Tuesday, 5 April 2016

I Can't Get No Sleep

I can't remember the last time I felt like I had a decent night sleep. Where I woke up feeling refreshed and energised. I imagine most people probably feel this way too.

This year I spoke out and got help for depression and anxiety after struggling for an incredibly long time. Since January I have been taking 20mg of Citalopram. I spoke to people who I knew had taken it, and other antidepressants, I read the leaflet a million and one times and, I researched a lot about how it helped others and what side effects they had from it. Sleeping difficulty is one of the most common side effects with the drug. My doctor advised that side effects take 2-6 weeks to subside. I had a few others as well but sleep was my biggest problem. It was right from day 1. Usually I would fall asleep between midnight and 1am - about 2-3 hours after trying to go to sleep. Sometimes later.

The first day of medication, I remember getting in to bed, exhausted and drained, and then lying there completely wide awake. I didn't feel tired in the slightest. I was getting so frustrated and pretty soon it was 3am and I was just laid there still waiting to feel tired and able to sleep. I must have dosed off for a couple of hours but then my alarm went off at 7am. I didn't feel tired when I was up. I got dressed and went to work and then it hit me like a freight train come 10am. It's like when your hangover suddenly hits half way through the day. I struggled through until 5pm when I could go home. At night  I went to go to bed and again, wide awake and not tired in the slightest. After a couple of nights I ended up just watching Netflix to try and make me sleepy. I was seeing 3/4am every single night (I powered through Brooklyn Nine Nine pretty quickly though...)

I mentioned this was happening to my doctor when I had a check up and again she advised that side effects can last up to 6 weeks so I should give it that long to see if it subsides. I finished work at the end of January and I thought maybe my sleep would be better then but it lasted through February. It started to get a little better by the end of February and into March - I was falling asleep between 1-2am. I had another doctors appointment towards the end of March. I told her that I was still struggling and even though it has got slightly better, it's still not ideal and I'm stressing about not sleeping. She suggested sleeping pills. She prescribed my 10 days worth, and I was a little scared about them.

Again, I researched a lot and asked people if they'd tried them and if they worked. Most things I had read said that around 20 minutes after taking they felt sleepy enough to go to sleep.
Yeah... not me! I definitely felt sleepier but I was still awake an hour and a half after taking it. BUT I got to sleep before midnight. I had the same experience the following two nights and then the Friday was Good Friday. I had a really good, chilled day and I thought, as it was bank holiday and I had nothing to get up for, that I wouldn't take any pills that night.
I had the most restless night ever.
Usually once I'm asleep, I stay asleep. It's just the getting to sleep I have an issue with. Once I finally got to sleep I woke every hour or so and when I woke up in the morning, it felt like I'd been punched in the face.
So, I took the rest of the pills at 10pm each night. Again, it took me about an hour and a half and I was asleep by midnight each night.

Then I finished the pills. (Side note: You shouldn't take sleeping pills for more than 2 weeks as they can be addictive.)
Last night was my first night without the pills in a week and again, it was pretty restless. I tried to keep the same routine - settling down at 10pm - but I was awake until after 1am. I woke up a few times in the night as well. When my alarm went off I didn't feel as bad as the first time I didn't take one, but I felt pretty exhausted.
I also found with the pills that whilst I was managing to sleep for 8 or so hours, I didn't feel rested at all. So now I feel like I'm back to square one.

I've tried calming/anxiety apps, I listen to music until I feel sleepy, I've read books, had baths... I feel like I've done everything that people suggest to get to sleep but to no avail. So if you have any tips or experience, please let me know.

I'm tired of being tired.

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