Insomnia, Anxiety & Me
“Roughly 60 Million Americans are affected by [a] sleep disorder every year,” and I am one of them – as some of you may already know. Some night I have issues with insomnia, other nights my sleep is completely broken and restless. It is not very often that I actually get a good night’s sleep, regardless of how long I am lying in my bed for. I could be lying in bed for 12 hours and yet only get 4-5 hours of solid sleep. I even have a prescription medication that I take every night (almost) faithfully.
Sometimes all my sleep med does it make me drowsy enough to fall asleep, but it usually doesn’t keep me asleep. Most nights, I wake up in the middle of the night several times and more often than not, it takes me awhile to fall back to sleep. On multiple occasions, I have been unable to go back to bed and eventually give up trying. On the nights where I am able to fall back to sleep, I almost always wake up groggy, making mornings feel almost impossible to deal with. Having sleep problems can really suck sometimes. 😳
I cherish the nights I am able to sleep well and the mornings I am able to wake up without too much of an issue.
There is something that I’ve noticed recently that has been helping me to fall back to sleep lately, even though it usually takes a couple of hours to fall asleep again, and that is cuddling with my furbaby Jasper. I find it comforting when Jasper jumps up on the bed and starts nuzzling against me. I will usually lay back down and just start petting him. He means the world to me.
It is truly amazing how beneficial pets and animals can be for a person’s mental health. Pets are filled with so much love and loyalty. Jasper may drive me crazy at times, but I still love the little guy to the moon and back. I can’t thank my best friend enough for bringing this beautiful kitty into my life when I was feeling defeated by the world. 😻🐈
It is about a quarter after midnight on June 7th, 2019, and I just realized that I never mentioned (previously or now) that my boyfriend and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary together on June 1st, 2019. We spent some time together and binged watched shows on Netflix. Nothing too exciting since all that really mattered to me was that we got to spend some quality time together. I was happy with that. 😍
I almost neglected to mention that as of May 27th, I was 21 months sober. I haven’t gotten drunk in over 21 months! I can’t believe I am coming up on my two year sobriety anniversary. It has gotten easier, but I still have some really crappy days where a few shots of vodka sounds very appealing. I still miss how easy it was to socialize when I would have a few drinks in my system. Now, I feel like a complete social outcast most days where I won’t even want to leave my apartment at times.
It will feel like there is something keeping me trapped in my apartment, almost like something is physically keeping me from walking out the door. My anxiety will start to skyrocket every time I have to leave to go to an appointment or something. I won’t be able to bring my anxiety down from a 10 (as in the 1 – 10 scale with one being no anxiety and 10 being the highest level of anxiety) until I walk back in my house.
Then, there are some days where I don’t mind leaving my apartment as much even with all the anxiety I almost always feel. In those cases, it is usually because I will be with people that I am comfortable around while being in a familiar setting. But that is not always the case. Sometimes even the people I love the most will make me feel incredibly anxious too. And also during those times I am okay with going out, I can only tolerate being out so long before my anxiety starts to feel like it’s controlling me again.
I could even be at my best friend or moms house and my anxiety level will be at a five, it usually never goes lower than a five, and then all of a sudden my anxiety will skyrocket again. Then I get the urge to leave and go back home. I will even sometimes start to get visibly antsy and angry because of everything rushing through my head that anxiety lies to me about. It’s almost like, I have to leave and I have to leave NOW!
When I am out with a friend or at someone else’s house, once I feel the need to leave I don’t always admit that I have to leave because of my anxiety. I find that telling those closest to me that I need to head home thanks to feeling overly anxious, that they sometimes feel some type of way about it; almost hurt or even offended, when it really has nothing at all to do with them or how I feel about them and more to do with the war that is raging inside my head.
Unless someone has been there, it’s really hard to understand what it feels like to have to leave your besties house after only hanging out for an hour or two because something inside your head is telling you that you are only safe at home. Or when you know that the overwhelming sense of dread you feel won’t subside until your back home. It is annoying af and very infuriating.
I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t always this bad.
I remember days when I used to love going placing or I would love going for car rides as much as the beloved family fido. Those days seem so far away now. I can’t help but wonder if this anxiety-fueled woman I see in the mirror is really who I have become now? I don’t like this “new” Samantha who is afraid of everything.
My anxiety has robbed me of so much, and it just seems to get worse each year. I think I need to find some new, interactive coping mechanisms for my anxiety. I find that I can always help others who have having an anxiety or panic attack, but I find it very challenging to help myself. 🤷♀️
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.