a woman with insomnia looking tired and frustrated gazing up at five shooting stars out of her window

5 Things I Wish Doctors Understood About Insomnia

Those of you living with chronic insomnia have likely been to at least 1 doctor about it. Whether that is your primary care physician, a sleep specialist, or another person in the medical field, it is likely you have had some frustrating appointments. I know I have!

There are so many things I wish doctors understood about insomnia.

Top 5 things that come to mind

  1. If I am going to go through the hassle of making an appointment and spending the time in your office, it is because I am really struggling.
  2. I am here because I need help so please don’t invalidate how much my insomnia is impeding on my life.
  3. Don’t treat me like a moron and ask things like, “Are you consuming large amounts of caffeine before bed?”
  4. If I tell you I have been suffering for years and have seemingly tried everything, don’t then ask if I ever thought about chamomile tea. If it was that simple, I wouldn’t be in your office.
  5. Given I suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, it might be difficult sometimes for me to articulate how I am feeling. This is a direct result of my insomnia. I am not trying to make your job difficult.

The ups and downs of being a patient

As someone who has suffered from multiple chronic health conditions since the age of 13, I have seen a lot of doctors in my lifetime. While I have had positive experiences with medical professionals, I have also had terrible ones. It is often difficult for long-term “patients” to even acknowledge the need for another appointment, as I am sure many of you reading this can relate to.

In addition, between the copays, gas, money for parking, taking a day off work, or needing to pay for child care, it can become quite an expense. Oftentimes many patients wait for weeks or months to get an appointment which only adds to the build-up.

Seeking care and validation

One of the things that gets us to power-through despite all these challenges is knowing that at the end of it all, we will hopefully receive the help we need. We also pray that the medical professional we are seeing is caring, understanding, and sympathetic to our situation.

There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than believing you are in front of someone who at the very least can understand your plight only to have them invalidate your struggles. This can make you wonder if you are making a big deal out of nothing.

Take us seriously and listen to us

By the time a person decides to actually speak to a doctor about their insomnia, it has likely been going on for a long time. I have never heard of someone having 1 or 2 sleepless nights and then immediately making an appointment. In those situations, it is likely situational or circumstantial and not a chronic problem.

This is why when a physician asks questions like, “Do you drink a lot of Red Bulls at night?” it can be infuriating and cause feelings of hopelessness. Yes, a doctor actually asked me that.

There are so many things I wish doctors understood about insomnia. I could probably write a novel on this topic alone. I would LOVE to hear some things you wish doctors knew about insomnia. Have you had any of the experiences mentioned in this article? If so, you are not alone!

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