Angry at Insomnia

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I finally slept last night. I broke down and took two Benadryl (usually too much for my delicate system) and conked out for nearly nine hours.

For the previous six days my sleep had been interrupted, cut short, or just plain elusive. I used to suffer from insomnia, but in the last several years I have had the luxury of good sleep. Some of this I chalk up to my practice of mindfulness and meditation; to release all that anxiety and endless chatter of thoughts pretty much ensures one will sleep better.

So what happened? I’m not really sure. I think it might have had something to do with recent changes in my goals and ambitions. I began to think of bigger possibilities and I must have simply gotten too overwhelmed.

Which means I probably should have been meditating more. But the problem is that when I don’t feel well, the last thing I want to do is meditate. And without the meditation, my sleep wasn’t getting any better. Thus began a loop, a Catch-22, wherein I couldn’t meditate without sleep and I couldn’t sleep without meditation.

I slogged through my days, feeling guilty and frustrated with myself. I began to worry about how long this would last. And then finally, on the sixth day, I took a deep breath and allowed myself to relax into the idea that it was OKAY that I wasn’t sleeping. It was OKAY that I had skipped my meditation for four days. It was going to be okay no matter what happened.

Although I was very tired that day, the realization kept me from getting worse. There is nothing that will make any situation worse than refusal to accept it. I was angry about the lack of sleep and that kept contributing to the problem. It wasn’t until I stopped placing blame: on myself, the dog, the husband, the traffic, the weather, the stars – whatever – that everything began to seem a little bit better.

This small shift in attitude (combined, of course, with a little pharmaceutical help) allowed me to relax, to stop fighting, and to stop worrying… and SLEEP.