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Friends not supportive of insomnia/sorority reunion


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Well I'm back from San Diego for a mini sorority reunion and tour of our old sorority house...40yrs later. It was so fun. The new girls are darling and so nice. Lots of fond memories. Enjoyed my lunch with 12 others from my era. Everyone looked great but...I spent the nite with 2 close friends and ended up feeling very bad, like there is something wrong with me...I'm weird with insomnia. "What is wrong with me that I can't sleep" I'm a real oddity. Of course I have to add that when driving with them I was nervous that they were following too closly. So that coupled with the insomina made them think I was really a nervous wreck...which I don't think I am. Just because I can't sleep, does that mean there is something wrong with me? One girl falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow. She obviously has lots of Gaba.

They gave me a hard time about my sleep routine and how hard it must be for my husband with all my special needs. Of course I slept awful, even with unisom. The room was totally fine...dark, comfortable bed, black out curtains, open window and cool room. Oh, they gave me a bad time because I had to have a clock in my room. They thought that was weird too. For me it is really important to know what time it is and if I should take rescue remedy, or get up. I had a great time until it was time to go to bed. Then I ended up feeling crummy about myself. It is frustrating to be 8 mos off and still not sleeping...even with a unisom.

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Kathi,

 

I think I know how you feel.  Sometimes when I'm trying to schedule something (I always schedule for 1 pm or after) and have to tell people that it's because of chronic insomnia they look at me like that's nothing.  People who don't have insomnia really don't understand it.  Try not to let it get to you even though I know it's really frustrating.  I really don't think they know how it effects our lives.

 

Please don't feel crummy about yourself.  It certainly isn't your fault.  I look at insomnia kind of like of disease - you wouldn't feel badly about yourself if you had a chronic illness and really for me that's what insomnia has been all my life.

 

I have that worry about following too close when driving also and driving too fast.  That just means we are defensive drivers which is what you want to be because there are a lot of bad drivers out there.

 

Also try not to let them make you feel you are a nervous wreck.  There's nothing wrong with being a safe driver. Also there's nothing wrong with you because you can't sleep.  It's just a fact.  Some people can sleep some can't.  My husband can fall asleep so fast I'm amazed and he does it with no effort.  Luckily he's very understanding about my insomnia.  If I get interested in something like reading a very good book or we are watching a good movie he will always remind me it's time to stop and sleep.

 

So I hope you can just forget about that part of the reunion and though they may be very nice people I think they just don't understand what it's like having insomnia.

 

Hope you sleep tonight.

 

Pacey

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Gosh, thank you Pacey. I really came home feeling bad instead of good. That is a shame because the reunion was really fun. It surprises me that my good friends say things in such a way that makes me feel like there must be something wrong with me. I'm abnormal, because I am different from the average person. I have insomnia, have a sensitive stomach(not so much now that I'm off the benzo) food allergies and now nervous about their driving. They say I have to pick the restaurant because they are flexible and I have lots of issues. That hurts my feelings.

When I say something bothers me they say; you'll be fine. I hate when someone says that to me. How do they know I will be fine. I feel like they are brushing it off and acting like I'm an overly sensitive baby. I probably am. I'm wondering if they are such good friends after all. I surely never say things like that. I don't put someone down because they are different from me. I tell my one friend how fortunate she is to be able to sleep so easily. She probably takes it for granted. She is always telling me to be grateful for what I have. She is never sick, sleeps great, has wonderful, successful children, no alcohol problems in her family.

I have an adult son living back home because of job loss, with an alcohol problem and no money. Constant health issues and a controlling husband are also not particularly easy. One friend asked me if I am ever happy. Do I ever have a day where I feel totally good and happy. I said not often. Then I felt even worse. Like its my fault that I am not happy. Wonder how happy they would be with my circumstances.

Like you, I have had insomnia my whole life. The other day my mother told me to just give in and take drugs because I will never be able to sleep naturally. Nice huh. She said I've always had trouble relaxing and sleeping and always will. I sure have a great support network. I am so thankful for you guys. You understand. Thank you so much for taking the time to write what you did Pacey. It did make me feel better and not alone.

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Kathi,

 

You are definitely not an oversensitive baby.  If you think about it you are much stronger than they are dealing with all you have to deal with.

 

And you are exactly right - they don't know if you will be fine.  I can understand why it bothers you because it is somewhat patronizing.  I don't mean to criticize yours friends but my opinion is they need to be a little more sensitive.  And you right again when you said you wonder how happy they would be in your circumstances. I wish you happy days but it isn't your fault if you don't have them. 

 

I really think health issues including insomnia makes everything harder to deal with. And really when you think about it it's ok to have issues. That's just the way it is and I think they could have been a little more sympathetic.  If the situation was reversed I'm sure you wouldn't have said the things they did.

 

I'm sorry you're not getting support because that makes it even harder.  I think you should be proud of yourself for what you are trying to do.  I hope you can give yourself a lot of credit for your efforts.

 

I'm glad your feeling better and that you don't feel so alone.

 

Again I hope you sleep tonight.

 

Pacey 

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Thanks so much Pacey. I really appreciate your support and understanding. You really do understand! I'm a little scared about tonite. I don't want to take unisom again and it didn't work well the last 2 nites anyway. I am afraid to take the melatonin since it made me nauseous and woozy the last 2 times I took it. I don't have any oat straw tea so I'll try the nighty nighty tea tonite and tryptophan and hope for the best. I'm really tired. Hope we all sleep tonite.

Thanks again.

Kathi

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Good morning Pacey. I didn't sleep well. I am afraid the melatonin was giving me nausea and wooziness so I didn't take it. I didn't want to use the unisom 3 nites in a row so I just did and epsom salts bath and nighty night tea. I did finally go to sleep. Don't know what time but I was awake every hour. It was not a restful sleep. So now I don't know what to do for help. Can't use unisom and benadryl every nite and the unisom didn't even work at my friend's house. If you use it too much it doesn't work well.

I think I will try tryptophan tonite. Oh, I'm going to a support group from church tonite at 7 so maybe I'll take unisom since I'll be home late. Almost forgot about that. It is the first meeting tonite.

I'm going to the health food store to get the plant based melatonin in a lower dose and will see if I can use that. Maybe the woman can muscle test me on it. I'm just afraid the lower dose won't work. It didn't before. I just know I still need help to sleep. The tea has passionflower, hops and skullcap which target the same gaba receptors as the benzos so that may impede healing. This is so difficult!!!! So far I don't feel horrible today and I have no idea how much sleep I got.

I think you and I are the worst with insomnia. Others may get less sleep, but we are more chronic insomniacs. We are also of an age...makes it harder to sleep. Then there are my 2 college girlfriends who are really good sleepers. So unfair. When you don't sleep it's hard to be positive, fun and happy.

Thanks for being there.

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Kathi,

 

Sorry you didn't sleep well last night but sounds like you have a plan for tonight and am glad you don't feel horrible today.

 

I agree chronic insomnia is no fun and when you are tired it is hard to be positive but I try to make that a goal each day.  Doesn't always work but I think it's worth trying.

 

Also I think going to a support group is a good idea.  Let me know how that goes.

 

Pacey

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Hi Kathi!

 

I felt so bad when I read your post. I do know how you feel. Insomnia pretty much takes over your thoughts and ruins your life to an extent. I get so jealous of my husband who can fall asleep outside in the snow during a rock concert if he wanted to.  >:D I understand also about the "sleep requirements". If conditions are perfect we can't even attempt to sleep. That's how I feel.

 

Just think though...at least when you ARE sleeping FINALLY you don't have a screaming baby waking you up! :-[ It's been so hard. I love her so much but I am so tired. She is just not sleeping well. It makes me feel like a bad mom---like I'm doing something wrong.  I hear all these other moms talking about how their babies slept 12 hours at 3 months old and here my baby is 8 months and she still gets up at night. The latest she will sleep before a bottle is 5am and that's rare. Most days we give in and feed her at 4. I don't like for her to cry a lot but after she's been up 2 or 3 times and I know she's fine I have to let her cry or she won't go back to sleep. It's awful.

 

No one understands insomnia unless they are going through it. People take sleep for granted. I know I used to. I remember a time when sleep just happened and I never thought twice about it. I wonder if I will ever get back there. I know I am slowly improving but I'm afraid its not longer a w/d issue and that I may have a hormonal issue from childbirth. It's hard to test my hormones bc I am on the pill and it gives false readings.

 

I hope you sleep better tonight.

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Thanks Jittery. I hope you sleep too. I know what you mean about wondering if its no longer withdrawal and hormonal. It scares me especially because I'm 8+mos off and still doing awful. Last nite I only did epsom salts bath and nighty night tea. I was surprised I actually did go to sleep but it was awful sleep...awake every hour. I'm sure I slept some but I have no idea how much. Now I'm starting to feel tired but I also feel wired. After being gone for a week and then for 2 days I have lots to do and feel pressured. I'm going to a support group tonite from my church at 7-9. I don't normally do anything at nite so we'll see if I can do this. I will for sure use unisom tonite bcause otherwise it will be 1am before I will get to sleep. It still may be even with unisom. I don't know why the unisom didn't work in San Diego. So frustrating.

I'm so sorry your baby isn't sleeping. that just compounds your sleep problem. Remember you are still early in withdrawal so you will get better. You already are better...just not good yet. Hang in there. When it gets too bad, take a unisom or benadryl. I'm going to try the melatonin again and hope I don't wake up feeling nauseous. I bought some melatonin cream today. maybe that will work better and won't upset my tummy. I will try a smaller amount. Gotta run. Sweet dreams.

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Kathi,

 

I’ve read through a lot of the CBT information that was sent to me and there isn’t much that’s new to us.  The way I read his plan is basically this:

 

1. Sleep restriction

2. Stress reduction during the day

3. Stress reduction at bedtime

4. Getting rid of negative thoughts

 

These things might help.

 

To get rid of negative thoughts he says we should ask ourselves the following:

 

1. Is this thought really true?

2. Am I overemphasizing a negative aspect of this situation?

3. What is the worst thing that could happen?

4. Is there anything that might be positive about this situation?

5. Am I catastrophizing, "awfulizing", jumping to conclusions, and assuming a negative outcome?

6. How do I know this situation will turn out this way?

7. Is there another way to look at this situation?

8. What difference will this make next week, month, or year?

9. If I had one month to live, how important would this be?

10. Am I using words like "never", "always", "worst", "terrible", or "horrible" to describe the situation?

 

Relaxation Techniques:

 

1. Relax muscles throughout your body

2. Relax your breathing pattern

3. For bedtime – direction attention from everyday thoughts by repeating one words such as:  “relax” or “sleep” over and over

 

There are some interesting things but I don’t think there are things to help us – according to him:

 

1. 50% of adults say they have insomnia

2. An adult only needs 7 hours of sleep a night

3. He differs from Ashton – Ashton thinks it’s ok to take tricyclic ADs but not Z drugs – he thinks it’s better to take Z drugs than tricyclic Ads (eventually he says you should be off all meds using CBT)

4. Most cases of insomnia are due to learned thoughts not mental health issues

5. You can break up your sleep and it’s not a problem (it is for me)

 

As I keep reading if there is anything of interest I will post it.

 

How have you been doing?

 

Pacey

 

 

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Thanks so much Pacey. That is good information but I think we do already know most of that. Do we apply it everyday? Probably not always. In my case right now I am not particularly worrying or stressing. It is just that the sleepy feeling doesn't come on its own. I'm calm but the sleep switch just doesn't flip. At 8mos I don't know if I am still in withdrawal but guess I must be at least a bit.

I went to a meeting last nite for a new support group forming this my church and only 3 people showed up. Don't know if it is going to work. Both women were in their 30's. Didn't get home till 9:15 so I took a unisom. Slept ok but woke at 4,6 and 8am. Seemed to sleep deeper in the early morning hours and still struggled to get to sleep.

Going to friends for dinner tonite so may have to do unisom again if we get home after 9.

I really appreciate the information. Is it helping you at all yet?

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Kathi,

 

What really helps me the most is when I wake up in the middle of the night to not let my mind start to think about things.  So repeating a word - I usually use "sleep" over and over slowly and calmly really helps me get back to sleep.  So does concentrating on my breathing, slowing it down until I feel calm and peaceful.  But I was doing both these things before I started the Workshop.  I will continue it and continue reading the information he sent but as I said most of it I already knew.  Some of the articles are interesting but they are more about sleep rather than how to get sleep.

 

I'm not doing the sleep restriction and that is a big part of what his program is.  What did help me was his reminder to relax during the day.  When I thought about it I realized if we run around crazy during the day getting things done or getting upset over small things it probably effects our sleep.  So I am keeping a watchful eye on myself in terms of those two things.

 

So I guess overall I feel there is some benefit to taking the Workshop. 

 

I know sometimes it takes a while for groups to get going.  Is another one planned or did you decide not to meet again?

 

Pacey

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Hi Pacey. I think that is really right about relaxing during the day. I am using always rushing here and there and hyper so I will remember to work on that.

I also like the idea of using a word or mantra when you wake up. Puts the focus on the word rather than worries.

As far as the group, I will go next time and buy the book they will use. I'll be out of town the following week at our timeshare again. So I'll go 3 times at least and hope for the best.

I'm so tired I'm going to go lie down. Dinner with friends tonite.

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Kathi,

 

Have a good time at your timeshare and dinner with your friends.

 

Please let us know about the group's book if you think it will be useful to us.  I hope the group works out - another support system is always good.

 

Pacey

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Hi Kathi,

I can relate to your trip to SD.  I'm going on a girl's trip in 2 weeks to New Orleans with 3 other friends.  I was sleeping pretty good back in July, then all of a sudden in August, I was struck with insomnia again.  It's mostly due to major work stress and hormone imbalance. The Dr. gave me progesterone cream, I'm doing acupuncture, and going to a CBT in hopes to beat this insomnia.

 

Anyways, one friend knows of my trouble sleeping, but the other 2 don't.  We are going to book our hotel this week and I'm going to have to tell them I will pay for my own room (we were going to share a room to cut costs), but I still can't sleep anyone or if there's any noise.  Other people falling asleep at the drop of a hat just makes me frustrated. I'm sorry some of your friends made you feel bad - I fear I may get the same thing - I know they don't understand what we are going through, and to them, I think they don't mean to mean to put us down, but they just don't understand until they walk in our shoes. 

 

I'll let you know how the trip goes.  I hope they can be respectful of my situation.    :-[

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Good luck determined. I did have a great time...until it was time for bed. My one friend asked me if I ever felt good. It was a tough question. The answer is not very often. When you don't sleep you just feel crummy. My friends not only don't get it, they don't seem very sympathetic. I think they think I am neurotic or something and I have so many issues...sleep being the biggest. I also have the new discomfort of following too closely on the freeway and I am careful about what I eat. Guess I'm a pain to them.

I am sure you will have fun but I think getting your own room is a great idea. That way you can control your environment. I'd take benadryl or unisom just in case and some sleep/relaxing cds. You'll probably be up later than normal. Have fun and if you don't sleep, you can catch up at home.

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Kathi,

I decided to cancel my trip.  I was very bummed, but I had to.  The hotels in New Orleans go for around $200 a night!  I gave in decided to book a room with the 3 other girls b/c it was so expensive.  ...but when it came down to it, I cancelled my trip 5 days before.  My sleep is still a hit or miss and I knew that we were making this a "Vegas-like" trip where we would be drinking and staying out late.  I don't sleep well at all when I drink, so I just ended up cancelling the whole trip.  I got pretty bad anxiety as the trip got closer.  I wish I had gone, but I think it was better I stay.  3 nights and 4 days of drinking and staying out late --I can't do that anymore.  They're all a little younger than me and they don't have demanding jobs like I do.  Maybe next time.

 

Just thought I'd write.  Thanks for listening.  Have a great week :)

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Hi determined. I think you made the right decision. It's hard to forego fun events but when you have sleep problems like we do, it is just too hard. Sorry about the trip but you will have more fun when you are feeling better. Believe me it is really hard being with others who feel fine when you don't.
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