Well, I had a birthday yesterday. I am now 58 years old. Not sure how I feel about that. I am not one of those women who cringe at the thought of growing older. It doesn’t really bother me all that much. I mean, I’m not thrilled about it, lol, but I recognize it is just part of the cycle of life and it doesn’t make me feel less beautiful or less valuable. That is probably a gift from having a wonderful husband who loves me. He makes me feel those things. He has proven his love for me over and over for 30+ years and one of the benefits of that kind of love is that I don’t mind seeing wrinkles on my face and a little flab here and there. It’s still me, even though my body image is changing. I am grateful that it doesn’t bother me all that much. Of course it would be great if I still looked like I did when I was 21, before the auto-immune diseases started kicking in. But….oh well. I’m actually surprised I’m still alive after all I’ve lived through. So a few wrinkles and sags are not a big deal.
Anyway. Lately, like the past year or so especially, I’ve been struggling with chronic insomnia. Since I entered menopause around my 50th birthday, things have gone a little haywire. My emotions and moods are much more volatile, and now this new sleep deprivation thing. What a joy. Coupled with all that hormonal upheaval, plus my usual chronic pain from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and severe foot problems….and vision changes….and more good stuff….as Gilda Radner used to say, “It’s always something”.
But this insomnia is a real bitch. Sometimes if I really load up on a good, strong, hefty pharmaceutical cocktail….I just may get lucky enough to get drowsy enough to fall asleep. Sometimes it works, and then sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t I find that I don’t sleep at all, so then I just greet my husband when he arises at 5am to get ready to go to work….chat with him while he drinks his coffee & watches the morning news…..while I progressively feel worse and worse as my brain and body grows more and more exhausted (yet still unable to sleep).
Eventually he heads off to work while I am left here, to wander the rooms of the house, trying to figure out what to do with my miserably tired self. I get in bed once again, put on my carpal tunnel wrist splints, turn on my white noise machine, , take off my glasses, try to find a comfortable position, sigh and then close my eyes and wait. If I’m lucky I might drift off to sleep. If I’m not so lucky, which is more often lately, I might lay for hours with my eyes closed and never manage to find that magic phenomenon called sleep. If that happens, I eventually throw my covers off in frustration, slip my wrist splints off and slam them onto the mattress, put on my glasses, slide into my special comfy house sandals and get up, to roam around again until I can’t stand it anymore and then try the whole routine over again.
A few years ago, my then “intermittent” insomnia would usually cave in at about 4am at the latest, and I would manage to get to sleep around that time. Now I may be up the entire night AND INTO THE NEXT DAY, ALL DAY LONG…. it’s absolutely nuts. I feel like I’m tripping on LSD by that point. If the sleep gods have any mercy on me, I just might sneak in a 1 or 2 hour nap during the afternoon before being awakened. Then the next night I will collapse into a dead sleep from complete and total exhaustion, no pharmaceutical cocktail necessary. I just get in bed and pass out. And then sleep for 11 hours. Which in turn will cause me to be unable to sleep the next night.
Well, I’m not sure exactly which one of those days this might be. I am feeling pretty druggy right now, and I could probably have a 50/50 chance of catching a wave of sleep if I got in bed right now with one of my wonderful microwavable hot packs….but, alas, hubby is preparing for work, going from room to room, packing lunch, getting dressed, using the bathroom, drinking coffee, etc. So to lay down now and try to sleep would be an exercise in futility. Therefore I will wait until he leaves. And hope this hazy foggy brain sludge feeling won’t evaporate before he gets the hell out of here.
This happens at least once or more per week. It is a miserable feeling not to be able to sleep every night. With all of my chronic illnesses it is imperative that I get sleep. Sleep is such an important thing for me and now thanks to menopause, and my fibro sleep disturbances and other difficulties, even my sleep is now eluding me. I feel like the proverbial rabbit chasing the dangling carrot….always just out of reach no matter how hard I try to chase it down.
So, I’ll sit here and read a People magazine or check Twitter or Facebook until hubby goes to work, and pray that today the sleep gods will let me have just a little snooze (at least) so that I can feel like a human being once again.