Is this insomnia acute or is this chronic?

Over the years, I have learned so much about my insomnia, my triggers, and when it gets worse and when it eases up. I do not think I ever really thought about the classification much. Insomnia has been such a big part of my life for so long that, it just is what it is.

Acute insomnia vs. chronic insomnia

So if I had to classify it, I wish I could say that I go through long periods of acute insomnia and then sometimes it switches to chronic. However once I understood the classification of the two different types., I realized that I have chronic insomnia 80% of the time and then I get a break now and then when I am only subject to acute insomnia for a few weeks.

Chronic has always made sense to me because chronic is just always. However, I used to think that acute was the short bouts in between the usual insomnia, and the more situational and or severe insomnia. For instance, during traumatic times my insomnia gets very bad and I will have 10+ consecutive nights of very little to no sleep.  I could not have been more wrong.


So …..What is the difference?

Acute insomnia would be reflective of when I have one bad night a week of little to no sleep and it only lasts for a few weeks. Which would in turn mean that it then goes away and I resume some kind of regular sleeping pattern. Years later this still has not happened. So I don’t think this suits me very well. Come to think of it  I could not actually tell you when last I have been through a week without a struggle at some point or the other.

Chronic insomnia would then be reflective of when 3 out of 7 nights in a week there is very little to no sleep. This does not only last a few weeks but takes its place at my table for at least 3 nights per week, sometimes for as long as 6 months. This is certainly more accurate to my life.

The merry-go-round of my insomnia

Some days I wish it would just be one way and stay that way. Please choose already, do you want to be acute or chronic?  Yes, I am grateful for the bouts of better sleep that I get in between. It is just that when I get used to my “new normal” BANG, let's change things up a bit. My chronic insomnia and acute insomnia tag team me and sometimes just being spiteful, they throw in some severe insomnia. This would mean that I only get some decent sleep 2-3 nights a week. And the rest is pretty rough with very little to no sleep at all.

Some people are quick to say that I should just be grateful that there are times when it is better than others. I find statements like this to be so invalidating.

Mental health side effects

The drain that this places on me physiologically is huge. The lack of sleep accompanied by the changing between the different types of insomnia, I know to some it might seem fickle. But this is a big thing for me, it causes my anxiety to spike quite dramatically too. And that naturally affects my sleep,  talk about a vicious circle.

Did you know that sleep deprivation has been used as an interrogation and torture “tool” due to the severe psychological stress that it causes? And while I understand that those are very different circumstances, it goes to show what kind of strain it can place on us. And let me tell you, I can appreciate how horrific that must have been.

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