Saturday, March 6, 2010

Inertia and Momentum

It seems to me that I am unequivocally being affected by the laws of physics.

Getting to sleep has been a nightmare. Getting out of bed equally as frightening. I have been using Tylenol PM and it slowly gets me to sleep and gives me about 3 hours. From that point on, I suffer through countless periods of semi-conscious racing thoughts mixed with brief periods of sleeping with lucid dreams. By the time morning comes and I SHOULD just get up, I have argued enough with my conscious mind to convince myself that if I stay in bed for just a half hour more I might fall asleep. I SHOULD be waking up my 2 year old to get her on a better schedule now that Bryson is working days. 

Instead, I watch her sleep and breath peacefully, feeling envious and content at the same. I do not get up until she does, usually about noon, when she is enough reason to break my inertia and gives me just enough momentum to get up.

The rest of the day is filled with the usual array of family going ons. Clean the kitchen, get dinner ready, make her lunch (breakfast), kids home from school, homework, facebooking, blog reading,  friends over, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, diaper changing, eating, cleaning, and then comes the dreaded time that me and my 2 year old SHOULD be going to bed. I try not to think about it so that anxiety doesn't set in. I put a movie on for her, hoping she may fall asleep early, and promise myself I will wake her up early the next morning so that she will not want to stay up so late.

The rest of the house turns in and sleep comes for them almost immediately. The sound of my husband's snoring is infuriating at times because I am so jealous of his easy sleep. My 2 year old is joyful company, but even she cannot wait up with me. Sleep comes for her and I know that means morning is coming. I am afraid to stop going. My momentum tugs at me, urges me on. Ten minutes turn to twenty, my anxiety is at its peak.

 I take the Tylenol Pm. I lay down and search for the recognizable comfort and relief I am used to feeling when bedtime comes. It is not there. I kick my husband so he will change positions and relieve me of the burden of his snoring for a short while. I start my nightly dance with my racing thoughts, pleading for them to slow down. The cycle repeats and somewhere my momentum gives up, inertia sets in and its time to try to get up early again.

This cycle is making me feel crazy. I feel defeated. I have tried prescription sleeping pills in the past and I am super sensitive to them. Even half of the smallest dose puts me into a coma-like sleep. They are totally incompatible with the need to sleep and listen for my little one. Not that I have insurance or a Dr. to discuss medication options with. 

I am here and reading. My coherent thoughts don't feel worth writing lately. I can't find the words to comment very often. I am aware that I am in a depression cycle of my bipolar illness. It is a time where I use my depression tools. I go through the motions and do the things I don't feel like doing. These times are when introspect and feelings are potent, but I choose to put one foot in front of the other never the less. The emotional turmoil and anxiety are not severe enough to debilitate me. 

I know that this will not last forever. I know I can control small aspects of my happiness by making good choices. I still feel happiness and joy throughout the day. 

"An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion." -Newton



  1. I can relate to this. I finally had to go to the doctor about it and we found the problem so now I have new meds and I feel tons better. I'm still praying for you btw. You'll feel better soon. (:

  2. I admire you for recognizing exactly where you're at and doing what you need to do. The sleep thing is HORRIBLE. Sleep is so important. The "mother" in me wants to list all the sleep aids I can think of but I am sure there is nothing you haven't heard of before (Chamomile tea, warm bath, Melatonin, Valerian Root...)

  3. As someone who hasn't had a good night's sleep in over 15 years, I feel for you.

    I think this is where meditation techniques can help, if you don't use them already.

    There are many good books out there, but primarily the idea is, when you're lying there to

    a) know that you are not going to solve anything with your thoughts at 3am - the most important thing is rest and that has to take priority (always have a pad and pen by the bed, just in case you think of something you fear you might forget, then you can write it down and let it go)

    b) focus on your breathing. Just be aware of it.

    Everytime you become aware your attention has drifted away, acknowledge it has happened, then gently bring your attention back to your breathing.

    Your mind will constantly wander off - that is the nature of the mind, don't get angry with it. But if you keep bringing it back to the breathing every time you become aware you have stopped focusing on your breathing, you stop the cycle of thoughts that inevitable lead to further panic and stress.

    If necessary, remind yourself that even if you are not asleep, if you are resting your body and your mind, it is still good for you.

    Sorry if this is all stuff you know already, but I find it helps, as over time it breaks the cycles of thoughts creating a cascade down the familiar and well worn pathways

  4. I have experienced this too and do not like to take meds as the sleep isn't restful for me. I will light a candle and send peaceful and restful thougths your way. I believe the Universe delivers better than Dominos!


  5. I suffer from the same sleepless nights, and I'm often still writing away at 5 or 6 a.m. This has just become part of my normal routine. I've read all the book and the relaxation tapes just wind me up even more. "That" voice just gets on my nerves! So, I just gave up. I sleep when I can, and that's it!
    So, to one insomniac from another, have a good night!

  6. You are going your are working your are being the best you, you can be right now.

    I believe, with all that is within me, there is a solution for you.

    There is a comment on meditation - I have found this resource of meditation to be VERY helpful for my own life. I recognize I cannot relate to you fully in your experience, but maybe this method could help you too.

    I have recently become aware of several issues for myself that cause anxiety. A resource I am using to examine this within me, asked this question of me: What need do you have for this condition?

    This question has become a powerful resource of examination for me.

    More than anything Shawna I want you to know these words and my love are being sent to you...I am considering you, praying for you, hoping with you. Peace BE with You.

  7. Yep. Know that, too, also the jealousy...
    I wear ear protection at night so a light snoring doesn´t mind.
    I read a book (yips, paper!) to get tired - and I try to make it a routine, too - same time and such. Quiet, low lights.
    And... always keep in mind: At least you rest your body. If not the mind, the body gets a break.
    Don´t try to get angry that you can´t sleep.

    Gah... sleep. Such a tough thing to do.

  8. Shawna the Basic course of the Art of Living Foundation is a breathing technique that is so powerful also in healing sleeping disorders. It is worldwide (150 countries),there must be some teachers close to you. Try and have a look I am feeling great and sleep very well since I practice the breathing. Let me know, I think of you

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  10. Like a lot of the other people above, I too suffer from insomnia quite frequently and sometimes it can bring quite a havoc to one's life.. I live alone so I don't have to worry about someone else snoring loudly but if I did, that would drive me even more insane.. I don't like the idea of medication for sleeping, I have started trying the breathing technique that so many people mentioned and that helps. Also, lately I am trying a Chinese herbal tea that helps in sleep which I got from a regular drugstore in their alternative medicine section.. it's got chamomile, rosehip and passion flower.. I was a definite skeptic and was sure it wouldn't work.. but it DID! I had a good 8 hours sleep after drinking that tea.. the only thing I do different from what's mentioned on the package, I drink it late in the evening instead of right before bed, this way I don't have to wake up to pee..

    Hopefully you get your sleep soon..