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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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    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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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    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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    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

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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

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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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    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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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    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!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    I've been signed off now for 6 weeks, and I don't know when I'll be ready to go back.
    Severe lack of sleep is leaving me unable to function properly, can't get up at the right time, can't sleep at right time, can't think clearly or even stop crying some days.
    I wish I had a broken leg so I had something to show people because I don't think people really understand how debilitating this really is.
    I feel like I should just be getting on with things, but I can't.
    Even the boyfriend is starting to get fed up with comments like 'we need to get this sorted'.....well duh, if I could sort it, then I would!
    Feel like the gp doesn't care, he prescribed zoplicone which didn't work so next stop was antidepressants which I haven't taken yet as I don't think that's the answer, but not sure what to ask of my gp, I have private healthcare also, but again I'm not sure what to ask for?
    Tried kinesiology, hypnosis and nlp but no joy yet, but desperately need to do something as I'm starting to lose the will to carry on this endless battle.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Oh my gosh Hurricane you sound a mirror image of me when I started the program in January!
    I had tried everything
    Pills were no longer working and my only option for sleep was antidepressants and I didn't want to go that route
    I felt so despondent and desperate :(

    You are so wise to be taking this time off to totally immerse yourself into Sleepio
    You are getting ready to begin week 3 and that is very tough…
    It will take everything you have

    I have had great success with the program
    Am finally sleeping 6 hrs a night and no pills!
    I'm hoping to still reach 7 hrs in time
    It is a slow process with lots of ups and downs
    No quick fix this cognitive therapy…
    Lots of tears and anguish but when you start to see changes occurring it's so very heartening

    Read as many blogs and discussions as you can and library material
    It will help immensely
    Try very hard to stick to the rules no matter how crazy they see
    The community is excellent
    So many great people on here to share your ups and downs
    Best wishes moving forward
    I can't tell you how it's changed my life
    I really mean it

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    hurricane, 3 years ago I was signed out of work on FMLA leave due to physical issues caused by lack of sleep. I stayed on Sleepio as a greeter. I felt so much guilt being off work and I didn't want to reply to my co-workers because like you, I didn't know how to explain what was happening to where they would understand. I couldn't function anymore (not well anyway – i would pass out and my motion was off) and nothing made much sense as I was so sleep deprived. Now, I still do have sleep issues and still do take something at times (I didn't last night & slept 8 hrs – for me it is very stress related) but for 2 years I was med free (there were issues but the sleep drastically improved). I did Sleepio exactly as it was stated as I felt it was my last hope. I whined to the “community” as nobody else could really understand and they helped me through it. After 7 weeks, I was sleeping 4-6 hrs a night w/no meds. Now, this might not seem like the magical 8 – but I was on a ton of medication and sleeping about 3.5 hrs on it and sleeping not a wink for days on end w/out it. I've had insomnia since I was a little kid and the older I got, the worse it got. To where it finally became out of control and effected every aspect of my life. The night before I went back to work I was so scared and nervous, i only slept about 3.5 hrs but it was natural sleep and there is a huge difference in how you feel w/one bad night of little sleep vs back to back days of it for a prolonged period of time. Everything went ok and I slept better the next night.

    I think if i were to go back and be where I was then – looking back:

    You WILL get better!!! If I did it, you can!
    Not everyone will understand – that is NOT your problem and if you live in the US (not sure where you are) under FMLA law – you do NOT have to tell your co-workers anything – tell them you don't want to discuss it. That's it. That it is really personal. Let them think whatever they want – that is not for you to worry about. People have lots of personal medical issues that they like to keep private – you do not owe any of them an explanation. Someone who does not have chronic insomnia probably won't understand – as they will try to make it relate to their own bad nights of rest and it does not even come close. They mean well but chances are, they won't really understand what you are going through.
    do NOT feel guilty for being off – I haven't had a week off since I returned – I wish I had allowed myself to enjoy some of it.
    I broke up w/my boyfriend a few months before the program because he didn't understand and couldn't relate. However, I only dated him 6 months and we were not a good match anyway. That's another story and tons of non sleep related issues involved. I'm not telling you to break up w/your boyfriend – what I am saying is to put yourself first and do not feel bad for doing that. You need to right now.
    Depending on the cause of your insomnia, there is most likely not a magical pill to help you long-term.
    The best buy repairman just called and is on his way to fix my washer for the millionth time so I will add to this later…
    Hang in there!! it WILL work! There is no quick fix – it takes work and time but you WILL be ok!!!

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