Seeing a Sleep Specialist for My Insomnia: Part 2
In part 1, I talked about how I had suffered from sleeping issues since I was a teenager but it wasn’t until my early 20’s that my insomnia became unbearable.
At this point in my journey, I felt like I had tried every medication, therapy, and lifestyle change I reasonably could. For those of you who struggle with health problems, you know that sometimes things need to take a backseat.
Sleep deprivation as a serious issue
While I knew sleep deprivation was extremely unhealthy, I never looked at it as a serious problem compared to my other medical conditions. I live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which has resulted in numerous abdominal surgeries, procedures, hospitalizations, infections, etc...
I always assumed and hoped that my sleep issues would resolve once things were more stable in other areas of my life.
Anticipating my sleep clinic visit
A few years after seeing the sleep doctor I mentioned in part 1, I decided I needed to do something more drastic. I made an appointment at a sleep clinic an hour away from home. It was in a hospital I trusted enormously and felt like if anyone could help me, it would be them.
After waiting for 4 months for an appointment, I was excited when the day arrived. Nervous, but excited to get in front of premiere sleep specialists who also had access to my entire medical history in their system.
Seeing me as a whole person
One of the things I loved about the hospital I am treated at was their ability to not only collaborate with medical professionals in different departments but how they looked at each person individually. I also felt like they dealt with a lot of complicated patients so they saw more than a local physician. Most of the doctors I met at this facility seemed to look at me as a whole person which was what I was banking on here.
Hoping for a sleep study
I was also hoping that they would do a sleep study on me. I knew and understood my other doctor’s reasoning for not ordering one but I had hoped that a sleep clinic in a metropolitan hospital would be different.
I thought they might have superior techniques to deal with insomnia patients who have an underlying mental health condition like I did (PTSD).
Dashed hopes and the final straw
When I heard them say they don’t do sleep studies for patients struggling with insomnia, my heart honestly sank. I had so much hope for all those months it took to get the appointment. I thought if anyone could help me, the medical professionals at this place would be it.
So, to hear once again that the root cause wasn’t going to be figured out was heartbreaking to me. It made me feel like I was beyond help which as most of you know, is not a good feeling.
The final straw of the appointment was when another doctor came in, looked at my records and notes taken by the physician's assistant and asked me if I drank Red Bull or any other energy drinks before bed.
I literally wanted to scream
That is like asking someone with debilitating migraines if they tried Tylenol. Or, someone in terrible agony if they ever thought about yoga.
It is offensive.
I would LOVE if my insomnia was caused by me drinking too many energy drinks because, um, that would be a simple fix.
Since then, I have yet to talk to another doctor about my insomnia.
What have your experiences been with sleep doctors and/or sleep clinics? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Do you have any other health conditions besides insomnia?