Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the medications, dosages, and treatments described here are not meant for any readers to use as their own diagnoses and dosages. I have deliberately been vague about actual medications and some of their dosages to prevent this. They are described here purely for the purposes of showing fellow anxiety sufferers that there is help for them out there and that there is hope for them. Please seek professional medical help if you need it.
Reading back over the last post – which was long – I feel that a few important points regarding treatment could’ve been last. Just to cover them quickly:
- Go and see your doctor. My GP and homeopath put me on a combination of medication (sleeping pill, melatonin, beta blocker, anti-anxiety) that all helped get my head and body back into the game. Not completely, but they’ve certainly helped
- Give your head a break. Each evening before bed I now write down how the previous night’s sleep went, how much or less medication I was able to take, and anything significant that happened in my day that could disturb my sleep. This has really helped my doctors in treating me and has helped me get a lot of mental tension out before going to bed. I also started meditating and I could not recommend it more. When my anxiety was particularly bad last year meditation would give me a few minutes of respite while still having something to focus on. I come out of it feeling mentally and physically calm. I was hugely sceptical at first but took to it like a duck to water and have been meditating almost every night for a year now.
- Re-evaluate your mattress. I could not be any more serious about this. When I moved in with my partner I went from sleeping on a gloriously firm Simmons mattress to a bumpy, soft old mattress which did not absorb any movement at all. It was awful and it was moulded to my partner’s body. I eventually convinced him we needed to get a new mattress and, after some resistance due to the price, we bought a wonderful Cloud 9 Spine Flex. After a few months on this I’m really feeling the benefit of it. I have no qualms at all about spending a significant amount of money on a mattress and I do feel more people need to become comfortable with this when their situation allows.
- Exercise. Yes, this is an incredibly difficult one when you are so exhausted you’re on the verge of collapsing and can barely process anything that is happening around you. I’ve been there. And you know what? If the idea of exercise is too stressful then don’t do it and don’t feel bad. Simple as that. But if you’re able to, then start with small things. A walk in the fresh air after work to clear your mind and eventually some proper cardio and body weight workouts. I’m not talking a marathon sweat session (but if you can do it, then do!) as that’s not for everyone but something that gets your heart rate up and gets your body working. Whatever that is for you, do it a few times a week if you can. You’d be amazed by just how much your body can do and exercising will give your mind something else to focus on for a change as well as, hopefully, exhaust you enough to sleep. This has been the most positive effect for me. Exercising 3-4 times a week has taken my focus away from stressful situations that are completely beyond my control and more often than not nowadays I think about my performance and how I want to improve in certain exercises or the funny things that happen during classes rather than the silly things that happened at work or with other people.
- Leave your awful job! I know this is a difficult one for a lot of people but if your job is making you so unhappy that you can’t sleep and, as a result, can barely function and do your job poorly then it’s time to leave. I’m not saying you need to storm into your boss’s office and throw a resignation letter at him/her and leave immediately. If only we were all so financially blessed to be able to do that! Make a conscious decision about getting a new job and go out and interview for it. Yes, I was exhausted during all my interviews but having the hope of moving onto something more positive was a huge mental boost. And it worked out for the best! I’m in an awesome environment that allows me to have a personal life too. I promise you, a lifetime spent giving up your health for an unrewarding job is not worth it, ever. If you can, then go out and find a new job.
In the next few post’s I’ll go over some other helpful tricks I’ve come across that have helped my insomnia. Hey, it’s something that doesn’t go away overnight (if ever) so treatment is a work in progress.
Remember: Insomnia is not something that can be cured overnight. These are some helpful methods to treat it and have slowly gotten more to a healthier space but have certainly not made insomnia go away in an instant. Please go and see your doctor when seeking treatment, they are qualified to deal with this and if not, they will point you in the direction of someone who is.