Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Joy in Insomnia

I have insomnia. I'm not talking about the occasional restless night of sleep either. I'm talking, only getting 30 minutes to 2 hours of sleep at the most for many many nights. And I'm not going to lie here, it's hard. It's one of the hardest things I've ever been through.

I've always struggled with sleeping well. But it's never been this bad. During both of my pregnancies I took Unisom at night to help me sleep up until the 3rd trimester. Then, I slept like a baby! That is until week 38 when I had to use the bathroom every time I moved in the bed. :) After Jefferson was born I had a hard time falling asleep between feedings. I honestly wouldn't fall back to sleep after I fed him in the middle of the night. I figured it was hormones. But then after I quit nursing him at 7 months it didn't get better. I figured I needed more exercise. So I continued half-marathon training. I was running over 20 miles a week, still not much sleep. I finally broke down and told the doctor. She told me to try a few herbal remedies. I went all gun hoe into the herbal remedies, and I agreed to quit getting out of bed to clean the house when I couldn't sleep. Well, those herbal remedies did nothing to help me. So I went on a medication called Clonozapam. It did okay, but after talking to my sister-in-law and pharmacist I asked to be put on a low dose of Ambien (but it woke me up at 3 AM every night). After a few nights I gave up and eventually I was fine. I quit taking the medicine and things were starting to go back to normal.

After I appeared to get better I thought I was fine. I'd have a few difficult nights here and there, but overall I was okay. Until a few weeks ago when I just quit sleeping. I mean, I wasn't sleeping! I would just lay there, waiting, breathing deeply, focusing on my soft pillow etc. I took all the herbal supplements my doctor told me to again. Nothing helped. I finally went back to the doctor seeing that I was averaging maybe 10 or 12 hours of sleep in a week. She told me she'd put me on Ambien CR and it should last all night. She also referred me to a sleep specialist (that appointment is Wednesday). The Ambien worked pretty good. But it made me really confused. I was forgetting everything that happened from the day before. And I had a killer headache. So I tried sleeping without it. No sleep again. I took it again. That's when I started to hallucinate one night. I won't go into those details. Let's just say your husband isn't supposed to have 4 eyes and there are no dancing monkeys in my bedroom. After I recovered from that night, my husband said no more Ambien.

So, for 2 nights I lived without any medication at all. I don't want to be on medication, I just want to survive until I could get in to the sleep doctor. Well, after 2.5 hours of sleep in 2 nights and tons of internet research, more supplements, a new fan for our bedroom, and new pillows I thought for SURE I'd sleep last night. No such luck. I finally broke down and took the medicine the pharmacist wasn't too thrilled about. It's very addicting, but I had to do something. I then got 5 hours of sleep last night. Wow, it was amazing. It was so amazing.

I must say, I really feel that the Lord is allowing this for a reason. At first, I wasn't very pleased with the Lord. At church, we sing this song that says, "God makes all things work together for our good." Last week, after singing that song, our Pastor stood up and said, that that isn't just a song, it's God's word. So all week, all I could do was think about how God works all things together for our good. Then in my devotions this week I was reading about Joseph and how he told his brothers that he forgave them for throwing him in a pit and then selling him as a slave all because God wanted to use him for good. He used slavery? Jail? All for good? When Joseph had done nothing! We have an amazing God.

Then later last night, I was reading Psalm 23. It's amazing. I've memorized this passage. How comforting! I'm not in the valley of the shadow of death, but I shouldn't fear, God is with me.

When I think about all the things that I could be going through, I'm really selfish to complain and think I'm all alone. God works all things together for our good. I may not see it now, and I may be exhausted pretty much all the time. I may not be able to do everything that I want to do with my children because I'm so tired, but I'm not alone. God is with me, he has a plan. I don't know what it is, but HE has a plan. For now, I'm going to keep trying to sleep, but until that happens again, I'm going to continue to count the many blessings that the Lord has given me.

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

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