There's something about years that end in '8' for me. They are not good. Back in 1998 it was a year of break-ups and emotional turmoil played out far from home. This year has been the most challenging in quite some time, for lots of reasons, but key among them is the fact that I just cannot sleep.
God knows, I try.
Every night I go to bed tired, early and ready to give myself the opportunity to actually have a decent night's sleep.
And almost every night I fail.
This has been going on almost all of this year and, quite frankly, I'm really unsure how to proceed. At what point do you say to a doctor, "give me something"?
When it first started I was waking at 2-3am unable to get back to sleep. Now it's worse, I have trouble getting to sleep initially ... because I'm so anxious about what the night is going to be like.
Now, intellectually I realise this is completely insane. I know it's all self perpetuating, etc, etc.
But can I switch off?
First I tried an over-the-counter sleeping tablet from the chemist. Basically an antihistamine. They knock me out alright ... till about 11am the next morning. They work, but the drowsiness is not so great.
Next up, I scaled back to Valerian. This worked for me for a couple of nights. These days I take them as a matter of course, but I usually need something else as well.
A good friend gave me a fantastic melatonin tablet that you can't get in Australia. These are excellent, they make you sleep without the drowsiness the next day. Thing is, I only have four left!
Then there's the prescription sleeping tablets another friend gave me. The ones that start with V. I am too terrified to take these in case I like them too much.
Exercise used to really zonk me, but this weekend we rode our bikes for 3.5hrs while my parents looked after E. You'd reckon I'd crash out after that. No, 3am it was.
Then last night I decided I would just take the Valerian and try a meditation Shaun's mum uses (it was on our computer). As he was downloading it on my MP3 Shaun said, "As if it's going to help you sleep, it won't work".
Did it help? Of course not, not after he'd suggested it wouldn't (I was so upset that he'd said that - sleep is a loaded topic for me). The meditation did relax me, but it didn't help me sleep.
What to do? What to do?
I wish I knew. I try to do things by the book, no caffeine after 3pm, I'm eating well, I am trying to still my mind at night.
I suspect that is where I fail - on the 'trying' part. It's like there's an epic battle inside my brain every night. The anxiety and the worries creep in via my subconscious, and my conscious mind is there yelling, "Get out", "Don't think that!", "You CAN'T think that you're trying to sleep!"
And so it goes on.
I am a person who NEEDS sleep, who is usually a great sleeper.
Yes, I must remember that: I am usually a good sleeper.
I will break this cycle.
I will sleep again!!