For the last 2 years I’ve been suffering with insomnia. Oh, the fun of mental health issues….I was already juggling depression, anxiety and now add a huge side helping of insomnia! You can actually forget what it feels like to sleep soundly. It becomes the new normal to lie in bed with your brain buzzing and speeding through every possible and impossible thought from the day, the week, the past, the future, the cosmos….there is an infinite amount of things to think about when your brain is operating in manic mode. Lack of sleep makes everything worse, at least in my experience but I can’t say that I know anyone who functions on all cylinders with little to no sleep….maybe in special high adrenaline situations but not long term. Anxiety puts me in a “fight or flight” mode and with no sleep I was constantly exhausted and constantly on edge. I absolutely hated my existence…I honestly thought I was going to lose my job or quit my job or just completely lose my mind.
And then I did something that changed everything……….
I bought myself a weighted blanket. A 20 pounder. It’s a twin size blanket and my bed is a double so the dogs have space to still be under the regular covers and not get squished. This thing is a game changer! The first night was super awkward because I spent most of the night panicking that the blanket was going to end up on top of the dogs and suffocate them…Daisy is 5lbs Wheatie is 10…they wouldn’t be able to get out from under the 20lb blanket! The second night went a bit better, I figured out how to set it all up so if it slipped off it would slip off the bed and no onto them. And then it happened. The third night I went to sleep and the next thing I knew my morning alarm was chirping at me.
I had slept through the entire night! 8 frickin hours of sleep!!
That’s not a typo!!!! 8 HOURS!!!!!
I had two fluffy faces looking at me…happy that they had slept all night too, cause of course my insomnia was affecting them as well.
This sleeping thing is now a regular occurrence. I aim to get to bed between 10 /11 ish and we all get settled in our “spots”. I still lie there wondering if this is going to be the night where it doesn’t work, the night where the magic blanket has lost its powers? The night where I’m back to a racing mind and hours staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning…..and the next thing I know it’s morning….and I slept again.
This magic blanket has held onto its powers….I have slept every single night this month. It feels like a miracle.
Look at this picture below…How Sleep Affects Your Health…
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. … During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.
I’ve gained 40 pounds in the last 2 years, I was severely depressed, I was having anxiety/panic attacks daily, I was forgetful and absent minded, I had no focus for work matters, high blood pressure for sure, body pain, exhaustion and weakness….never mind angry, frustrated, impatient and just B I T C H Y!!
Without sleep my body & brain were not resting, so they weren’t healing. My cells were not able to do their job efficiently. I was a walking zombie. I felt like I was in a constant fog. The few nights where I actually got a full night of sleep, which for me was like 5 hours (instead of 2 to 3) actually made it worse, made me even more tired!?
And I dream again. Every night I dream. Weird shit coming up from my unconscious. See Freud’s take on the 3 levels of consciousness below.
The conscious: The conscious consists of what someone is aware of at any particular point in time. It includes what you are thinking about right now, whether it is in the front of you mind or the back. If you are aware of it then it is in the conscious mind.
Example: Right now as you are reading about Freud you could be thinking about what is being said in the text and that your eyes are tired from staring at this screen. In the back of your mind, however, you might be thinking “wow this website is really cool, if I was a psychology teacher I would give whoever made it an A”. Both of these thoughts occur in the conscious mind.
The Preconscious: The preconscious contains information that is just below the surface of awareness. It can be retrieved with relative ease and usually can be thought of as memory or recollection.
Example: Right now think of your middle name. That is an example of preconscious memory. Similar example could be what is your mom’s birthday, when did it last rain, and how long does it take to drive to the mall
The Unconscious: The unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are buried deep in ourselves, well below our conscious awareness. Even though we are not aware of their existence, they exert great influence on our behavior.
Example: Things in your unconscious would be forgotten negative experiences in your past, extreme dislike for a parent, or a terrible event that you pushed out of your preconscious.
The fact that I am dreaming again is helping my healing process in therapy because a lot of stuff in my dreams is taking me back to traumas from childhood that need to be worked through but I had pushed things down so far I couldn’t heal them without bringing them up and talking through them. Symbols in my dreams link directly to things I felt in my childhood. I’ve opened a door to healing and this door was in my own mind….I just couldn’t access it because I couldn’t get to a deep enough sleep to consistently retrieve the thoughts from my unconscious.
So, what does any of this have to do with Wheaton…nothing directly except that he’s enjoying a full night sleep tucked up against his peacefully sleeping Momma!
In sleep and kindness…
Jenn, Daisy & Wheaton