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A Glimpse Into My Nightly Battle With Insomnia

I’ve had insomnia on-and-off since I was a teenager. It is a side effect of other mental illnesses, but has only recently become a problem in and of itself. At first, I thought my insomnia was simply because of my sleep schedule. I was in online school, so there was no need to wake up early or have a schedule. I would go to bed at 4:00 a.m., wake up at 2:00 p.m., and do it all over again. Eventually, college taught me to change that and things got easier. However, a year later, things started back up again. I’d find myself going to bed later and later each night. I started taking an over-the-counter sleeping pill, which helped for a week or two before my body realized I was tricking it and I was back to my 4:00 a.m. schedule.

In the last six months, my insomnia has grown from a mild annoyance to a major problem. I find myself staying up late only because I fear sleeping. On the nights I can fall asleep, nightmares plague me on a nightly basis. I wake up feeling more anxious and depressed each day, dreaming of the death of loved ones, infidelity, cemeteries, abandonment and monsters chasing me. If I don’t fall asleep, these thoughts become waking nightmares. My ears ring with whispers from the hallway and my eyes deceive me, showing images of warping shadows and twisted faces in the corner of my room. I leave all the lights on and somehow, my mind still finds a way to fool me. Eventually, I stopped sleeping all together.

Insomnia has become a difficult part of my life, but I have begun medication. Trazodone helps me sleep, but I have more intense nightmares and wake up groggy. Ambien makes me hallucinate and doesn’t help me stay asleep, and the controlled-release version makes me unable to fall asleep all together. Paranoia takes over and suddenly a safe home becomes a battleground for thieves and creatures of the night. But I keep trying new methods to ease my insomnia.

Despite these terrors, I refuse to give up. If I continue trying new methods of solace, eventually one is bound to work. Remaining optimistic about ourselves is the only way to continue living. We must fight back.

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Thinkstock photo via OcusFocus.