My Phone Isn't Stealing My Sleep – My Chronic Condition Is


Everyone who has missed a night of sleep has probably been told that their phone is to blame, and some of the time that is the case. But for some people, sleep just never comes. If you’re anything like me, getting anything less than eight hours of sleep will make you incredibly irritable. So please, when I snap, don’t take it personally. I’m probably in too much pain to socialize, and frankly, I’m too tired for your judgement. Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain.

I’ve recently found myself getting less than four hours of sleep a night and every day I have people lecturing me on drinking too much coffee, or on spending the night texting. This is incredibly frustrating because odds are, I’m drinking coffee because I didn’t sleep and I need it to help me function at a basic layer, and on the occasion that I am online at 3 in the morning, it’s not because I’m just avoiding sleep. It’s because I’ve spent hours with my eyes shut and I’ve given up trying, or I feel like my joints are on fire and that ants are eating away at them. How could any one sleep through that?

So please, trust me when I say I couldn’t sleep. I’d much rather be asleep than lying awake. When I say I didn’t sleep, many assume, “She’s 17. She was probably just talking to boys all night.” I wasn’t. It’s a Saturday night and I was in bed by 8. I should be out at the cinema, at or party or just being a kid. But pain stole that from me. Pain stole my sleep, my happiness and my life.

Pain is even ruining my friendships. I got into an argument with my friend yesterday because according to him, I’m not trying to sleep. If I really wanted to sleep, I would’ve been able to. This hurts me and I just wanted to cry. I am trying, and for some one to tell me I caused this to myself – it was like a punch in the face. He told me if I didn’t drink so much coffee, I’d be able to sleep. But, I only drink two cups a day and never after 3 p.m. He then told me it was because I was on my phone. It eventually turned into him telling me that the reason I was in pain was because I hadn’t slept and that the pain was psychosomatic, caused by sleep deprivation. This doesn’t sound like such a bad argument, but I get this kind of thing everyday. I was never told that my chronic pain would cause all my friends to become medical experts with the right to cause me even more grief. Apparently me not taking their advice is belittling because they’re “just trying to help.” Their “help” gets to me more and more. Can people not understand that I don’t want this?

I want a full day in school, I want to be able to hold a meal down, to go shopping in town. I want my freedom and I want the old me back. So please, when someone with a chronic illness says they couldn’t sleep, couldn’t come into school or couldn’t hang out – please just take their word for it. Don’t make them feel like a bad person for being ill because we didn’t choose this.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: KatarzynaBialasiewicz


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

Man walks away from a woman on the beach.

When My Date Questions If I'm 'Enough' for Him Because of My Condition

When I tell you I am enough for you – believe me. Dating as a person with a chronic acute disease was a challenge. Dating as a person with several autoimmune diseases combined with that chronic acute disease should stop me in my tracks. It used to. I shut myself off from dating for four [...]

What Sleeping Is Like When You Have a Chronic Health Condition

What sleeping is like for people with chronic conditions and what healthy people don’t understand about them. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_zUcnLS3a_F962XJnx_div').setup( {"playlist":"https:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/zUcnLS3a.json","ph":2} ); Read the full version of What Sleeping Is Like When You Have a Chronic Health Condition. Read the full transcript: What Sleeping Is Like When You Have a Chronic Health Condition For people battling [...]
woman holding open the blinds to let the sun in

7 Ways to Stay Hopeful During Tough Times With Chronic Illness

I read stories on The Mighty and I am amazed by how much hope and resilience people have. Especially those of you who have severe pain as part of your illness. Your inner strength is awesome. The human spirit’s strength in the face of adversity is very evident. Living with chronic illness rarely brings respite. Oh, [...]
woman drinking a smoothie

5 Comments on Food Choices That Can Be Hurtful to Those With Illness

Oftentimes people don’t realize that food choices sometimes aren’t “choices” at all. They are often what works in the moment for a person with chronic illness. I would like to share five things not to say to someone with a chronic illness about food and eating. Everyone is on a different journey. For some food [...]