Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Own Version of "Valley of the Dolls"

I think I need to get really honest about the name of this blog. Obviously, I'm single (not married) and residing in Sacramento but I don't tell people how often it is that I am actually sleepless. Which is a lot of the time. Too much.

If you happened upon my stash of meds, you'd think that I was comatose most of the time. And you'd probably wonder why I waste my time teaching pilates when I could make much more money on the high school campuses selling this stuff. Quite honestly, you'd wonder what a holistic yoga girl is doing with this kind of arsenal. Here's just a sampling:

Skull Cap (seriously!)

If you looked up the actual conditions that some of the above drugs are prescribed for, you'd probably assume that a depressed, bipolar and manic individual resides in my home since some of these medications are used for their sedating properties. But no, it's just one mom, battling a life-long, all out WAR against insomnia. Without a lot of success.

I'm seeing a new sleep doctor and I just tried hynotherapy this week. I also tried a new drug that is used for schizophrenia. It rendered me useless for a solid day. Which would be great if I didn't have a five-year-old to care for and a job that actually requires me to show up, speak with articulation and more often than not, adjust various body parts. I can see why the drug is prescribed for people dealing with multiple personalities. The drug pretty much guarantees one personality: zombie.

After my first divorce (OK, now you know...yes, there has been more than one marriage!), I stopped sleeping. I was 25 years old, working my tail off in the corporate world, commuting ungodly hours each way to work, and basically living on adrenaline. On weekends, I'd go out with my friends to all the new Bay Area fun spots, then crash on Sundays. Most weekdays, I'd toss and turn, then give up and get out of bed by 4:30am to teach a spin class or do extra work before going into the office. Yes, I was a Type A back then. Big time.

All that lack of sleep started a deficit early on that I can't seem to reverse. When I had B, getting up with him in the night really was no big deal since I was used to being awake much of the night anyway. When he started sleeping through the night, I continued to wake up at all hours. Some nights were better than others. I'm lucky to get five hours of quality sleep. Some people can function quite well on this amount; I, however, know that I need closer to seven to get through my day without forgetting clients names, running stop signs and using words that are at least two syllables.

I can never sleep in which makes things worse. I'm usually wide awake by 4:30am and struggle to stay in bed until 6:00am. So by 8:00pm each night, I am generally fading quickly. Which is actually OK because my sleep doctor says I can't watch television or use the computer within two hours of bedtime. So, don't even ask me about my favorite "Idol" contestant or what I think about the latest "Bachelor" reject and certainly don't send me anything on email that might require my immediate attention.

There are other "sleep rules." I'm supposed to be "winding down" at 8:00pm. I can engage in sex but no serious discussions. Chamomile tea is acceptable, wine is not. Reading is allowed, provided that it is done outside of the bedroom and the reading material must be "light" in nature. It's also recommended that I sleep in my own bed every night. You get the idea.

I'm hopeful that the combined efforts of my doctor and the hypnotherapist can help. But the doctor hasn't returned my calls and what I talked about in hypnotherapy was this: a black cat, a crowded airplane and a series of "reward" stars. So I think that maybe all those years of not sleeping have potentially made me a bit crazy.

Speaking of crazy, last week, I had a really horrible night that entailed a 1:30am phone call to my boyfriend, S. I'm not posting the details but I will say that he came over and helped with B the next morning before school as I called nine clients and cancelled their sessions. I'll also say that he might be an actual saint and that you should never combine medications, particularly those that are intended for sleep. I think you get the gist.

So if I seem a little foggy and I happen to forget your birthday, your child's name, or our last conversation, now you'll know why. I shudder at the thought of dealing with this level of fatigue for the rest of my life and I'm hoping and praying for a sleep miracle to come my way soon.


Kirsten said...

Wow. I haven't even heard of most of those drugs. A couple Valerian usually do the trick for me if I can't sleep. I hope it's not a gateway herb. :-)

I had no idea you had such an insomnia problem. I sure could get a lot of crap done if I got up at 4:30am... two hours of kid free time in the morning would work wonders for me.

I hope your new sleep doc is able to give you some relief.

heartatpreschool said...

That must be SO frustrating, to say the least! I will be thinking about you, and hoping for the sleep cure for you!

bernthis said...

My ex was/is an insomniac. It really is horrible. I literally cannot function on less than 8 hours of sleep. At least now you've got someone in your life that cares about you to help out. That goes a long way.