Insomnia and other sleep disorders
That feeling when you’re tired all day, you lie down to finally get some rest and you’re suddenly wide awake. Hypersomnia, parasomnia, insomnia, why does sleep have to be so complicated? Some days you want your brain to shut off and it fully agrees with you until the second it’s time to do just that. Unfortunately in life there are no easy answers, as much as we wish their were.
So what’s with all the -somnia anyway?
Well for those not in the know, lucky you. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, or at least not be able to fall asleep easily. Parasomnia is restless sleep, sleep talking is a good example. Now hypersomnia, that’s a fun one. When you hear the prefix hyper, feel free to think overdrive, now if the suffix -somnia means sleep, you basically have a simple definition. Always fucking tired.
Now me, I get to enjoy a combination of the three. To be fair, parasomnia isn’t so much of an issue these days. Thankfully, I can enjoy the full extent of my nightmares without having to wake up or thrash about most of the time… thankfully…? I still deal with it from time to time and on occasion I’ve had sleep paralysis to deal with, which sucks.
Hypersomnia is a fun one because it means I’m tired all the fucking time. I’m sure to a certain degree we all are, especially now that we’re on year 2104 of the pandemic, the world is burning, people are dying, other people don’t give a shit, and time ultimately has no meaning anymore.
Hypersomnia is the reason why in the course of a single day I will single handedly consume enough caffeine to cause an elephants heart to explode. Oh and fun fact, more often than not I’ll still feel that pressure to sleep even though I’m shaking like I’m going through withdrawls. Brains are fun kids. Unfortunately there’s not a lot I can do with it and doctors like to blame the PTSD, depression, other xxx mental health condition, it’s my sleep, it’s due to my TBI, it’s bad sleep hygiene, it’s always the fault of something else and not a stand alone issue.
Then after a long hard day of trying to stay awake long enough it’s finally time to climb into bed, wind down and go to sleep. Except now I’m awake. Yeah that’s a fun one too. My insomnia isn’t as consistent as my hypersomnia. You would think it’s all the caffeine, but I have routinely tried no caffeine days, weeks, etc and then I just get to suffer fully on both ends and that’s not fun. Caffeine has never really done much for me in terms of “waking me up” and it turns out it doesn’t do much to keep me awake when it’s time to sleep, my brain can (and does) do that all on it’s own.
If I had to choose I would take insomnia over hypersomnia any day, unfortunately I don’t get a choice in the matter. Is this just me complaining about my health issues? Probably, but hey it’s my blog I can complain about the struggles of life while I try to get my PhD. The crappy part about the whole ordeal isn’t even so much that I can’t get doctors to take me seriously, or to give me the help I need. The extra crappy part is that I found relief… once.
For about a year or so I was regularly medicated with something that helped. Looking back it was the first, and so far only, time in my life where I felt remotely normal. After a lot of back and forth with the only good psychiatrists, before she went to private practice (because of course she would working for the VA), she… I wouldn’t say forced, but pushed other doctors to prescribe me modafinil. With the new prescription came a new doctor since she couldn’t prescribe it directly, a new doctor who I hated, but that’s besides the point. This was a golden year for me, for once a medication did what it claimed.
Like I said, I felt more normal than I had my entire life. It didn’t just help me not feel tired, it literally helped my depression more than any of the antidepressants I’ve taken too. Weird, but true and after I was taken off I researched it because I didn’t notice the change until after the fact. Turns out I’m not the only one who noticed and there are some studies showing this effect with hard to treat depression like mine.
Then between a few moves, other new doctors, and apparently missing an appointment (which I found out about years, with an s, after the fact) my medication was abruptly no longer being refilled despite the requests and no one bothered to explain to me why. Like I said, I am not a fan of that doctor or the clinic I had to go to for that prescription.
Since then I’ve been struggling (see: begging) to find a doctor to just give me the medication that gave me so much relief. Ironically it’s non-addictive, gave me zero side effects, and you can’t abuse it or get high from it, or anything weird, but super hard to get prescribed. What the problem is, I have no idea, but I think part of the issue is it’s taboo for patients to request medicines specifically. Thus my pleas are often answered with sturn frowns. It’s sad to have something that so completely fixed this major issue in my life taken away without any real thought, but here we are.
Oh and today’s post is brought to you by the fact that I got like three hours of sleep last night. Which you would think would make the hypersomnia worse, but strangely it’s always at a pretty constant level. It does make concentrating harder and waking up tomorrow will suck, but thankfully it’s the weekend so I’ll have the day to recover. It’s nights like last night that make me thankful that I don’t work a normal job. I still have work to do mind you, but I can at least have the morning to get myself in a position to do some work.
I share my story because, well, I’m hoping that by making enough noise maybe someone in a position to do something will realize that sometimes the -somina is the cause of the problem, not a symptom. It can be its own standalone condition without needing something specific to cause it. Brains are like that sometimes, people are squishy and forcing everything into a nice little defined box just doesn’t work.