Off sick from work due to chronic insomnia

Anyone else in this situation?? How are they coping?

Posted 20 Nov 2011 at 8:44 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi, I'm in a similar situation. Lost sleep about 6 mo ago due to high stress. Was put on Seroquel 300mg which I stopped in September. After I was averaging 2-2.5 hrs of broken sleep. Tried sleep restriction for a week but could not do it. Now I am taking Trazodone 100and sometimes I have to add Ativan because Trazadon doesn't work very well. I had to take med leave and I feel desperate. Lots of anxiety about sleep. Lost interest in almost everything. Sometimes just don't want to go on. .. don't think it'll get better. ...

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi natashaB, I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. Lack of sleep has made most of us feel desperate and frustrated and miserable. I have tried many remedies over the years, including sleeping tablets which only worked for a couple of nights at a time. I'm in a bad period at the moment due to anxiety which ruins my sleep which makes me more anxious and ill-feeling. I do hope that you will manage at least some of the Sleepio techniques, even though you tried SR for a week and couldn't do it. It does take commitment and maybe now that you are on med leave you could try it again. Best of luck and may you feel better really soon. We are all behind you here.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi natashaB – so sorry you have been having a tough time – i can certainly relate to your situation, and i bet many others can too. I really identify with losing interest in everything – such a battle not to let the lack of sleep and anxiety take over your life and rob you of joy. I'm still struggling with sleep but my anxiety is improving – probably mostly due to fluoxetine but i found some yoga for anxiety and insomnia which at least makes me yawn my head off (yoga for stress relief – bodywisdommedia). Can you get some counselling (i got some via work, even tho i was off on sick leave) or onto some e.g. stress/mood management courses? My work also do the latter but it is booked up for the next year, but I'm in the uk and my GP suggested i phone LIFT for an assessment and I've now been put on a 3 session course after work, starting in a couple of weeks. Or how about a support group? I haven't actually been to one but there do seem to be some sessions in my area which I am considering. It may help to meet other people who are also valiantly battling away like you are! Also i have gotten a pile of books out of my local library about cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and though not a miracle cure i have found that tools like the thought checker on here have helped me to change the way I think about (i.e. dismiss) a few issues that were worrying me… And it feels good to be trying things that may help (magnesium supplement is next on my list!). Also i guess everyone goes through difficult times but they rarely last – and they probably help us to appreciate the good things more when we come out at the other end. Please be kind to yourself and i will keep my fingers crossed that life sends some little parcels of joy your way!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi natashaB and HelenaS,

    It is so good that we have this forum to support each other and share ideas. I took a course through work some years ago (I was fed up battling migraines and was looking for an alternative remedy). I signed up for MBSR – mindfulness based stress reduction, and I highly recommend it, if you can find such a course in your area. It is often offered through hospitals and luckily I worked in one! The course is 8 weekly sessions and it focuses on meditation but includes many other strategies to help one cope with pain or stress or whatever is the problem. The creator of this approach, Jon Kabat-Zin, author of Full Catastrophe Living, also has audio downloads that can be used at home for practice.

    I hope natashaB, that you will be able to resume SR at some point, when you feel ready to do so. It really is the key to getting one's sleep to improve. Many members do use medication while doing this course and are able to improve their sleep at the same time by following the recommendations. I also highly recommend the thought-checker for your anxiety about sleep. What Mr. Hindley posted is a testament to it's value. It really does help. Sometimes you need to use it a few times to really see it's full potential. But reality-testing our fears often helps us to realize how our minds can be our own worst enemies.

    Best of luck to you both!

    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Mr. Hindley,
    Your post is very good and I hope other members will find it very encouraging. I agree regarding the helpfulness of the thought checker and I'm so glad that it helped you too. Getting one's anxiety about sleep sorted out is really key to feeling better about one's sleep and in turn, sleeping better. Hope you are doing well now that you've completed the program!
    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    3 days in on week 3 and so far, so good. I have never fallen asleep so fast. It's such an amazing feeling. I still am waking up multiple times but seem to be able to fall back into zzzz-land. I don't want to jinx it though – tomorrow, I see my dr and already have a bit of anxiety about that, as it is on the other side of town, and I want to be alert enough to drive, but will figure out an alternative w/a bus route to relieve that anxiety.

    It is strange because my mom/grandma live a little over an hour away but I can't plan to be w/them on Thanksgiving, as I am not allowed to plan anything during my time out of work, as it contributes to the worries of getting sleep. I also am not supposed to drive much due to fatigue and therefore, increased risk of accidents (I have only drove a handful of times this month and didn't go far – just out for some groceries and to see a friend that lives nearby) and especially on days w/next to no rest.

    I am really concerned still about my job. I am supposed to go back January 5th but am wondering if they will treat me as some weirdo for going out on leave or make things tough on me or what will happen. I feel like nobody will understand as it is not like I was in a hospital or something. Still, this was a long time coming and I just basically collapsed at the end. My body simply could not take it anymore – I was so broken down in every possible way -and my friends and family were worried sick. Not that it is anyones business at work and i don't plan on advertising it (though I think the H/R director will be my enemy now).

    I also wonder if it will derail my progress w/this program and how I will keep up or do, being thrown back in that atmosphere.

    I am trying to take things one step at a time and this is still down the road at this point, but it is hard not to think about financial security of sorts.

    I started looking up jobs that seemed more along the lines of what I would like to do (work w/animals, working in a bookstore, etc) but I don't know how I would support myself w/those. My work history is all in finance – payroll, payables, general ledger. My degree is in art. I am not sure how I am going to swing this but for now, I am happy that I am beginning to feel like I might eventually be ok and the fog is starting to lift so I can think more clearly. Crossing my fingers that SR continues to go well.

    How did everyone else do this w/a demanding work schedule?

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Graduate

    Hi Chermaine, I am a graduate and it worked for me and it did work for a lot of people. I have to say it doesn't work for everyone, but joining it is a step forward and you have nothing to lose. Keeping a positive me is also very important and it's exciting to see the improvement. It's a long process and we need to stick to the rules. Good luck!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    hello creaking brain. I love your idea about twisting the negativity of insomnia to positivity. I am doing this programme for a couple of months and graduated a few weeks ago – with a lot of work still to do. but I noticed that once I started sleeping without a pill I wasn't thinking of sleep at all during the day and stayed up a bit later and read more and put suggestions in place to raise me about the problems of sleep and to approach it from the other side. it seems to be working – not tonight tho. I started some chemotherapy for liver cancer but it is not bad (second round) and will just have minor doses of a mild chemo for 12 weeks. so I am try to be positive about that as well. I like this site as I think is very good to limit those with whom you share you troubles and you achievements in personal matters. you can just go around telling everyone you meet that you cant sleep or you have cancer or whatever. I think you become labelled instantly and I hate that. Funny night – cant sleep over good cancer scan results and the obvious uplifted attitude of the very dour consultant and who cares I sleep or not for one night – this too will pass. it was my mother who told me about thinking positively about not sleeping especially if you live on your own. Sure there's no much stuff around to help us to relax, we should be asleep all the time.

    sorry for the missive but I agree that it would be a good plan to join together and see if we can created and twisted group with no negative comments allowed!

    good night

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi dozyhead. I completely agree with all that you say regarding limiting the people one shares one's sleep problems with (which is why this site is so brilliant – everyone on here understands). Also you reminded me how important it is to stay positive, so thank you for that. If you can remain positive while undergoing chemo, however mild, then you're a role model for us all! All the best.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    hi Gremlin, sure we are on the long and winding road with everything. I have read some stuff on mindfulness and am getting the hang of it – even though it is very logical. it is so easy for our sense to go awol and you know the panic attack is hovering nicely ready to wham you into outer space. Even with the cancer treatment only for work I would tell nobody as I live in a city where I grew up and have lived in all my life so news like me having cancer (for a second time) is of vital interest all over the place. I am keeping this episode low key to protect my kids as well as myself. A day at a time and I have faith which is wonderful. its just a nice connection to the world ahead and helps hugely with staying grounded. I hope you are doing well and your letter to me will keep me going for the day x

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    hi Gremlin, sure we are on the long and winding road with everything. I have read some stuff on mindfulness and am getting the hang of it – even though it is very logical. it is so easy for our sense to go awol and you know the panic attack is hovering nicely ready to wham you into outer space. Even with the cancer treatment only for work I would tell nobody as I live in a city where I grew up and have lived in all my life so news like me having cancer (for a second time) is of vital interest all over the place. I am keeping this episode low key to protect my kids as well as myself. A day at a time and I have faith which is wonderful. its just a nice connection to the world ahead and helps hugely with staying grounded. I hope you are doing well and your letter to me will keep me going for the day x

  • Sleepio Member

    • 337 comments
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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Graduate

    Hi Chermaine,

    How are you? Sorry, I wouldn't be able to help you write your sleep schedule on an IPad, I'm not very techy either!

    Please be reassured that Sleepio does help most people, myself included. It may not completely solve your sleep problems but it should certainly lessen the severity. But it will take time, particularly if you have had bad insomnia for years.

    Good luck!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 5

    Hi. I totally hear you. Ive had insomnia for 5 years now-it started after I started a very stressful job. I'm actually a doctor and working with a very high risk population-and it started with me taking home all my patients anxiety and not being able to leave work at work. Anyways, 5 years later I'm now trying sleepio after it was suggested by the sleep clinic that CBT is the only thing that will have a lasting impact. I have been on most sleeping meds, trazodone, ativan, imovane to name a few. Most of the sleep hygiene techniques i've implemented years ago but still have insomnia. I've tried acupuncture as well-helped a bit. I think what happened for me is that the chronic high stress job and anxiety just continued to build up for years and now my brain has formed certain pathways that prevent proper sleep. I have to retrain my body and mind how to sleep without sleep aids. Good luck to you, you're definitely not alone.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    I'm new to Sleepio and don't get the idea of trying to think positively about make it through the day on a few hours sleep. I've been there/done that and while I may make it through the day I'm shot for after work activities. I can feel the toll it takes on my body and it's simply not healthy. That's the reason I came to Sleepio, thinking it might help me overcome my sleep issues – not accept them! Am I missing something? Does anyone have any insight into this?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi IIaregina,
    I completely understand where you are coming from cos it does seem mad. However,what happens is that because your body needs sleep, the sleep restriction trains it to go the sleep when you go to bed. The waking up in the night episodes get less and the sleep consolidates. Then you get another 15 minutes sleep allowed. Gradually you sleep more deeply and for longer. Hope this helps, Doonies

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 3

    Thank you Doonies! What you're saying makes sense. I'd have to agree it becomes a vicious cycle when one lies awake in dread of not getting enough sleep. I can see the logic of looking at the sleep loss from a different perspective.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello llaregina, fear not! sleepio does help to shift sleep problems, it's not just a way of living with them. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would go through day after day without even thinking about how much sleep I had/didn't have the night before, I would never have believed them. It isn't an easy option, and I had become very suspicious of any easy cure, having tried several – none worked. However, although this programme does involve some hard work and a few tough weeks, it's so worth it to get your life back. Keep on going, there are challenges ahead from week three, but just keep your eyes on the horizon and try not to be dragged down by the immediate struggles.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    Thank you very much, Marie Elaine! I will try :-)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi all,

    I'm in a similar situation to many of you. I had a panic attack/ 3 nights of no sleep while working abroad on a fairly stressful event, I feel this was a big build up of stress over the course of a year although I've always had a few issues with sleep. This then developed into insomnia and anxiety. At present I am not sleeping at all without prescribed sleeping tablets which are loosing a lot of there affect. I have also had to take a lot of time off work which has been hard to accept. This has affected every area of my life but it's reassuring that there are people out there solving their own issues with sleep.

    On to the positives, I found reading inspiring books and listening to music a big plus for me. I'm currently reading Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson (this has no relation to sleep) which really put things in perspective about our day to day lives and how important it is to take time out for ourselves. I have used Sleepio for around 8 weeks but have decided to give it my all from today.

    Has anyone found useful ways to relax the anxiety and negative thoughts before bed? I find the hours before bed the worst and the physical feelings which arise, once you have had days without sleeping it really is hard to form a positive relationship with the place we are meant to enjoy being in.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    It's good you are taking this course and trying other ways to relax because the pills are not your friend. I know all about that. I needed to keep increasing the doses and then the sleep became really weird. I'm finally off the rx now. Had taken antihistamines (prescribed by doctor) to help during the weening period. Now I can't take them anymore. They may put me to sleep but I'm a zombie for 22 hours later. I am still taking one tablet I found in a health food store now. It contains chamomile, valerian, and melatonin. I want to be able to stop taking this as well, but at least I'm getting closer to being myself again. I'm certainly no doctor but just thought I'd share my story so maybe if you think about increasing your pills you may think of me and don't go there!

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