything via homeschooling at the moment? When will they have to submit anything to be checked? How do you learn if you don’t ever have any feedback?
  17. Will I ever know what to do about my relationship with my husband? Why can’t I put my finger on what is wrong? What is it I want?
  18. I’m quite enjoying not having to think about what I’m wearing or what I look like.
  19. For some reason I’m not getting notifications that people have replied to my comments. Am I on a ‘word press’ naughty list?
  20. Will I ever get to sleep?

There we have it. 20 thoughts, listed in no sensible order. Lots of unanswered questions. To be honest I’m not sure it’s helped writing them down. It’s passed the time though. I now have around 6 hrs before a video meeting which I am supposed to be leading. Joy.

I’m going to stay positive and be grateful though. A quick grateful list …

  • I’m grateful my family is currently healthy and well
  • I’m grateful I have a job and I am able to contact and support my patients and their families
  • Thankfully I am working from home tomorrow so I can always move from my office to my bed in two (maybe three) steps and have a little midday lunchtime snooze if needed
  • I’m bloody ecstatic that I have an iPad on its way (that’s terribly shallow and materialistic I know, but I’m being truthful here)
  • I am so so grateful I won’t wake up in a few hours feeling hung over and shitty. Tired yes, but miserable from too much wine, no.
  • Finally I thank goodness for my blog. I can spew it all out here and get it off my chest. Unfortunately you lot had to read it all! 😁

Stay safe, sleep well

Claire xx