a woman with insomnia laying in bed wide awake listening to a loud baby monitor

My Insomnia Story

When I was a young teenager the only thing I knew about insomnia was a song by a band called Faithless. A song I never knew would become one of the theme songs to my life. Insomnia, a word that would change my world.

My younger years

Sleep was never something that came to me easily, I remember always having trouble falling asleep waiting patiently for the sandman to arrive with his bag of magical golden dust. I counted sheep and tried various ways to try and fall asleep, none of them worked. Eventually, after listening to some late-night radio and many hours of tossing and turning, a light and broken sleep would come and fetch me. There were times that it lasted a week and others when it lasted months.

Welcome to adulthood

As I approached adulthood, things started looking up and there was a time when for roughly a year, I was hardly plagued by my insomnia. The only sadness of that time is that I took it for granted. Very unknowingly at the time too, I simply accepted that those days had passed and taken my insomnia with it. I could not have been more wrong

As that time period of blissful sleep unwittingly passed by me, I soon fell back into a pattern of struggling to fall asleep. If that had been the only part of my insomnia I could have easily made peace and found a way to work around it. Alas, it was not meant to be that way. Along for the ride of my life, came short bursts of sleep, a 3am waking time, and a very, very tired human.

Enter psoriasis

I was thought to have what is considered primary insomnia, not linked to any health issues, and I just simply struggled to sleep and or stay asleep. At age 22, enter psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, boy did that take me up to secondary insomnia quickly. Secondary insomnia is when there is a reason that you are not sleeping and this reason is health-related. (Disease, depression, pain, discomfort, or other sleep disorders like sleep apnea.) The most sleep I got at night was 2 hours consecutive and many nights were spent reading, crying, and watching nature shows, as I simply could not sleep.

There were times when I was prescribed sleeping tablets. However, being very concerned about them being habit-forming and my body losing the ability to create the bit of sleep that she does, I chose to steer clear of them. Some people called me crazy, said I should just take the tablets and sleep. It never felt right to me and I trust my instinct. So life carried on, I simply adapted to the way I was and my strange sleeping schedules. Often feeling tired and defeated and then some days sleep would come, and I would relish in her simple pleasure.

Life with a small child

I have grown up since then, I have had a daughter who was colic at birth and I was lucky enough to be adept in not sleeping and coped better than most people would. That being said, I still fell apart after a while. At the tender age of three and a half she started sleeping for longer than three hours at a time, and it felt like I had found a slice of heaven. Three hours became five and before I knew it she was sleeping through the night like a rock. What a pleasure, as I was sure sleep would come for me too. It didn’t.

That little girl is now turning seven and I am still looking for ways to improve my sleep and get some continuous sleep, as most days I walk around looking a little like a panda bear with these rings around my eyes.

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