Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sleep or lack thereof

My sleep has been really, really bad lately. It has never been good, not since I can remember. I'm a lifetime insomniac, since I was a young teenager anyway; I also have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The PTSD has improved drastically over the years, since I am no longer attacked while sleeping or awakened to the sound of violence and haven't been for decades. I've also been taking medication to help me sleep for the last ten years. My current fears involve possible intrusions from the outside world, and I do have them sometimes to an irrational degree. ("Did you lock the door? Are you sure? Well, I'm going to go look.") Unfortunately, I don't think this will never leave me completely, but I do the best I can. I would feel better with more locks on the doors (like about ten) and a really large, protective dog that loves me best. A razor-wire electric fence around my house and an armed guard might be nice, too. (I wish I was kidding.) A doctor looked at me once and said, "You have sleep apnea AND insomnia?" and I could tell he was thinking, Well, you're screwed.

Part of the problem with waking up often during the night--at least while I've been on Ambien/Ambien CR--is nocturnal eating. I've found wrappers and crumbs in different places in the house the next day and had no memory of eating anything or even being there. I have tried and rejected several sleep drugs over the years, and am about to try a new one. The only one that worked for me was Remeron, which provided the loveliest, most restful sleep of my life. I gained fifty pounds on it (one of the side effects is increased appetite), so I had to discontinue its use. (I managed to lose half of the fifty pounds I gained and keep it off, but at this point, who's counting?)

The other I wrote something weird in my food journal when I had a middle-of-the-night snack. Of course, I didn't remember eating or writing. That assignment was to write down why I was eating, what, what time, whether it was need-based or for some other reason. I wrote was "3:00 AM, 2 cookies. Want or love?" It creeped me out, and, taken literally, probably revealed more than I wanted it to--even to myself.

I have also been having nightmares, which isn't unusual for me, but some are easier to shake off than others. Like any nightmares, it feels as if my subconscious took a laxative and what comes out comes out. Last night's involved having to watch a dog be burned alive as part of some twisted ritual I wasn't part of but couldn't escape. The night before that, it was about being in the hospital with my mind alert, but unable to communicate with anyone, and being wheeled around on a gurney. I could feel the wheels wobbling under me.

These two examples are upsetting to me, but actually quite mild as my nightmares go. My dreams in general tend to be vivid and involved, like movies, with people I don't know taking part and plot twists aplenty. In the past, have had PTSD flashbacks manifest themselves as dreams, and we've all had those anxiety-based "naked in high school" dreams. I know a lot of dreams are symbolic, but I try not to spend a lot of time analyzing them, just chalking them up to the aforementioned laxative of the subconscious processing everyday life.

People are asking me lately if I am scared about having this surgery. The answer is, of course I am. But I've had several surgeries in the past few years, and this one is a lot less invasive than most of them. This one also has the capacity to really be a tool to help me improve my life. Yes, I could die, but anyone can die from any surgery. If my number is up, I have no control over that, so I don't see the point in fussing about that aspect of it. I'm more focused on the ways my life has to change and determined to make the most of what this could do for me.

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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