Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep


In the several posts leading up to my two month hiatus, I briefly mentioned needing to be away to take care of some things. In addition to my household, which was falling apart, I needed to learn how to take care of myself again-- which probably sounds a bit strange coming from a woman who is rapidly approaching her thirties much soon that she would like to admit. However, I am notoriously terrible at taking care of myself. I will sooner allow my leg to fall off than go to a doctor to have it examined. Just ask Mr. A. We've had many a fight over my inability to slow down. Which brings me to the topic of this post...

For more than a year I've been battling a serious case of insomnia. To be honest, it started when Jasmine was first born.  Unbeknownst to Mr. A, I would sneak out of the room, and creep into her room to check on her. I suppose that's normal for first time moms. But then my insomnia was quickly spiraling out of control-- to the point where Mr. A was getting pretty concerned. It was so bad that I was averaging 2 hours of sleep per night- IF I was lucky.

And then there was the stress. I was so stressed that my mind was always on the grind. I would try to shutdown at night, but the second I closed my eyes I would get these flashes of things I still needed to do. My life was starting to bleed into my dreams. Suddenly the 2 hours per night I was getting was turning more into an hour or 30 minutes at best. And it was always broken. I would just suddenly jolt awake, thinking I had been asleep for hours- only to find that I had only been asleep for 15 minutes. This went on for months, more than a year, in fact.

Most nights/mornings were spent on the couch in a half-sleep-half-working zombie-like state. I would stay up all night trying to juggle everything. But, as we all know, juggling only works until it doesn't.

And then one day Mr. A came home and found me on the floor- sobbing. That pressure that had been building finally just gave way. I cried so hard, I cried myself to sleep. Which was really the best thing that could have happened because sleep is truly what my body needed.

We both decided that this had gone on for far too long. I started taking melatonin at night to help my body slow down. I also stopped drinking the 4 cups of coffee a day my body had become accustomed to. Especially in the evening. And that was hard. I had come to rely on that 6:00 o'clock cup of coffee to perk me up for my all-nighters. I started sleeping in the bedroom again. Even if I wasn't tired, I would turn off my phone and just stare at the ceiling until I was.

Those first few weeks of trying to normalize my sleeping habits were the hardest. My body was so worn out from nearly a year of no rest that for the first week or two, getting 6-8 hours a sleep every night actually made me more tired. My body soaked up those extra hours of sleep like a sponge in the desert, and left me in a groggy state.

Looking back at the past year I wondered how I was even able to function. But then I realize I actually wasn't. Physically I was there, but mentally, I was in a perpetual state of exhaustion, unable to focus or hold a decent conversation without spacing out.

I'm not going to say that my sleeping habits are completely back on track. Occasionally, I still wake up at 2:00 a.m. on the couch. But now, once I realize what I'm doing, I shuffle straight to the bedroom, pop a few melatonin and try to shut it off for the night.

I guess we can all get caught up in life. The important thing is that we don't allow it to consume everything. Life is stressful, no doubt, but trying to tackle it while your running on E is akin to taking on a martial arts expert when you yourself have no training at all. It's just asking for trouble.

So if any of this sounds familiar, you may want to rethink some things. In the grand scheme, sleep doesn't seem all that important, but in order to keep up with the fast pace of our world, it's a necessity.

If you are going through this, I pray that you find resolution for whatever demons you may be battling during those long sleepless nights.  I pray that you find a way to turn it off long enough to save up the strength that you'll need to slay those dragons. But most of all, I wish you many nights filled with beautiful dreams and fluffy sheep.

9 comments :

  1. I'm glad to hear things are getting back on track for you. I hate that feeling of being overwhelmed with life. I don't think this is how we were meant to live, but then I think what can I do about it.

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    1. Thanks Megan! I agree, it's so hard to slow down. We have all these checkpoints that we're suppose to be at by certain points in our lives. Graduating college at 21. First big job by 22. Promotion by 24. Married by 27. Kids by 30. It's crazy if you think about the amount of pressure we put ourselves under. Very overwhelming!

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  2. I am glad you're back on track. I had only been reading your blog for a short time before you left on hiatus. I am not sure why you were chosen to go through this, but there are people who need to hear your story. They need to know that healing will come. Thank you for sharing.

    Sophia
    twentyfiveseasons.com

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    1. Thank you for reading Sophia. I'm a true believer that challenge and adversity builds character. Of course at the time, I wasn't quite as calm, but now that the storm has passed I realize that it has made me that much stronger. As you said, hopefully someone who is going through something similar will stumble unto my blog.

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  3. Oh Reese, this so spoke to me. I have been running on a few hours a sleep a night for years...and this year I am changing that. I just can't do it anymore. I am exhausted. I have been making a point to go to bed before midnight (most nights, I am not 100% there yet) and like you, I find myself so tired after getting more rest than I have in years. But I know that getting more sleep is a good thing and at some point, it will be better.

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    1. It's funny how we always think we're alone. Until we speak up and realize that so many others are going through the same thing. I'm happy you're taking the time to slow down and get rest. Life is too precious to be exhausted all the time. Melatonin has been a huge help for me. If you're still having trouble sleeping, you may want to give it a shot. Also, banana's contain natural muscle relaxants, so they are a great alternative.

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  4. So funny. We almost wrote about the same thing today. I'm not getting any sleep lately either, but for different reasons. I can't wait to get the baby sleeping better because I miss my good sleep!

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  5. I have always suffered from Insomia. There is always something do or miss. I need to work on getting rest.

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  6. Coming by from SITS!

    I really enjoyed this post. I've suffered from insomnia since I was a kid, and my bf doesn't get it. Sometimes trying to normalize my routine works, and other times it doesn't. But, like you, I am not going to go see the doctor about it! I'm worried about being put on some medication that will alter my brain somehow. I dunno.

    Anyway, I really appreciated this! Cheers!

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