SLEEP – My Secret to Regular Sleep

All kinds of people have difficult times falling asleep. We toss and turn and become agitated and completely frustrated. I even become angry. I just want to sleep. Just sleep! Is that really such a difficult thing? Okay, I have some mental health issues and maybe you do too, but that doesn’t mean that other people aren’t cursed with a lack of sleep too. It seems that everyone in the neighborhood sits against the headboard reading yet again another novel or writing down everything they think about because they’ve been told that this is an effective way to help yourself go to sleep. Sex? Have you tried having sex and then going to sleep? Yeah, no. Sex just makes me hungry. Oops. Did I just say that? Darn!

I’ve tried all the usual things such as herbal supplements, pharmaceutical (prescription) sleep aids, exercising and meditation…. Ah, and mindfulness. No luck. Really torques me off. One day it occurred to me that perhaps I could create a playlist on YouTube that might help me. There are videos of guided meditation, calming music and nature sounds. You may not believe this, but it works!

I’ve finally found something that’s been working for me very regularly! I’ve created a playlist that has a few detective stories (episodes) from Old Time Radio (OTR) shows and then transitions into a short guided meditation or two. Then I transition into music to relax my soul far into the morning. (Feel free to skip the guided meditation kinds of videos if you wish. You might try them for a while and just see if they help. It won’t hurt to mix things up.)

The first playlist I’ve provided here is one in which you can use some of the videos to build your own playlist. The name of this playlist is: NEED TO SLEEP OR CHILL?

This second playlist is my personal bedtime playlist. It is always changing according to how I’m feeling when I’m getting ready to sleep. I suspect that the routine of selecting the videos helps to calm me.

My personal playlist is: BEDTIME STORIES. () I use this playlist every night. If you check it several times you’ll notice several story episodes at the bottom of the playlist. I put them there as a sort of holding tank. I plan on using them in a night or two.

Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comment section. Can you come up with a playlist of your own that you’d like to share? Let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.

Best regards and I hope you get some sleep.

Robin

A Train Journey on YouTube

A Train Journey on YouTube

I haven’t tried posting from YouTube to here before. Tell me how it worked.

I’m listening to this right now. It will play on my phone all night. I got one of the charging pads so it would be easy to work with and hear.

Nite friends

Bipolar – Having Finally Slept

Last night I posted while I was wide awake and I wanted to be sleeping. Tonight I come to you having finally fallen asleep to my YouTube video sometime in the wee hours and woke by accident at 8:25 a.m., 5 minutes before two of my kids were due to arrive. We had plans to go to an early showing of Rogue One and we were meeting at my house at 8:30. I got out in the living room just in time to unlock the front door for them. I’m so happy I was wearing pajamas and not just a tee shirt. Apparently I forgot to even set my alarm. Surprise!

Today I’m trying to lay low and be chill. My daughter left after the movie for home while my son stayed to hang out with mom for a few hours. It was a very relaxing time. We lounged on the big sofa and watched TV while we ate cookies for lunch. Yesterday I had all the kids over and we made cookies for a better part of the day.

I find myself thinking about the coming night all day long. That’s just not healthy. I’m planning my strategy on how to get to sleep. How crazy is that? I’m going to listen to the YouTube videos again but hours earlier this time. I’m purposely not going to set my alarm.

Christmas day I have to get up and join my family for family brunch at my brother’s house. But tomorrow morning, I have no plans so yeah, I’m going to sleep in. Assuming I sleep. I usually fall asleep sometime after 3. I’m finding that I need a good long night’s sleep to get up and function in the morning. It’s especially important when I need to be someplace like school.

One thing I’m trying to do increasingly over time is to exercise more. This should help my moods and help me to sleep. At least, that’s the way my thinking goes.

And now, back to researching on Edgar Allan Poe, who may have been a fellow mood disorder sufferer. I’m trying to learn what I can about him. It’s good to focus on others who both do and do not have the illnesses I have. I may learn something helpful.

Bipolar – I Just Wanna Sleep

say-no-to-sleeplessness-in-old-age-with-yoga1I wanted to share with you what happens with me on a typical night when I can’t sleep… such as tonight.

This is the second night in a row that I’ve not been able to sleep. I’m so tired yet sleep flees from me. I have things on my mind that I’ve tried to get to go away. I’ve written them down. I’ve talked about them. I’ve walked on my elliptical for the second time today. I’ve taken my sleeping pill and my regular meds. I’m clearly not asleep. They just won’t stop. Maybe I’ll try reading some more when I go back to bed.

I’m struggling with three things. First, one of my kids is struggling and that’s hard. Second, something is wrong with my car and has been since I got snow tires put on. I got snow tires a couple of weeks ago. Ever since they loaded my old tires and wheels in the trunk and back seat the car has ridden low in the back end. Even now that they are out of the car it still rides low. The backend is noticeably lower than the frontend. I guess it’s the shocks or struts. She’s an old car. I hope it wasn’t just “their time” to fail because of its age. The timing would be awfully strange. And third, I have a credit card that has what to me is a high balance. The card has been active since April this year. According to me, when I look over the charges, there is nothing near the balance that has been charged. Let me put that a different way. It says my balance is one thing, but it doesn’t appear to me to total that much in the actual charges.

Now, I know I can’t do anything about these things right now, but I can do this. I can write about it. I know I might not be able to help my kid. I know I may have to pay to fix my car. I know I may have spent more than I think I have. These are all bad options. I can’t do anything about them at 11:38 at night.

Deep breath. Ah. Time to find that YouTube playlist I made for helping me sleep. It has a 30 minutes “talk down” guided meditation video then has about eight hours of soothing nature sounds like of rain in the woods or waves and maybe a little music. That’s what I’ll try next. Read then YouTube.

Wish me luck.

Bipolar and Chronic Pain Just Plain Suck

Monday my Bipolar brain took a chance an had a lumbar steroid shot to attempt to relieve massive pain I’ve been experiencing for years. I respond quickly to medications and other treatments and it’s been this way with the lumbar shot. By the next morning I was experiencing muscle cramps and painful spasms. Although I wanted, in my strange way, to think something had gone wrong I decided that these things were happening because my body was moving more freely because there was less pain. Even a slightly longer reach or stretching a muscle beyond what it has been doing for the last 25 years.

The second night my back lit up. All the nerves in my lower back were on fire again. I got an ice pack and sat in my recliner (which my mother thoughtfully gifted to me) and tried to ride out the storm. No such luck. Kyle was staying up late playing a game on the X-box and for the first time he saw a little of the hell my body puts me through. I thought I could get it to calm down with the ice. No such luck. I was reclining in the chair to better freeze the painful area. I couldn’t stand it any longer and I started kicking my legs and groan with the pain.

My anxiety level was reaching critical mass and I felt I was losing control. My mind was unable to restrain or reign in my response to the pain. It was excruciating. I asked Kyle to rinse out the tub for me (Bailey, the puppy, loves to play in the tub when she’s not having a bath.). Not knowing what else to do he did so quickly. I climbed in before the water got more than a few inches deep. I sat with my back to the spigot and the water turned hot. I was so tired I kept falling asleep.

I don’t know why I didn’t use the heating pad. That’s what it’s for really. That and the big ice packs. I think when the pain becomes so great that we can no longer think clearly. Also being Bipolar I’m not always prepared for nor able to deal with such pain. I was so drowsy. I walked close to the wall so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs. Finally I realized I’d not taken anything for my back all evening because I was feeling better. I jumped the gun.

I keep a record of when and what and how much of each drug I take during the say so I don’t over or underdose. I was way under.

Today I asked Kyle if he’d ever seen me like that, in that much pain. He hadn’t. I told him how this was only some of the pain I have been in. If it had been any worse I wouldn’t have reclined my chair because I knew I would break it. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. I know he is starting to understand.

This, this is Kyle in the first grade. Today he is a sophomore at UWT (University of Washington at Tacoma)
kyle1st-grade

I’ve tried to hide my infirmities from my kids as they’ve grown up. The fits of anger and depression, the aggression and the manias… I couldn’t hide them all the time. Maybe never. I’m not sure. Today all three are remarkable individuals.

Raising them I was in constant physical and mental pain. I nearly lost myself. Today, for the first time in…. forever I put away the groceries anfter shopping and wasn’t in any pain. No pain in my physical body at all.

I had no idea how much pain I’d been in… until after some of it was gone.

It is my hope, that now that some of the chronic pain is alleviated my work to balance my mind will be more successful.

My friend, I have learned many lessons from this experience with ongoing pain. I didn’t know I was blinded by the pain. I didn’t know the pain made my mind, my Bipolar mind, more messy. If you experience other pain in your body that can be addressed, pain so great it alters your daily activities including you need to be doing with your kids. Myself… I couldn’t even stand long enough to cook. When coaching softball my pain was like a monster. I’m sure I wasn’t very effective. I cared a lot about those kids though. I just thought the pain was part of carting around sports equipment. I was wrong.

Consider your body… has it got a hold on your mind? On your Bipolar behavior?

Be well my friend.

I Wish I Were Bipolar

I can’t believe I just said that either.

“I wish I were Bipolar. Yes, ME.”

I’ve fretted over when/if/how to approach what to say.   Again… another issue to stifle me me and stuff my hands with word stopping globs of goo. (Do you get what I’m getting at? Stay tuned.)

I can’t possibly explain who I am. Not even close. I’ll say one thing and think I’ve given you enough. I’ll pause my monologue and think I’ve given you space to consider me, what I’ve said. I hear my own voice raise over all the silences and questions I’ve left with you. Like…

“What the hell are you going on about woman?!”  I got no clue.

Lies. I’m lying. Laying? Damn words.

I honestly do wish I were Bipolar. Just Bipolar. It would make me.. my life.. so much simpler, even more possible. More probable.

I keep nodding off so I’ll keep this much shorter than I’m naturally inclined to do.

Last night (Wed night) I slept for perhaps an hour or two. It was horrible. My brain began alright. It is still flirting with every tomorrow in this newly less medicated state. We, my brain and I ended in the wee hours (Thur morning) stuck in the turnstyle under a boat load of cement. I couldn’t sleep. I almost did sleep.

Lies. I slept.

I slept for as many hours as I have eyes. Maybe.

I’m so tired.

I have chronic pain everywhere. Pain in every joint, every muscle, every imaginary and real messed up bit of me. I see a chronic pain specialist at a “pain clinic”. They specialize in, well, chronic pain that isn’t easily treated by ordinary means. That just means that in my case for example my MD isn’t comfortable prescribing high and long standing doses of Oxycodone day after week, after month, after year.

I take 10 mg of Oxycodone three times daily (assuming I’m not going to be driving) to try to control my lower back and bum pain.

It rarely works well. I keep taking it whenever I safely can. I bank on the thought that I can trick my mind into believing it really does help. Via my med provider and MD and so on my pain cocktail consists of:
10 mg Oxycodone 3 times daily
50 mg Hydroxyzine 4 times daily
800 mg Ibuprofen every 6 hours
Excedrin Migraine two every 6 hours
Ice, ice, ice, ice
Heat, heat, heat

No joy.

It is now 13 minutes after midnight. That’s 13 minutes into Friday.

So far today sucks. I have heartburn and my pain is nicely controlled at about an 8 (10 being the worst pain I can ever imagine) at the moment.

If I’m not sleeping because of my brain, I’m not sleeping because of my pain. Often the bodily pain causes mental pain…  making sleep an even less likely reality. I need to sleep. My jumbled writing is becoming more jumbled. I hate it. I get my Bipolar brain to cooperate and focus. That’s so awesome. I know that’s so awesome.

The chronic debilitating pain makes it only a shadow of a triumph.

No sleep is not sleeping no matter what the cause.

Oh my. I nodded off for a fairy tale minute. It’s passed.

I’m going to move the warm and melted ice pack from my butt to the freezer. I have four I rotate through. The big hospital size ones for things like knee replacements.

I am so exhausted. I think I might be tired enough now that the pain won’t be able to make me cry and whimper… maybe that means I’ll sleep.

I nodded off again.

I self medicated tonight. Two vodka shots of really bad vodka. Trying to kick start the painkiller and bring sleep and I together faster and hopefully for longer than zero.

I wish I were just Bipolar. Chronic pain plus Bipolar Type 1 completely sucks fried reeds.

Well… started to cry again. Gonna say goodnight to the ice right now. I’ve gotta sleep.

I wish I were Bipolar.

“Mom, Sit Down!”

“Mom, sit down!”

Now that’s not something I want to hear from my youngest kid, but the truth is I’ve heard it more than twice. In fact it is usually accompanied with the traditional, “stop talking!”  clause. Also, not something I want my kid to say to me. I bristle and mutter and growl back at her… but mostly in my head and mostly silently. Sometimes.  She’s usually right. There are times when I need to sit down and shhhh….  I do so unwillingly. You see an unusually large segment of my BP list of weird and wonderful “symptoms” includes what I call the irresistible urge to pontificate.

It isn’t that I find myself pontificating atop a table at McDonalds or greeting the stereotypical greeters at Wal-mart with my typical cheerful and wanting go make them feel good self. Okay, it is. Maybe. I do pontificate. Usually at home or in the car.

My home and my car is tremendously beneficial and handy if I need to pontificate. Pontificate. I love that word. Say it with me: pon-TIF-i-kate.

I…  am a number one. Number 1.  That is I am Bipolar Disorder type 1.  I refer to it as “the really nasty one.” One of the fun things about BP type 1 is that if I can keep my doo doo together I can be amazing! I can move mountains with my words and inspire people to strive for more, to be greater. I can make them laugh and induce not always unwanted tears. Course I can also a be charismatic cult leader. Could be. Yes, religious or social or political leaders of any flavor. I can be a tremendous coach leading my athletes to greatness. I can make the regular sort of CEO seem inadequate and humdrum. I am MORE.  More.  So much more.

I have so much more going on in my brain that I… hardly know what to do with it all.

I’m at home alone most of the day and then the kids come home. I try to find out how their days were at school (one in an art high school and one at university) but they seem to forget what the preceding hours contained. Perhaps it’s the 70 minute bus ride home. I dunno. I think riding a public transit bus to the very end of the route at rush hour would suck my brain dry too.

Words. Words. Words. I have many. They try to get out and drain some of the pressure off of my grey matter. It matters, believe me. So I’m safe in my car and at my home with my loved ones. They can’t run. They can’t hide. I, can pontificate. And I sometimes do. Often do. I try hard not to. Truth is, I take medications designed to give me the ability to stop the leak of pontification. It is always still there though, in my brain. Rattling around. Waiting.Watching for a chance to make it’s presence known again.

The thing is my pontificating affects and effects my kids. I am simply overwhelming. Oh I’m not yelling about stupid people or retarded news casters (usually not). I like to try to teach my captive audience. I want to know about their day so I can somehow take part in it and offer helpful advice. I feel like I’m so detached from them some days. They are growing up you know. And they are my kids. So sometimes, yes, I pontificate very loudly and make very pointed points.  I try not to.

But sometimes… mom has gotta really pontificate to the max. I just have to.

Sometimes they just have to listen and let me finish. And then I feel better.

Then they want dinner.

Pontificate.

I think this word ought to be added to the official “diagnosis” of BP. It would become more realistic and read like this: having delusions of grandeur and frequent pontifications. 

I haven’t pontificated for a while. I’m too tired to I think. I think my pontificate is all popped. Oh… I wonder…  Afterwhile, after I’ve been cooler and gentler in my conversation it tends to pop off. I’d better watch out for it because frequent and sometimes negative pontification at children can drive them past distraction and right away from me. The emotions they may feel can rival the conflicting massive emotions I feel.

It has been my mission to raise awesome and well balanced adults who are ready to contribute to our society. However, the BP parent, that would be me, can very easily and very often squish that very same child. Ceaseless pontification don’t help. Meds, counseling and a lot of learning and trying to train my brain help me not pontificate as much as I used to. There used to be times of anger and rage being dumped on my captive audience as I pontificated to the limit.

The urge, the itch, the push to pontificate must be channeled and controlled. It can be harnessed and be a force for good and encourage my children. It must be controlled. You see, uncontrolled pontification… yes including yelling like a moron and thinking like I know all is an excellent way to add to the many ways that can be utilized to destroy my babies.

Uncontrolled negative pontification is destructive to my children. And to ourselves. The truth is that as I destroy them bit by bit and day by day as I destroy myself as well.

Watch that pontification my friends.

Pontificate wisely.

Or don’t pontificate at all.

Focus on the words:  realistic, reality, humility, loving kindness….

pon-TIF-i-kate

Sleep Freak

It always surprises me. I don’t know why. But it does.

What is it?

The human brain, specifically my brain.

Here I am deprived of adequate sleep night after night. Finally it seems that perhaps I’m not sleeping because I’m in more pain than I realize. I had prescribed medications taken as directed at bedtime. About an hour passed I suppose when I felt my breathing changing, growing slower and slower. Finally sleep seemed to over take my manic brain.

I panicked. One eye opened. Then the other. What the hell!? I want to sleep. I have to sleep. I really really need to sleep. Yet here I was relaxed and falling asleep… and I kept waking myself up apparently on purpose. Oh not consciously on purpose, but as I lay there reopening each eye as they slid closed time after time it became clear that I was beginning to panic.

I don’t allow health care givers to give me morphine. The reason is simple, or so I thought. I have asthma and when I feel like I can’t breath I panic. Morphine slows breathing. It is a normal response to the drug. It causes me to panic.

Enter tonight’s medication regiment designed to relieve my physical pain and put my busy brain and body into a good night’s rest. Unfortunately it is this very response to the medications, the expected response, that freaks me out. I don’t have sleep apnea if you’re wondering. I snore quite a lot sometimes and I’ve had the sleep study just last summer. I’m completely normal. At least, when I sleep. Strangely I feel right asleep when they told me to even though I was hooked up to all sorts of wires and sensors.

Tonight I finally fell asleep. Somehow, for some reason I don’t really understand, I wake myself up…. I think I’m dying.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it relates to the experiences I’ve had with morphine. I can’t control my breathing. It slows way beyond my normal rate. I feel myself sliding out of control. It seems to me to be too deep. Too final. I don’t understand.

After keeping myself awake and feeling rather foolish and yet stubborn and determined to stay awake lest I sleep to death, I decided that instead of assuming that my breathing was slowing to a stop and my pulse was probably doing the same thing that I would get up and look it up on my Chrome. It would only take a few minutes and then I could be reasonable and sleep or stay awake.

Although I can’t very well take either while sleeping, which if you remember I’m not letting myself do anyway, so I tried to breath as shallowly and slowly as I thought I was fighting. I also looked up the popper rate for a sleeping adult. As expected they were normal for someone completely asleep. Very asleep. Oh they are both on the lower side of the counts, but not abnormal I think.

That’s the problem, at least part of it. “I think.” And I’m afraid.

My body and brain are so out of control that losing control of myself while simply sleeping is freaking my subconscious out. Then it wakes me up so I can panic properly.

Writing always helps me relax. Blogging or writing in my diary especially. I hope that by putting pen to paper as it were that I have convinced myself that it’s okay to sleep. That all is normal. All is well. I will not die in my sleep tonight.

Still… I am afraid and I don’t understand.

I see my counselor in the morning and my med provider after that. You can bet that this will be the first thing I’ll mention after the Fibromyalgia. Adding the new diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis to my alphabet soup of BP, ADHD and PTSD and I’m a bit whacked out. I’m going to put this down now and sleep. It is okay to sleep. I will sleep like a normal person. I suspect too that the Tramadol makes me a bit dizzy and makes me feel like I have a slight headache which is ironic since it’s a painkiller. I seem to recall that I’ve responded to it like that in the past but I’m not certain.

Add it all up and I have this terrifying feeling that if I sleep when I feel this precise way… I’ll die.

And that, isn’t something I want to do. Yet, round and round my head is still arguing with itself about the whole thing. Besides writing about it my other solution is to have a glass of milk. And I wonder that since I’m panicking maybe I should take my prescribed Diazepam.  Or, maybe it will also make me freak out that I’ve relaxed too much.

This is ridiculous.

I’m going to close my eyes now and try again. I really gotta sleep. . .