I used to think that insomnia was a simple, single-sided shape – 2D, If you will. My thinking was that if I managed to find a way to figure out why I don't sleep well or why I struggle to fall asleep, that would be the end to my woes.
Contrary to my belief, I have discovered that with time comes a greater understanding of what insomnia is and what a multifaceted thing it really is. As I think I have one thing sorted, I realize that it was only a mere part of the puzzle.
Honestly, I think that maybe it is that simple for some people. They have that one thing that causes them to have insomnia. They get it sorted, and then BAM, good sleep all around. However, I am not one of those people.
Addressing my mental health head-on
2020 and 2021 have been years of growth for me for many reasons, which I shall not go into lest I bore you with the details. What they did do, though, and which is relevant to my insomnia, they brought my mental health to the table in a way that it could no longer be ignored and shifted aside.
The time had come to start tackling certain things head-on. The goal of doing this was never to rid me of insomnia, although that would be great, wouldn't it? Getting better sleep and managing to fall asleep easier has simply been a by-product – if one could call it that – of eventually facing the things that needed facing,
Diagnoses and finding peace
Diagnosis is the door to understanding. And if your brain works anything like mine, understanding is the key to finding peace. I have anxiety and some depression, both of which are being treated. I think over the last 2 years, worldwide anxiety levels have been at an all-time high; however, I digress.
Along the way, with some help from therapy and medication, I have been able to start pulling my life together nicely. By this, I mostly mean getting my mind into a stable and strong enough place to do what I have to do.
Anxiety vs falling asleep
The last thing that anyone who suffers from insomnia needs is an added reason to struggle to fall asleep. What I thought was normal is apparently not as common as I thought it was.
My mind races at bedtime. It runs through my whole day, replaying moments and conversations, and can turn into a pretty epic battle to get that switched off. Being what it is, my anxiety has heightened this process rather dramatically.
Making progress and staying hopeful
Since I have started therapy, this process has become somewhat easier. I still struggle some nights – many nights, if I am honest. However, what has changed is that I no longer struggle every night. There are nights in between where I fall asleep before I have even had time to think about what happened in my day, why I am still awake, or what I will do about that problem at work.
So here I stand in the hope that more than just some of my insomnia is anxiety-driven and that as I unlock these levels to my higher and more peaceful self, my by-product will be better sleep.
How many nights a week do you experience insomnia?