Insomniac All My Life
Hi guys. I've been an insomniac all my life. When I was in my pre-teens, I stayed awake all night playing out pseudo-romantic fantasies; as I went into my later years this changed to me staying up all night writing stories and embryonic novels.
Still unable to sleep
When I got (disastrously!) married I used to sneak downstairs after he went to sleep to write or to do housework because I just couldn't sleep. After 16 years I got very happily divorced from the controlling narcissistic lunatic but was still unable to sleep. I'm aware that this is a habit I've perfected since my very early years. I can go two or three days and nights without any sleep at all, ending up screaming for sleep at the ceiling. A 'good' night would see me get maybe a couple of interrupted hours at most. I have NEVER ever slept during the day, I would find that impossible. My GP said I should keep a sleep diary because I'd find I "got more sleep than I realized". After that, I turned for the first time in my teetotal life to alcohol to knock me out, it's the only way I can get any sleep at all.
Insomnia is often dismissed
My GP and several psychiatrists (I'm bipolar) have always been totally dismissive of this dreadful affliction. A week's worth of sleeping pills is the most they can offer. As I write this Michael Mosley is on the BBC talking about insomnia, but he too isn't focusing on the horror of it, choosing - as they all do - to talk about sleep apnoea as if genuine insomnia doesn't exist. Sleep deprivation is used as an extreme method of torture by terrorists - why won't our health services take it seriously? My dismissive GP (he told me if I couldn't get to sleep after 20 minutes to go downstairs and have a slice of toast and then try again, repeat as necessary) has since had some sort of issue and retired early: not bloody surprised!
He made me give up on getting any help, but tonight I thought it was time I tried to connect with people suffering like me. I suspect from the way I've been treated that insomnia is a truly hidden disorder. When TV programmes talk blithely of getting at least 8 hours of sleep, I give a harsh bark of sarcasm - in a week maybe. Looking forward to seeing on here how prevalent 'real' insomnia is and how people deal with it. And of course, if there's any hope at all. Thanks x
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