a woman with insomnia laying in bed, with stress swirls around her head, holding her stomach with her floor and bed resembling ocean waves crashing onto a beach

The Relentless Cycle of Pain, Sickness, and Insomnia

These days I see my counselor via Zoom. Current events have changed many things, but my insomnia is not one of them. On Wednesday, I had my weekly counseling session where I discussed all things going on in my home and life, without actually ever talking about what underlying problem keeps me coming back to the couch in her office.

The virtual Zoom session feels a little like a reprieve since I no longer feel the burden of hair and make-up...and a shower. And pants. These days, pants feel like a court accessory. And since the only judge I kowtow to is in my own brain, I opted to forgo pants. But as usual with insomnia, I digress.

Lying awake with insomnia

I mean, obviously, I know to sleep. I understand the mechanics of a bed with clean, crisp sheets in a calming space, a perfect 69 degrees room temp, and blackout curtains. I have all that. The only thing I don’t have is the little nighttime mask that covers one's eyelids until they flutter closed for a blissful 6 to 8 hours. I hate anything on my face so it’s a no-go.

Instead, I am laying in my bed, awake, thinking about Kermit the frog and my to-do list for tomorrow, and whether I forgot to put the wet clothes in the dryer; the grocery list, and dinner menu, and a hundred other things, including my nauseous stomach.

Waves of nausea

Tonight, I am not only contending with the buzzing in my brain but I am also dealing with a new health issue. I have now seen 3 separate doctors, none of who can figure out what is causing my constant nausea. The sickness is debilitating.

Coming in waves, gravity pulls from my stomach up into my esophagus and then comes crashing back hard against the shore. In the end, it doesn’t really matter why I’m awake. Only that I am.

Living with constant pain and sickness

My mind pulls me in 50 directions thinking, thinking, thinking, while my nauseous stomach demands I think constantly of how sick I feel. Feeling so sick increases my desire to sleep but also guarantees all I do is think. The cycle feels never-ending.

It’s so hard to live in constant pain and sickness. It makes me angry and depressed. The lack of sleep makes me mean and hateful. I do not want to be like this but I feel like I cannot help the words that come out of my mouth.

My family walks around on eggshells trying to avoid the wrath of pain and sleep deprivation coming out of my mouth. It is not right and it is not fair. My excuses and apologies for my bad attitude and isolation are nothing more than lip service.

I will not give up

I wish I could do better. I wish I was better. I wish I knew how to stop all the pain and suffering I feel. But you know what they say about wishes.

So instead I medicate. I medicate for the pain. I medicate for the nausea and then I medicate for the sleep. When morning comes too soon and I am still exhausted, as well as hungover from all of the medication I took to get through the night. Sometimes life feels so difficult. But I don’t give up. I refuse to live like this. I want to get better. I will try.

Maybe the next doctor will be able to help. Maybe I’ll invest in the little eyemask thingy. Maybe I will try essential oils.

But I will keep trying.

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