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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.

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Thinkstock Image By: KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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