Work, Sleep, and Moral Quandaries

Last week I was supposed to be on vacation. I didn’t actual drive around like a normal week, but I did handle a lot of work related crap each day. I have a number of bad hard problems created by my employer that put me in ethical quandaries that are simply trumped by my financial reality. This makes me sick. I feel like I am selling my soul, but in this economy I don’t feel like I have much choice. The mortgage is due the first of every month and my child meets me at the door each night ready for dinner. The bank man needs to get paid and the boy needs to eat. It is no more complicated than that. Except it is. Much more. “Golden handcuffs” was the term used to describe my circumstances. If only. If they were made of gold I would not be transferring money from savings each month to pay my bills. More like copper or tin handcuffs. Just enough value to keep me off the street. Continue reading

Robert Frost I Am Not

A week or so ago I published that long string of loosely connected thoughts describing my own version of anxiety plagued insomnia. I said I was going to use it as a brainstorming platform to put together a real poem. I had been looking into poetry formats trying to understand things like rhythm and meter, and thought it might be interesting and challenging to try and write poetry that followed some set structure. I have to admit I only marginally understood what I was reading, and began to get really lost on the stressed syllable stuff. I know it’s not all that hard, but I have trouble reading about it. If I could actually hear it conversation I have no doubt it would be clear to me. I said I would share the poem here when it was done. Over the last week I have come to understand that it will never be done so I will share in today’s form. Continue reading

Things That Go Bump In The Night

I had the strangest thing happen to me last night. I had had a rough day feeling slightly off and on the edge of an anxiety attack most of the day. I have been generally doing fairly well, and this was the worst I had felt in weeks. I couldn’t put my finger on the source, but was definitely teetering on the edge. With the insomnia problems I have been having I knew that bedtime was going to be a problem. I was up late watching the VP debate and some of the analysis after making it 11:30 before the light was out. Getting to bed late often contributes to the insomnia battle, but I settled in hoping for the best. Continue reading

Credit Jason Zuckerman

Insomnia Stream of Consciousness

I have seen others do this and have always found it interesting. Saturday night I was again thrust into the misery of insomnia. It didn’t last as long as those endless nights in July, but it was accompanied by repeated cyclic anxiety attacks. It was uncomfortable and I found myself wishing I could find a way to explain what it felt like. I began to narrate a stream of consciousness in my head, and the following day I sat down to capture the feelings and sensations of a restless night.

What follows is grammatical gibberish. Is it free form poetry? I have used this as a baseline to begin writing an actual poem. I have never written a poem with actual rhythm or meter. I thought I would give it a try. If it actually gets finished I will share it here if folks promise to be gentle. So here it is, a collage of thought and feeling… Continue reading

Breaking The Cycle

Disclaimer – I have said in the past that I have limited time to write in the summer. This was written in a small window of opportunity during which my 3 year old repeatedly got up from his nap and interrupted my train of thought. If I tried to proof it thoroughly it would never have been posted, Please forgive the typos, misspellings, and odd sounding sentences that are undoubtedly everywhere.

 

When I last checked in just after the 4th of July I was still struggling mightily to get a decent night’s sleep. The Friday before this past, the 6th, I again went to bed with the knowledge that the alarm would be sounding at 4:00am which is about the same time I had been getting to sleep. The pressure of needing to sleep was the trigger that set this all off in the first place, and predictably sleep that night was not going to come easy. The stressor had been needing to get some sleep prior to getting up early to go work with my father. This work is something I both enjoy and need for additional income. I had canceled the previous two times I was supposed to get up because of the insomnia. This time I decided to take a different approach. Going into Friday night I had slept reasonable for a couple nights. I decided that no matter what happened overnight I would get up and go fishing. The day we had planned was going to be easier than normal and the weather was to be ideal. I figured if I took away the sleep requirement for going it may help.  When sleep came hard I reset the alarm for 5:00 to give myself  a little time, but held firm on my commitment to get up no matter what happened. Some time after 3:45 I drifted off and I woke again before the alarm around 4:55 and got up.

The day started grey and foggy both in my brain and on the water. The drive to the boat was pretty bad and the first

Not my photo. No credit information available.

couple hours work were equally horrible. My brain was moving slowly but I was functioning. Finally around 9:00 the sunchased the fog away and the warm rays of my skin cleared the cobwebs from my mind. The rest of the day went pretty well. That night I stayed up until 10:00 and when I hit the pillow I could not sleep. I was very very tired and as we all know when you are that kind of tired the little voices in the back of your head get louder and more forceful. By 10:30 I was experiencing high anxiety and in pretty rough shape. Even my anxiety couldn’t overcome the level of fatigue I was experiencing and sometime after 11:00 I slept. It was a toss and turn kind of night, but I did sleep.

As the new week began sleep again became a more regular part of my life. Getting there was still a bit of a struggle taking an hour or two each night, I got a lot of reading done, but sleep was coming. When Friday rolled around I had a follow up visit with the shrink concerning my restart of Wellbutrin and the sleep problems. During the visit we increased the Wellbutrin dose from 150mg to 300mg, and talked about adding a drug to ensure nightly sleep. He indicated that my prolonged  use of the benzodiazepine Klonopin would likely make sleep aid such as Lunesta and Sonata ineffective. I found this an interesting observation and wished he had elaborated as to why.  In the end the conversation boiled down to two old antidepressants with sedative side effects Mirtazapine and Trazodone. I am not looking to take a lot of pills and was encouraged by the improvements to my sleep over the course of the week. The Mirtazapine was a drug I would have to take on a daily basis, but the Trazodone was something I could take an a more as needed schedule. I really wanted to see if my sleep kept improving so we decided I would take and prescription for Trazodone and use it if I needed it.

Friday night I was again facing and early alarm, and all day I was wrapped pretty tight about it. The week before I had proven that I could go fishing with no sleep so I again decided that I would gt up no matter quality of quantity of sleep I got. At bed time I could feel the anxiety in my body when we turned the light out at 10:00. By 11:00 I was no closer to sleep that when the light went out so I got up took some of the left over Buspar for the anxiety and read for almost an hour. Sleep finally came around 1:00, and I got up at 4:00 when the alarm sounded.

Yesterday we fished our biggest day of the season. I was on the water for over 11 hours in 90+ degree heat. My stomach gave me some trouble over the course of the day so I didn’t eat, but I drank about 50oz of water. I didn’t feel great, but I again functioned effectively on minimal sleep. I am hoping that by breaking the cycle of not going when I don’t sleep my brain will begin to realize that there is nothing to get all worked up over. By taking away the negative consequence (not going fishing) I hope that sleep will become less a big deal and therefore come easier on these nights. We will see what happens next week I guess. I would really like to keep those pills in the bottle.

A Better Day

I would like to tell you all that I slept like a baby last night, but I did not. I was tired and stayed up a little later than I should have watching nothing of any importance on the television. I think we were both mostly just putting off what has quickly come to feel like the inevitable pain of another sleepless night. I was feeling sleepy enough when we did turn out the light around 11:00 that I figured I would try sleeping without the prescribed pills that had done so very little the first night.

I don’t really recall much after the light went out, but I woke up around 1:15 and I remember thinking to myself “Christ it’s been two hours and I’m still awake”. I immediately decided to pop a pill, but as I walked to the bathroom I began to realize that I may have been asleep. I took the pill anyway and returned to bed. The next thing I know its 3:15 and I have definitely been asleep, but I need to use the bathroom. I returned to bed and slept through to 6:00. As the day winds down I am again feeling pretty tired, but it was nice for awhile today to feel human again. The sun was shining and I actually felt pretty good for a significant portion of the day.

A few days ago I mentioned that I had made the call about getting another prescription for Wellbutrin. Last Friday the prescription was filled and took the first dose. It has been seven days now and the stuff should be just about starting to take hold. It will probably be another week or so before it is at full strength, but maybe some of the lifting today has to do with the medication. Wellbutrin has never helped with insomnia in the past, but I have never had Insomnia like this in the past so maybe it will get better. The pills prescribed for sleep were actually clonodine which is a blood pressure medication rather than sleeping pills. Apparently is has a relaxing sedative effect without all the baggage that comes along with actual sleeping pills. After my recent experience with Klonopin I was relieved that they were “light weight” sleep aids, but of course they weren’t the most effective solution either. In the light of the day at this moment I am again hopeful that things are improving. I felt so good for a short period of time, and my fingers are crossed that I can get back there and maintain that place.