It hit again last week. The dreaded insomnia. Ever since August of 2009, when the sleeplessness was at its worst (4 nights without sleep, followed by me giving a sermon at the largest service we had all year), I have had periodic bouts of it. None of them as bad as that first one, because I am able to take steps to rectify things sooner. But still very difficult.
This time, it hit on Monday night. I was innocently making my way down into the kitchen late at night and spied a mouse on the kitchen floor. When he saw me, he flew into the cupboard.
This was all it took to upset my sleep equilibrium. I have a real phobia of mice. We've had them before in other houses where we lived and they would eat through packages of food, poop all over everything, and even run up the stairs. My worst fear is to find one crawling on me in the night.
I got jittery and felt the creepy crawlies all over me. I couldn't get to sleep. Everything in town was closed when we found the mouse and we had no traps.
To a normal person, finding a mouse would bother them, but not set them completely off their game. To my friends, my hysteria was a bit amusing, until they realized I really was a mess from lack of sleep. I have real trouble whenever my nighttime routine or sense of security is threatened. Even sleeping in a hotel room can set me off. It's pretty frustrating. My husband was bothered by the mouse, but not enough to have his sleep affected. I get pretty jealous of that ability.
We tried to make our own sticky glue that night. Inhumane, yes. But I was desperate. However, we only succeeded in burning it to the bottom on the pan and leaving pock marks of porcelain-like glue on our stove.
So, seeing my distress, Christopher took off for Walmart, a half hour's drive away. He got a bunch of traps of all kinds and set them. But the damage was already done for my sleep. I was so worked up, I could barely get to sleep. I didn't sleep much that night. I was so tired the next day, I let Burrito sit in bed with me and watch cartoons much of the day. The next night, I think I slept even less, so in the morning, it was more of the same.
When I don't sleep, I don't just feel a bit fatigued. My whole body hurts. It aches. I feel pressure on my heart. My thought processes move slowly. I can't keep a thought in my head. On the plus side, I don't find myself obsessing over anxieties like I often do. But on the negative side, this is simply because I can't seem to think.
Finally, on the third night, I gave in and took a sleeping pill. Unfortunately, I was thinking so poorly, I first took my antidepressant at night (too much of it in one day can rev me up). So, I was pretty screwed up, but did manage to sleep a bit that night.
On Thanksgiving, I was still feeling like a bit of a zombie, but we did manage to have a nice day with our friends. I was glad to have at least some sleep under my belt. Slowly, I have managed to get back to full night sleeps this week and am feeling more normal.
Insomnia can be a very serious thing. It puts pressure on your body in ways that really aren't healthy. It causes physical and emotional pain. But there is a way back from insomnia. I know what to do now. Take a pill (as low a dose as possible) to restore equilibrium (and then get off it relatively quickly). Establish a routine at night and stick to it as much as possible. Cover the clock so as to not obsess over the time of the night and how I REALLY REALLY MUST GET TO SLEEP NOW! And I have found a glass of red wine at night to be helpful, but I realize this may not work for everyone.
I'm back on the right track again. But we still haven't caught that mouse.
I am getting more ok with it though.