I used to be a good sleeper. Given a relatively horizontal surface and ten minutes, I could be out cold. Noise, light, people, didn’t matter. I’d be asleep. I was a great napper and an even better nighttime sleeper. I’d crawl into bed and once the lights were out, the mister and I were done conversing (or whatever), and it was time to sleep, I’d sleep. Deeply. Until the alarm went off or just a couple minutes beforehand.
I’d listen to people comment about not being able to sleep or not getting enough rest and I’d nod, all the while secure in the knowledge that while they were awake and counting sheep, I’d be snoring peacefully.
But recently my good sleeper status has been disrupted and that’s probably a large part of my funk.
See, I finally listened to some good friends, namely MJ and KVE, who told me to seek help because not sleeping and constant anxiety are not good things.
I sought help.
And, guess what?
I am totally, absolutely normal.
The woman I saw listened to my story and gave me the following diagnosis: mild situational depression. Her words: You’re in an unpleasant situation. You have been for a while. It’s thrown you off. The result of this is heightened anxiety and disturbed sleep. Those two things feed off each other and eventually you end up where you are: constantly worried and worn out.
Her solution was to suggest a short course of a prescription sleep aid to remind my body that nighttime is for sleeping, not staying awake worrying, and to keep doing what I’m doing otherwise, which includes relying on the mister and my family and friends to prop me up and working to get out of the situation I’m in.
And, honestly, it was very validating. Sure, I have the sympathy and understanding of family and friends, but they’re sort of required to be nice to me, particularly if I keep crying on them all the time. It’s hard to look a tearful loved one in the face and say, “listen, you’re just being a whiner,” so the idea that they’re just humoring me was always in the background, particularly since I felt like I was just being a whiner.
It was another thing to hear from a professional that, yes, indeed, I’m in a pickle and it’s perfectly normal to lose my shit over that. That not sleeping and worrying and waiting for something awful to happen are perfectly normal reactions to my situation and no, that it does not make me depressed, it does not give me an anxiety disorder, it does not mean that I need heavy medication. It means that I am worried. And I am handling the worry pretty well. I haven't taken up drinking, I don't snap at perfect strangers for no good reason, and I haven't taken to curling up in the fetal position and sobbing, so I'm doing okay.
At the end of the day, I’m still me: quirky, embodying a strange combo of cynicism and optimism, and someone easily amused by a great number of things. Whether I get out of my pickle or simply learn to handle it better, I’ll still be me.
So now I’m going to get my sleep aid and learn to sleep at night like I used to, and maybe, hopefully, I’ll start to feel like myself again soon.