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A Letter to Myself, When Getting Up After a Night of Painsomnia Feels Impossible

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Good morning,

I know it doesn’t feel like it can be morning. Yet you’ve already been up for hours in too much pain to fall back asleep.

I know that yesterday was a hard day. The pain and fatigue caught up to you, and it was terrifying how quickly you went from pretending to be OK to being in bed unable to move. And that’s OK. It was scary and painful but it happened, and that’s OK.

I know that today you woke up after only a couple hours of restless sleep feeling worse than yesterday. And I know that’s a terrifying feeling. If it ended so badly yesterday, how can you even think of starting today feeling worse?

But today is still a new day. Even though your body feels like it’s breaking and you can barely think because you’re so dizzy with exhaustion, you need to try. It’s time to get out of bed. It’s not relaxing anymore if you’re just laying here in pain.

Take a shower, even though standing feels impossible. There’s a chance it might take away some of the aching in your joints, and if it helps at all that will make it worth it. If it doesn’t, at least you will be clean and on your way to starting the day.

Then, eat some food. It doesn’t have to be the perfect French toast or scrambled eggs, but eat something. Even though the thought of food is disgusting and you don’t believe you can keep anything down, you need to try. Once you eat something, you can take your many medications, which might be enough to make this pain easier to tolerate.

You might not feel better today, I’m sorry. This probably won’t be fun. Every second might be an impossible fight. But you need to keep fighting because there might be a day, one day, when you wake up and you don’t feel exhausted from a sleepless night of pain. You need to keep fighting by doing the little things — by taking care of yourself, eating, and resting.

Today, this feels impossible. But it won’t always. And just because it’s impossible, doesn’t mean that there won’t be parts of today that are worth it. Maybe yesterday you feel like you failed yourself and everyone else by crashing at the most inconvenient time, but that might not happen today. And if it does, it will be OK. You will survive, and it will be OK.

It’s hard to believe that every day is a new day when you wake up with the same pain and exhaustion only magnified by a night of painsomnia. But it is. Even if you don’t feel different, the world could change. That friend you’ve been hoping to talk to forever could finally answer your phone call. The medication you’ve taken for months could start to work. Someone in your family might have the best day of their lives, and you can be part of their memory.

It’s time to get up. It’s time to start today. You can do this. I believe in you. Stay strong today.

Originally published: September 8, 2018
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