Monday, January 08, 2007

Same Old Story

It started last night. Another attack of insomnia, hyperactivity, claustrophobia, you name it. With memories of recent marital rows over my midnight outings still fresh in my mind, I tried to keep busy indoors. But doing what?

Tried to stay in bed after he went to sleep but I was too restless. Was tossing & turning so violently that I nearly woke him. Then I broke into a cold sweat. I could feel my sheet, blanket & pillows getting damp but I was shivering cold. Teeth-chatteringly cold.

That was my cue to get up before I started hyperventilating or something. Went out onto the balcony. It was pretty cold. And I was just in my nightie. But the fresh air felt good. I felt my breathing - and my heartbeats - slow down.

Why was I so scared? Utterly irrational panic. An anxiety attack, my mother would have called it. But fear of what? I'd been in a perfectly good mood until my husband fell asleep. Not a care in the world. Couldn't put my finger on anything scary that happened or was expected to happen. And yet I was. Scared that is.

And then all of a sudden, my thoughts went to the last book I read. Colleen McCullough's 'On Off'. A thriller about a psychotic killer who preys on young girls. It has a truly horrifying ending. Couldn't get over it at the time.

But I'd read that ages ago. I must be even more unhinged than I thought I was to be still having panic attacks in the middle of the night over it. It was FICTION, for heaven's sake.

So standing there on the balcony, I silently talked & laughed myself out of the panic attack. And I went back inside, anxious by then to avoid an untimely death of hypothermia. I was FREEZING.

Prayer seemed like a good idea. After a hot shower and a change into admittedly less glamourous but warmer clothing. Layers held a lot of appeal at that moment. And socks.

And so it went. After the shower & change, I made myself a cup of hot chocolate. Then I sat on our prayer mat for so long my legs started to cramp. When I felt my mind start to wander, I knew it was time to stop. I was taught that you shouldn't pray or read Quran without full concentration.

Felt better, calmer. But no less active. Still hyper. The thought of going back to bed still held no appeal. Was glad I managed not to wake him though. He keeps saying that he can't function properly at work without at least 4 hrs of sleep. And his work days are much longer than mine.

When I looked at my watch, it was 5:00am. An hour before I had to get up for work. I spent it essentially wandering around the house aimlessly in my socks from room to room, occasionally pausing to stare out of a window or the balcony. When I heard my cellphone alarm go off in the bedroom & I heard him complaining, I started crying. Relief, I guess. The night was finally over.

Of course he took one look at my face & he knew. He said 'astagfirullah yarabi'(Allah forgive me) under his breath. Which struck me as on odd choice of prayer in the circumstances. God forgive him for what? He hadn't done anything at that precise moment. But then he held out his arms. Gratefully, I got into bed with him. The bed didn't seem so scary anymore with him awake in it.

But I could only enjoy being comforted for a few minutes because well, duty calls, no? Work is work. As always, he offered to give me something to help me sleep after work if I wanted. And as always, I could tell he wasn't happy to be offering that. So I said no, I wanted to fight it.

Tonight he stayed up with me until 2:00am. And then I took pity on him. I pretended to fall asleep so he'd go to sleep. And it worked. He was out like a light in less than 2 minutes.

And here I am. It's 2:52am.



Blogger Jane said...

From one insomiac to another, I know what you are going through. One thing that's been recommended to me is an herb called valerian root. It is supposed to be calming and doesn't make you groggy, just relaxed enough to sleep. It's also supposed to help calm nerves or anxiety. You need some rest, dear.

1/08/2007 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Alina said...

I rarely have nights when I simply cannot sleep. But those rare occasions are enough to know how annoying it can be. I've also heard of Valerian being used to calm you down and help you sleep. It's the most natural remedy you can get :)

1/08/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger N said...

From another insomniac to you, you should get those anxiety attacks checked. If you don't want to see someone about it, play sports, they wear you out and take out the excess energy that keeps you awake. Works like magic. Good luck.

1/08/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

I am sleeping well, but tonight i couldnt sleep at all, now i am walking like zombie in the office and so slow in my thinkings.

May be it was something in the stars? ;)

good one hour walk before bedtime, will make you sleep like a baby, try it.

have a good sleep.


1/08/2007 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger INDICAN said...

Insomnia sucks. The only thing that works for me, so far, is sleep deprivation; and even then that's only if I go to bed in that 30 min. window when I actually do get sleepy, if not, then I'm up for a whole day again. I've heard of Valerian root too, haven't tried it yet -- heard it tastes like socks... lol

1/08/2007 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

I battled my insomnia with lots and lots of exercise. I basically exhausted myself into sleeping (and also lost 20 pounds in the process!!!!!)

I haven't had insomnia in a long time, but I remember how absolutely frustrating it was. Have you seen someone about it??

1/09/2007 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger tooners said...

I have bouts of insomnia or did before I got pregnant. Now, I sleep w/out a problem - or was, but I'm in the 8th mth now and can't sleep worth a darn! ;)

Anyway, I think this goes further than just not sleeping. Maybe it'd be a good idea to talk to someone about it. And like everyone says, exercise is great for wearing your butt out, but don't do it late at night because then you'll stay up for a while.

1/09/2007 11:24:00 AM  

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