Insomnia, Grief, Malnutrition: The Ultimate Trifecta

Last updated: September 2022

It’s been a long year medically for me, spending many weeks in the hospital. During this time, I lost my best friend. The denial hit me hard. So I wouldn't have to go through the realization every day, there were nights I forced myself to stay awake. I was in and out of the hospital and we all know when you're in the hospital, you're almost hyper-alert as you drift off to sleep. Overwhelming loss eventually lead to the ultimate trifecta: insomnia, grief, and malnutrition.

Hospital stays

Soon, my life became daily infusions. This eventually led to several surgeries to have a port placed for hydration, meds, etc. With my status now in terrible condition, all I could do is be ready with a bag packed when they wanted to admit me.

Several surgeries

I lost my best friend. Shortly after, I was in the hospital having surgery. More surgery.

To say that I was (and still am) devastated that my best friend no longer physically walks on earth is an understatement. It would be selfish of me not to say that she's made me a better person. The world is a sadder place without her in it.

But, she was also sick; the kind that I couldn't help. Still, she was my person, the 1 who had the key to my apartment and came into bed when she knew I was struggling – or she was.

She was my nighttime entertainment, my friend, and just like that, she was gone.


In between all of this and getting an emergency feeding tube surgically placed, it was absolutely dreadful. As you'd imagine, there was hardly any sleep. I would go manic and need to be sedated with the help of medical professionals, especially when the pain came to its peak.


It wasn’t 2 weeks later that another friend passed away and I found myself in a sleepless, black hole full of grief. I couldn’t help feeling I was surrounded by death.

After learning about my 2 friends who passed away in the ways they did, I later discovered that 2 additional coworkers had passed due to complications of COVID-19.


I began to experience multiple complications from feeding tubes, so my sleep schedule went back to hour rounds. My body acclimates to unhealthy hospital hours but doesn't acclimate to my well-thought-out and calculated sleep hygiene and schedule.

I'm 5 months from my last surgery post-op and things have not gotten better. Along with tube feedings come hunger pangs, which will keep you up for days.

Starvation and atrophy

Malnutrition is painful. It's mentally debilitating; and, it keeps you awake in the worst way because you're retching, might be vomiting, and curled up in pain. How weird is it to have the experience of actually starving? The lack of sleep when you are recovering from major abdominal surgery is 1 of the most mentally and physically painful things, as you feel so lonely on top of the pain.

Atrophy is 1 of the biggest causes of my insomnia currently. We need rest to physically heal from the day's activities: if you aren't getting that, how can you start to heal if you're not thriving at all?

I spent way too much time in the hospital and not enough time grieving the loss of my friends. My frequent hospital stays worsened my insomnia, my self-confidence, and my physical state of being, not to mention extremely impaired cognition.

Have you ever experienced the ultimate trifecta: insomnia, grief, and malnutrition? Please share a comment.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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