Breaking the Stigma: Anxiety Induced Insomnia
In a conversation the other day, I heard someone say: "It's just from anxiety and stress, that is not real insomnia."
Breaking insomnia stigma
Needless to say, this made me stop in my tracks and offer my perspective on the situation. Honestly, I have never been 1 of those people just to say nothing. A blessing and a curse, my dear friends.
It is important to me to break the stigma surrounding things like insomnia. People are often left feeling unheard and alone due to comments like this. Importantly, it can make them doubt themselves and the experience they are going through.
Perspective: it's not a competition
There are a variety of reasons that someone can be experiencing insomnia. It can last for 2 weeks or it can last for 2 years, even a lifetime. This is not a competition. We do not need to weigh up and see who is suffering the most. Telling someone that their insomnia "is not real" is probably 1 of the most hurtful and least helpful things you can say to them.
If anyone has said this to you, I am sorry.
Anxiety induced insomnia
Anxiety can certainly trigger an insomnia episode. It does for me, and often, it exacerbates my already existing insomnia. Oftentimes, my anxiety takes insomnia to an unbearable level of sleep deprivation. Sometimes it can be hard to tell which came first, the chicken or the egg.
Anxiety can affect my sleep patterns and in the same breath, my lack of sleep can affect my anxiety. It can be helpful to try and figure out which 1 arrived first, to try and alleviate insomnia.
If you feel like you are not getting a handle on it, please reach out to your doctor and/or your therapist to help you with resources and tools to help manage the situation at hand.
How I calm my mind before sleep
It can be helpful to try and slow your mind down before you attempt to get some sleep. My anxiety is often accompanied by a racing mind and an inability to switch my thoughts off. These are my 2 go-to things that usually help:
- Write it down: Just a thought dump, nothing coherent really, as the thoughts pop up in my mind I write them down just like that. I do not make it pretty or put any effort into it. A book, a pen, and I empty my mind like that.
- Guided mediation: I find that listening to someone else telling me what to do, breathing deeply, etc., is very helpful.
In closing: your experience matters
It is important not to forget to treat everyone we come across with kindness. Just because they are experiencing insomnia differently from how you are, does not make it less intense to go through. Your experience of this is valid and we are here as a community to standby you as best we can.
Does anxiety induce insomnia for you? Tell us your insomnia story or comment below.
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