Fighting Through a Night of Painsomnia


I have had a good day. My pain levels allowed me to do some basic housework. To clean out my gerbils and my hamster. Enjoy a trip to the cinema and dinner with two friends, and feel good. I wish that pain level could have lasted. There was no warning that tonight would come. None of the usual signs that I would be made to pay.

It’s 1:15 a.m.: the chronic pain is causing me to lie here in the dark. I have to be up at 8 a.m. I haven’t really gotten more than four hours’ sleep in forever. Usually not more than three of those are consecutive. This is a life I know is familiar to so many of my friends. We survive on so little sleep but we manage to put a smile on our faces day in day out for our loved ones and the outside world because we don’t want you to see us in pain. And because if we fake it we know we can make it. There isn’t any pain relief I can currently take that does more than take the edge off. And even then I’m limited with what I can take. Limited by a body that metabolizes medication too quickly. Limited by a genetic disposition to addiction. Limited by the fact my GP isn’t allowed to prescribe me one of two things that aren’t addictive and could be the answer for me.

It’s 1:20 a.m. and I’ve had to sit up because I can’t keep lying down. The pain has moved from my back to my hips, and my thighs were already burning so I have a solid wall of pain now. Do I sit here in the dark or take blankets and a pillow into the lounge? Maybe I will drift off on the couch and doze for a while. Lying down isn’t working.

It’s 1:40 a.m. and I’ve made it into the living room with my favorite soft blankets, my stuffed bunny rabbit and my pillow and phone. My living room is next to my bedroom. I live in a one-bedroom flat. I try to keep my bedroom free of tech except my phone (for emergencies, audiobooks and my alarm) because it reduces my blue screen time and helps me calm my mind. But just the movement here into the living room has left me in pain. I’m grateful I left a bottle of my favorite naturally flavored sparkling water by my spot on the couch because it’s not like I’m able to get up and make herbal tea right now.

It’s 1:50 a.m. and I’ve got Netflix running so I can watch a favorite show and some films. If I doze off my phone is on the living room charger and the alarm is still set. My gerbils and hamster are watching me with sad eyes. They can see my pain just by watching me. My tiny two-seater couch is more comfortable than the bed was, at least for now anyway.

Tomorrow morning I’ll do everything I need to do with a smile on my face. Even if my sleep tonight totals zero. Because that’s what I do. Tomorrow afternoon once I’m home again, I’ll crawl back into bed once the morning’s caffeine and false smile have worn off, and curl up for an hour or two. And tomorrow night we will see if I repeat it all again.

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Getty Image by KatarzynaBialasiewicz


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