That’s Insomnia!

Can’t sleep? Me too!

When you have insomnia, how often do you hear people say this? What they’re usually refering to is the odd sleepless night. It belittles what is a serious problem. I can confidently say I have prolonged bouts of sleeplessness, but I would not apply the label of insomniac. Take tonight, it’s gone midnight and I’ve been up since 6:45am. Despite several attempts at a nap this afternoon, a glass of red wine this evening,  relaxing music playing for the last hour, I’m still awake.
But I don’t have insomnia. I can’t sleep tonight, is all.
No sleep for months? That’s Insomnia
Insomnia is truly horrible. The consistent issue of not being able to get rest, to find hour after hour, every day you cannot sleep…it’s truly a waking nightmare.
Because insomnia and sleep disorders seem to go hand in hand with mental health issues, the treatment often seems to briefly focus on sleeping tablets as a short term fix while they look at the mental problem.
But there’s a snag here. Insomnia is also a mental health issue! It can even cause other mental health problems like depression and anxiety!  Treating one part without treating the other is like only taking out half a tumour… the likelihood is it’s going to come back.
The issue isn’t helped when sleeplessness is confused with insomnia.  I’m sleepless tonight. I’m struggling because I’m grieving, I’ve had 2 fairly serious anxiety attacks today, it’s to be expected.
But this is not insomnia. I could take a couple of Kalms and I’d probably go quite quickly. I can’t because I’ve had a glass of wine. Most nights I go out like a light. But even when I had to fill in my mental health assessment with the doctor, she still suggested sleeping tablets. They aren’t the be all and end all! If you read or listen to Luce’s interview you’ll see what I mean. I know I haven’t been able to sleep lately, but that’s because of what is going with my family at the moment. But even on the nights like tonight, I can pop Disney’s Robin Hood on and I’ll be out before long.
What is it then?
This is not true insomnia. When night after night for weeks, months on end go by with little to no sleep, that’s insomnia. When the sleeping tablets don’t make a dent, that’s insomnia. When you’re still staring at the ceiling when you’ve had zopiclone, that’s insomnia. Alex has insomnia. If you read My Sleepless Battle you’ll see the difference.
It needs treating properly. We need to stop confusing sleeplessness with insomnia. We need to look at it as part of the whole. Yes, depression and insomnia often go hand in hand, but treatment needs to be more than just the band-aid of sleeping tablets.

So to all of you insomniacs out there, I’m not saying me too. I’m not going to make a billion suggestions that help me sleep, because I know they won’t help. I just wish you to rest as best you can. X

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

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