Insomnia: When Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss

Eye color. Hair color. Height. Frame. Metabolism. All of these are things my mother has gifted me. We are similar in many ways, and the more time passes, the more I see her in the mirror and hear her in my thoughts.

There are so many things I would gladly accept from my mom, but there is one I truly hope I can avoid in the coming years. She has battled insomnia for as long as I can remember. I hope with everything in me that my kids are not echoing these words in a few years, but it is not looking good.

My mom's insomnia

I just do not recall a time when my mom wasn't struggling to find a good night's sleep.

Throughout my years in high school, I remember her talking about tossing and turning and waking throughout the night with that wide-awake feeling. Going to bed early didn't help her. Sleeping late was not something she has ever been interested in doing.

She is incredibly active, so it's difficult to see how she isn't worn completely out at the end of each day. When it comes to strategies to beat insomnia, my mom has tried them all.

I feel her pain, and I can't imagine what it’s like to fight this battle year after year for decades.

Is this hereditary insomnia?

My insomnia started a few years ago, and I think my initiation into the world of insomnia was quite different than my mom's.

From what I understand, hers was associated more with menopause. It's just continued and evolved for her over time.

Mine began full force around the time I developed symptoms of Meniere's disease. This difference between our situations might be good news for me, but what do I know?

My Meniere's disease symptoms have been under control for a while now, but I recently started having a few setbacks. My mom hasn't been able to say she's seen a lull in her insomnia for many years.

Ignorance is not always bliss

A few days ago, I mentioned I was working on some articles for this site, and she gave a big sigh. She said, "I sure could write a few on insomnia." It hit me pretty hard – my mother had been unable to sleep soundly and restfully for the better part of her life. That really takes my breath away.

Rest is so important, and sleep is essential for both mental and physical health. My heart aches for my mother and others like her who dread bedtime and have tried everything imaginable to no avail.

Insomnia is the worst kind of thief. It has taken what amounts to years from my mother and millions like her. It remains to be seen how much time it may take from me, but it's doing its best right now to create a nice dent in my mental health. I don't know how much of an impact, if any, heredity will have on my sleep habits as I continue to age.

Ignorance isn't always bliss.

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