When You Can't Sleep Because You're Chronically Ill – Part 1

2020? It was bad. 2021 - Personally bad.

I thought 2020 was pretty awful – for so many reasons. I tried not to complain though I was a mess inside and out due to COVID-19 and struggling with it for 4 months. I finally got time to recover, and I had an anaphylactic event happen that landed me in the ICU in January.

Side effects from medical trauma

I was already struggling with terrible malnutrition and in a very dehydrated state by the time I got to leave the hospital the first time. But the second time being an inpatient was due to syncope from low blood pressure, meds that contributed to it, and not getting any of the nutrients I needed.

I didn't know then that I would have lingering side effects from all the medical trauma I'd been through because I iceberg-ed it.

Disrupted sleep routine

I guess you could say the last year, particularly the last 6 months, has been a drag – but that would be an understatement. I’ve had a really rough medical year trying to keep down any kinds of solid foods and liquids due to medical conditions. This has totally changed up my "sleep routine" mostly because my life has absolutely zero routines to it right now.

Everything is on a whim, including 4-hour daytime naps. I sleep when I can get it, honestly. And I have no shame with my body trying to heal from the mess of this past 6 months.

Additional medical problems

But when my sleep started getting affected by it, due to lack of being able to take my PTSD meds, things got bad quickly. I was not only faced with that problem, but I was also thrown into a terrible medical situation and threw up basically anything that I put into my mouth, all of my medications included.

Will I ever sleep again?

It’s really affected my sleep. According to my watch, I’ve been averaging 3.5 hours of sleep. As I’ve talked about in other articles, sleep deprivation and insomnia are nothing new to me. But when I am medically failing to thrive due to a diagnosis I’ve had since age 16, sleep is few and far between, despite how exhausted my body is and how much pain I’m in.

I’m struggling to keep down any and all of my nighttime meds, which has totally thrown my schedule for a loop – especially because I work third shift and pick up shifts in between.

Naps are out of the question

I’m not a napper and never have been, as I have found when I do go to bed for a few hours, I wake up in so much more pain than I went to bed with. This has been a really big struggle for me.

One of the only medications at this point that will let me get a few hours of sleep is a muscle relaxer – IF I am able to keep that down. Most days, this has not been the case.

Follow along on my recovery journey in part 2 and read about my experiences with a PICC line and TPN bag.

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