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chemical reaction

chemical reaction

I just want to sleep the way other people sleep. I want to close my eyes and drift off peacefully and wake up to a new day feeling refreshed. I don't want what I've had or what I have now.

It used to be just the dreams. The continuous barrage of nightmares and visions and voices that have been with me since childhood. The feeling as if I had been awake the whole time, not in a dream world, not in my imagination or subconcious. I've gotten used to this kind of dreaming and the kind of trance like state I live in during the day because I don't sleep well at night.

It's become more physical than mental lately. I lay down. I close my eyes. Immediately, as always, the dreaming starts before I am even asleep. It's always been that way. But now there's the sensation of my heart beating too fast. A lurching that seems to come up from the pit of my stomach and grab my heart on it's way up and out of my throat in the from of a gasp. I think I am having a heart attack. I bolt fully awake and clutch my heart but it's calmed down, it was just a brief dance out of rythmn, gone and stilled. But I still have that feeling of suffocation, that my lungs are clawing at the air for a breath. I deep breathe. In with the good (inhale) out with the bad (exhale). I'm careful not to do it too quickly so I don't hyperventilate.

The familiar sensation of a panic attack sets in. It's been a long time since the panic attacks came in any kind of frequency. They come here and there and I've learned how to vanquish them so they don't stay more than a minute or so. But these- these come when I am in a daze and already panicked and they are able to grab onto that panic and choke the breath out of me. No breath is deep enough. I could go outside and suck in every drop of fresh air that is out there and it still wouldn't be enough to satisfy my lungs or my head. My heart beats faster and I'm sure that either a heart attack or death is approaching.

Somewhere in my head, while this all is going on, there is a voice of reason that tells me I am not dying. I am not suffocating. I will not die at this moment, in my bed, gripped with a fear that some subconcious nightmare has brought on. I've lived through these before. I'll live to tell again.

But sometime in the past few days the extra large heartbeats and the gasping breaths have crossed over from the bed to the kitchen to the world at large. I sit here now, breathing in too hard, breathing out too little and I am probably perpetuating the whole scenario by unwittingly repeating it.

I wonder if it's too much caffeine. Too much pressure. Too much stress. Too much nutrasweet and additives and preservatives. Not enough sleep. Not enough vitamins. Not enough exercise. I don't want to wonder if it's real. If the valves of my heart are trying to send me a message. I put that thought out with the thoughts of death and suffocating in an imaginary coffin.

So what do I do? Should I try meditation or yoga? Should I go to a sleep clinic? Should I go back to therapy and try to chase out whatever demons are keeping me from sleeping and then making it hard to be awake? There are things I want to lift from my shoulders but they are not things you tell people. They are things you keep under wraps. But I think I would feel better, relieved, more at ease if those things that came to haunt me when I try to sleep were dispelled from my head.

And then I wonder if past chemicals are catching up with me. If things I did over 20 years ago are finally manifesting themselves in my brain cells. Or if they are finally seeping out of my brain cells into other parts of my body. If all that chemical abuse has made my body and my mind finally try to exact its revenge on me. I wonder what has sat there dormant inside me all of these years, only to be triggered by a memory or an over the counter medication that had just the right ingredients to wake the sleeping giant of drug abuse that sits inside of me.

So, anyhow. How's your Sunday going?

Comments

people who have never suffered from insomnia have no clue how debilitating it can be. my thoughts go out to you chickie.

you know if you lived in a decent time zone, we'd never get any work done...

A physical might not be a bad idea.

aromatheraphy? or/and yeah, a physical.

it sounds like several of the things you wonder if you should try would help atleast somewhat. you know, the whole "everything in moderation". but i know that's not much of a helpful suggestion. whatever you do seek, i hope it rewards you the peace you deserve.

as for my sunday? lessee... i think i'd have to say i've suffered a panic attack myself. there's this boy who i've called a "significant other" for two months now. he lives five hours from me and comes to visit for the weekends now and again. this all sounds normal right? well, the baggage of me - having come out of a messy five year relationship w/ engagement - and him - having never had a girlfriend before... makes things... how should we say - delicate?

so melissa had a panic attack. the whole, in my space for too many hours on end and i want you to go, feeling. i often refer to it as the "chlausterphobic, icky boy gag reflex" yes - i know, i probably sound like i'm fifteen years old.

the worst part is that i cannot find the courage to tell him to go home. that i do not feel anything. he is a puppy. smitten by an idea and not a real person. and the best part. i have to go to a wedding today. guess who's going with me? shoot me now.

I say to my brain in just these moments, "LALALALALA I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU LALALALALA!"

Your brain will sometimes cook up this stuff, regardless of whether you listen. So ignore it and do something that creates a different really loud noise in your head, like, turning your speakers up or fucking or go running or primal screaming or ...

My panic attack cure is similar. When it starts up, I remind myself that reality and the anxiety my body is trying to convince me I'm having are two different things.

"It's just my body. It's just my body. I'm fine," I repeat to myself, because it's TRUE. That physical feeling of panic has a life of its own. I can calm my thoughts but my body is just going to do that for a while longer until it's done.

If I need the break a complete meltdown would afford, rather than paying attention to my panicky body and going for full puddle status, I say "fuck it" and go do whatever I want.

I'm not going to accomplish anything anyway. I can go have fun and waste the time a meltdown would waste, and still save the time I'd have to spend cleaning up after my meltdown.

Death before decaf.

there are herbal "tranquilisers" available (don't laugh - not that sort of herbal) - over here they are called Kalms or Quiet Life and you can get them in health-food shops. I am taking them at the moment for horrendous stress and I can tell you they really work. You could also try burning lavender oil in an aromatherapy burner, that works well too. Hope you feel better soon :)

My Sunday? I decided that for Lent I'd give up not showing up for Sunday service. Well, today, 1st Sunday after Lent I woke up at around 12:10. Is this a sin? What will happen to me now?

How's my Sunday? Better than yours, evidently. Although I've spent the day pondering what you've said here and thinking if there was anything that someone you barely know (and then only in an online capacity) could (or even should) say to make you feel better. I've not come up with anything, but then I'm not sure there's anything to come up with. I can push the mealy bit about hoping you feel better but that feels a bit flat. I mean, that's pretty obvious -- anyone with any humanity should hope you feel better soon and wish the anxiety away.

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

A good friend sent me an email suggesting that my symptoms could be related to menopause. And she was right. Last year, my doctor told me I was exhibiting signs of early menopause, which runs in my family. I started taking herbal hormone regulators (ok'd by my doctor) and felt much better.

About a month ago, I stopped taking them because I always believed that with any long-term medication (herbal or not) you should stop taking it at some point for a few weeks.

So basically, if I look in my sleep journal, I can see that my sleep anxiety and insomnia increased when I went off the pills.

So, back on them today and we'll see what tonight brings. But I'm taking down all of your suggestions and I thank you for the good thoughts.

And yes, Nancy. Death before Decaf.

Carmen: church is anywhere you want it to be. Even in your bed at 12:10 on the sunday after Lent. Or you could always cross over and join me on the dark side.

M-
first off, this isn't from any sort of substance you did years ago that may be "seeping" into your system. That's just scare tactics probably subsconsciously recalled from drug education of the "reefer madness" variety you were likely subjected to long ago.
I think you have hit on al the real possible causes - diet, hormones, stress - maybe one of those. You'll figure it out.
Try this, this is my best, absolutely natural and effective sleep remedy (and when I say it works - it's coming from someone who used to take 1 and 1/2 Demerol at night just to stop shaking, so it may sound hokey but I am serious.)
Go to the health food store or somewhere that specialises in aromatherapy products and buy a bottle of good lavendar essential oil. It will cost 8-10 bucks if it's quality. (I like French the best, but they all work - English, Bulgarian, etc.) Run a warm to hot bath. Put a few drops of the oil in the water and soak for about 15 minutes. Within an hour you'lll be ready for a deep sleep. You can also add a couple of drops to your pillowcase - or just do the pillowcase bit if you don't feel like a bath. Bonus - it smells really good! :)

unfortunately, some people can't tolerate lavendar or other essential oils. but of course, you know what i'm going to recommend. you already said it: yoga and meditation.

glad to hear you figured out the herbal thing. it's always good to make note of changes in your journal so you can track problems down later. hope you sleep tight tonight!

Unfortunately, I don't like the smell of lavendar. But I am looking into several alternative remedies.

My sister was kind enough to bring over her own version of a sleep aid last night. The kind you smoke. It worked.