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So many things going through my mind. So many things I want to write! But I’m wiped out, so I think it’s best to start from that honest place of exactly where I am, which is super tired since S-T-U-P-I-D insomnia has reentered my nights full force these last two weeks or so. 

Night after night I find myself awake in the middle of the night, roaming like Wee Willie Winkle from room to room trying this chair or that chair or the guest bed to find the right place that will lull me sleep. I never know where the magical Goldilocks spot might be that will finally lead me to rest, and I never question it, as I am simply thankful that it works.

This is not a new occurrence for me. I have struggled with sleep for as long as I can remember, and I mean that back to around five years old. My bed has been a battleground between a desperate need for restful sleep and the inability to go to or stay asleep for years. I had just really gotten a grasp on how to handle it and sleep most nights when John died. After that, well, I like so many others that have lost their person, simply couldn’t sleep. I would wander around most nights aimless and forlorn.

For the first seven months or more I would take melatonin and one Niquil every night to get to sleep only to wake up four hours later as the Niquil wore off. Then I would lay there, awake, trying to grasp the reality of my John-less world. Those very early months on I would wake up and gasp out of realization of what had happened or even wake up and speak the words, ‘John’s dead’ as if the four hours of sleep had made that reality dissipate just enough that it hit full on as shock when I awoke. 

I know that this recent bout of sleeplessness is in larger part induced by the upcoming anniversary of his death. It is just over four weeks away now. It may also be getting worse due  to the flashbacks that have increased as the anniversary nears. 

Flashbacks of those awful days following his death, of his body in the coffin, his shriveling hands, his unnatural pallor. I am concentrating on working on eradicating those flashbacks with the help of my grief counselor, which by the way is all the harder to do when you are tired. The last thing that a person wants to enact when exhausted is telling themselves during a flashback, ‘this is only a memory, not an immediate trauma’ over and over to ease the gut punch of the vision, or to start counting in a concise way to trick the brain so that it can calm down and KNOW that there is no immediate danger to respond to. Both are good and helpful ideas and they do help with the flashbacks, but when you are sleep deprived it is hard to muster the gumption to do them, meaning it is also harder to help myself stop having them and heal some from those early days.

The sleeplessness could be brought on as well because others are talking to me and checking in about how I am doing with the upcoming anniversary. They are concerned and love me and I am grateful for them and their concern. Still, talking about it so much more often than usual may be making it harder to handle the anniversary in some ways.

Likely it is a combination of it all. I am grateful to know, nearly two years out, that the actual days of anniversaries or birthdays or any other significant hard day does seem to be easier than the days and weeks leading up to it. I am relieved to know that with each day I draw closer to the anniversary, that it may be leading to some relief on the horizon. 

In the meantime, I’m going to schedule a visit to my acupuncturist/herbalist to enlist a new line of defense in the battleground of my bed and hope that this new tool will help me say farewell to my companion, insomnia, or at least send him on a trip for a couple of weeks, to give me the relief of a few restful nights.

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Comment by lizbeth4 on August 22, 2014 at 1:52pm

Hi,  It's been 17 months since the death of my Husband.  I have always had trouble sleeping.  I think it all started when I had my first child (when I was 20, over 35 years ago).  I would sleep light so I could hear her, if she needed anythings.  Then I had a second child, 5 years later and I already had the light sleeping down.  I could go on 5 hours sleep nightly.  I have had real sleep issues since my Husband's death.  I would love to get 5 hours of straight sleep.  I sleep for a hour then I awake, go back to sleep, wake up and start all over again.  I never feel like I have had enough sleep.  Right after my Husband's death, my Doctor prescribed sleeping pills.  I didn't use them on a regular basis as I don't like taking pills.  I never had the prescription refilled as I didn't like the feeling that the give me.  Now days, I just sleep as much as my mind and body will allow and I try to take naps to supplement my nightly sleep.  I don't know when if I will ever be able to sleep well again. I am hoping!!

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