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stemnyjones's avatar

Something very, very serious is going on, and you need answers. But there is no logical way to get answers until tomorrow. How the hell do you sleep?

Asked by stemnyjones (3959 points ) December 20th, 2010

I have to bring my daughter to the pediatrician tomorrow to find out if she has a disease that the doctor suspects. I’m very worried, wrought with guilt for not taking her in earlier, and have done all of the research and productive things I can do about it tonight. But it’s 1:30am, I have to be up at 8, and I’m not anywhere near serene enough to go to sleep.

What the hell do you do in situations like this?

Even if it’s not something as dramatic as this, I still need advice. I am a very anxious person and I also have insomnia, so even if I get a text message that bothers me or I remember something mildly important that I forgot to tell my now-sleeping partner, it keeps me up for hours.

And I already take sleeping pills – the maximum dosage that is recommended – so that suggestion doesn’t really help.

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15 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Take a hot bath and listen to some soothing music.

spykenij's avatar

I’m not religious, but I am spiritual and I do believe that praying and wishing wellness upon your daughter can be beneficial. Have some hope and I agree with the above. Take a hot bath, drink some warm chamomile or rosemary tea, take 2 benedryl and meditate and pray until you drift off to sleep. I wish you well.

augustlan's avatar

Do something mildly distracting, to get your mind off of it (I play semi-boring computer games) until you’re so exhausted you can’t help but sleep. Good luck at the doctor’s tomorrow!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I can’t suggest Xanax? Damn…
Um, drink some herbal tea (IF it doesn’t make you have to pee) – preferably chamomile, lavender, or something with valerian root in it, definitely no caffine/tea leaves.
Don’t take a bath – the heat actually wakes you up, and while it might calm you down, it’ll then be around an hour before your body can go to sleep.
If you have a hot pack, I love those for when I’m tense. I put them around my middle, because that’s where I carry the majority of my tension, but everyone is different.
Listen to some soothing music – Dan Gibson does some great biofeedback work, so I like his Relax Peacefully for relaxing alpha waves (awake relaxed waves) and Sleep Deeply for delta waves (deep sleep/REM waves). I usually do a couple tracks of Relax Peacefully to get me chilled out, then switch over to the sleep cd.
Watch a movie that you love and relaxes you – I’ve seen Duck Soup about 300 times by now, but only gotten past the mirror scene 5 because it takes me to somewhere else without riling me up and I pass out. Yes, it’s always within 3 scenes of the mirror scene… I also find a lot of kids movies to be pretty great for that – The Incredible, Ice Age, Nemo, Shrek, The Grinch, etc.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Just wanted to mention – if what you’re taking as sleeping pills are actually sleeping pills (and not pills that have a sleepy side effect) like Lunesta, Ambian, Sonata, or the other one that starts with R, then that may actually increase your anxiety – they’re kinda known for getting you to sleep, but not restful sleep and increasing your overall anxiety.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Since your thoughts are racing anyways, channeling the thought into something else and breaking the cycle of worry is the first part of getting a grip on things. I sometimes deal with late-night anxiety by organizing things – canned goods, the pantry, cleaning out the fridge, going through old mail, filing paperwork, something that can be done in about 45 minutes and is both mentally active but rote. Then I pop on the headphones, stretch out on the couch and listen to instrumental music or an audio book, and aim for relaxation rather than sleep. If it doesn’t work after about an hour, I get up and organize something else.

marinelife's avatar

Visualize a trunk or footlocker. Imagine yourself taking each worry out of your head and putting it in the trunk for the night. Tell yourself that you will pick up the worry tomorrow. Then visualize yourself closing the lid and locking the trunk up.

Then go to sleep with your worries safely stowed away.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Banish the thought from your head if you possibly can. Can you choose something else to think about that’s unrelated to your daughter? If you keep thinking about it you won’t get to sleep. Relive your first date in your head? Fantasize about going to the moon?

I don’t know where you are geographically, but I’ve found that the past few nights when I turned on my electric blanket by med was so toasty that I immediately fell asleep.

Best of luck tomorrow.

Kayak8's avatar

I just wondered how the appointment went today . . .

Anemone's avatar

In a really stressful situation, I’d probably just expect to not sleep very well. However, it’s still a good idea to calm yourself and rest as much as possible. You might even sleep!

I also find it really helpful to write things down if I keep thining of things I need to do or want to make sure I tell someone. At least you won’t have to worry that you’ll forget about it. Remind yourself you can deal with it later. In my experience, this really helps me “let go” of stresses, making it more likely I’ll get some sleep, even if things are pretty stressful.

Other than that, I’d suggest deep breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, then slowly through your mouth until you’re as empty as possible. Do this several times until you feel calmer. You might even picture the tension leaving through your breath.

Good luck… I hope everything went well.

stemnyjones's avatar

Sorry everyone. I have the tendency lately to ask a question then get too busy with life and never come back on to look at the answers.

Thank you everyone for your advice.

@Kayak8 She has what I thought she had, but it’s not as bad as I thought. She will still live a happy and productive life, and no one will know about it except for her and me.

spykenij's avatar

I’m the same way you are. Xanax is very, very good for that. Low doses, especially, like ask for .5mg, cut them in half and make the Rx last 2 months and if half isn’t enough, you can take a whole one or even 2, which if you’ve never taken Xanax before, it will knock you out. I can empathize with you. I always seem to be upset at night when there’s no one awake and when I need to talk to someone. Comfort yourself. It’s not the same, but something about it makes you get closer and more comfortable with yourself.

stemnyjones's avatar

@spykenij Thanks for the advice. :) I’ve found that writing in a journal is the most helpful thing I can do if there is no one around to talk to. No matter how angry I am, I feel better after I get it down on paper.

Although this situation was different, I do have obsessive thoughts, which is part of my ADHD. I was taken off of Adderral because I had addiction problems in my past, and put on Vyvanse. Both of the medications really help with my obsessive thoughts, but the Vyvanse is wearing off 3 hours after I take it.. so I have an appointment next week to hopefully get it adjusted.

spykenij's avatar

I have OCD, so I tend to obsess about things too. My therapist had me wear a rubberband on my wrist for a week or two to snap (just enough to feel and notice the sting), so I can see how much time is being wasted on obsessive thoughts. All day is what I felt like, so she said to make my brain not even want to go there anymore, sit in a quiet, preferrably sound-proof room, alone and just sit in the corner and force yourself to think about it as much as possible…cry, do it all – for an hour, She had me do this daily until it slowed down. It pretty much makes your brain so sick of the thoughts that it wants to escape them all on its own. She said to add 30 extra minutes every day after the first week or so if it continued, but it makes sense to me. My brain did get sick of it, but my gut feeling never went away because I knew something wasn’t right. I don’t know how one’s body knows, but sometimes your body just knows shit before you do.

My issue was that I could not stop thinking about all the guys my ex slept with. How they got something from her I would only ever feel in a phantom way, all of them in such a short period of time, the nasty circumstances…and they never bothered to “take care of her” and I was the 1st one that ever could and I showed her how to get her own rocks off too cuz you’ll never know what you like until you try it out for yourself (in some cases). I just felt in my gut she wasn’t gay and so I just obsessed about it day and night. Thankfully now, she’s outta my hair after she flipped out and realized she wanted to go back to men that never “did it for her”. Whatever – her loss, my gain. The best thing she ever did for me was LEAVE :) I got my life together then and met a real woman. After that, it just falls off the edge of a cliff because I got sick, lost my REALLY good paying job, was sick for 2–3yrs before the doctors diagnosed it, went through several surgeries and am now taking something for chronic pain and will be for the rest of my life :P I had to move in with my mother-in-law and I am pretty much at rock bottom, living my own personal nightmare, wanting to scratch the door into pieces to get away from her… 78yr old, wrinkled, shakey ass.

stemnyjones's avatar

@spykenij That’s interesting, what your psychiatrist made you do. I’ve never heard of that before. Sucks that you still get the gut feelings, though.

Haha, your story sounds like mine. I fell so hard for this girl that I moved from Louisiana to Texas to be with her (she was friends with my cousin who had lived in Texas but moved back to LA… we had met once before, but when we both ended up single my cousin hooked us up. The girl would drive down every weekend to spend time with me, and eventually I just moved over there). I dropped the life I had been living since I was a kid and started fresh somewhere new, and it was the first time I ever really felt happy… hell, I still feel like Houston is my home, not Louisiana. We lived together for two years… got and raised a puppy together, bought each other commitment rings (I spent $600, she spent $50), when she lost her job I supported her, then when I lost my job she supported me. I was even helping her through the process of trying to get custody of her son back. Our only problem was that our relationship had been very sexual from the beginning, but about 3 months after moving in together she seemed to lose interest. By the 2nd year I was literally begging her to have sex with me, and even then it happened maybe once every 3 months. She said that she had a low sex drive, but I wasn’t convinced because of how it was in the beginning of the relationship. Otherwise, we rarely fought or argued. Then one day, after living together for over 2 years, she called me when she was on her way home from work, as usual. I was making dinner and asked her how many chicken strips she wanted and told her that I had already checked the mail and she didn’t have to. She said she wanted three chicken strips and thanks for checking the mail. But when she walked through the door, her dad followed in right after her and they started packing up all her shit. I asked her dad to leave and while he was outside I literally cried and begged her on my knees not to leave, asked her why she was leaving, all of that. She wouldn’t give me a straight answer, and after 30 minutes her dad came back in and they packed up her shit and left. I drove back to Louisiana at 2am crying hysterically with my belongings and my dog in the car and had to go live with my mother until I could get a job and afford to pay rent.

On my way back home she had called me and asked me to stay in Houston, that we should go back to dating and she’d come visit me at the apartment but sleep at her dad’s or whatever. I told her that I couldn’t do that, because everywhere I looked in the apartment, I’d just see her and the things we used to do. She told me that she just needed some time to decide whether or not we should be together (without telling me why she was leaving in the first place) and that she would call me the next Saturday after she got off of work. I was so desperately in love with her that I didn’t see this as an asshole move; I just wanted to be with her again. For the first week of living back with my mom, I barely ate or slept. I would sit outside and cry all day, go sleep for a few hours, then go right back outside and cry. I must have smoked a hundred packs of cigarettes. I couldn’t watch TV or listen to the radio or talk to anyone, because everything reminded me of her and I would begin sobbing uncontrollably. So I just sat outside, even though my dog was out there and everytime I looked at my dog I started crying, thinking of the day that we picked her out together.

By the time she was supposed to call me, I had begun spending a little more time inside, but still cried for about half the day and still wouldn’t watch TV or anything. When Saturday came, I went sit outside to await her call 3 hours before she was supposed to get off of work. 2 hours after she had gotten off she still didn’t call me, so I called her. She said she needed more time, she would call me tomorrow. Every night around 6pm I would go sit outside and wait for her call, and she would never call me. Eventually my mom came sit outside with me and told me that this had to stop. She told me about her first real relationship with a woman, this lady named Mary who moved in after my dad moved out when I was around 4 and lived with us until I was around 12. She had always been an asshole to us kids, which is why my mom had broken up with her. Now my mother told me that it took her years to get over Mary, that she compared all of her relationships to hers and Mary’s and that’s why all of her relationships since then had failed. We cried together. I stopped going sit outside and wait for her calls, and instead started clubbing every night with my mom and her friends. This sounds weird, but although my mom is 50, all of her friends are hot 20 year old lesbians, lol.

So I partied hard and I partied often. Although I have social anxiety and I have never been the kind of person who likes doing things like that, it kept my mind off of her and it enabled me to meet other people. Twice she called me while I was at the club and asked to talk to me. Once she asked what I would say if she asked me to come back. The minute she said that my heart broke again and I nearly started crying, but I was too drunk and too proud to let her do that to me again, so I told her that I wouldn’t go back.

It took me over a year to completely get over her. When I go into detail like this and get sucked back into those memories I still cry (happy my girlfriend isn’t home right now, haha), but in day-to-day life I don’t ever think of her. It wasn’t until I had just started to get over her that she called me again. I was with this girl that I was kind-of dating.. we were both still kind of stuck on our ex’s, so it was mostly a sexual relationship, but I had been staying at her house for a few days. I went outside to take the call, and asked her why she had left me. She gave me some non-sense excuse about the fact that I had taken lortabs at work a couple of times and how that was going to interfere with her getting her son back – which would be a legitimate excuse if it had happened often. It happened on three occasions over the course of our two years together, and by the time I had gotten home they had completely worn off. That was maybe 3 years ago, and since then I’ve asked her two other times when I’ve come across her on Myspace or Facebook. She gave a different excuse every time, but last year when I totaled my car and was cleaning out my belongings, I found a picture of her and some other girl together in my trunk. It’s the same girl who she is dating now.

A lot of shit happened after that. Met this crazy chick who told me she loved me the day after I met her, and when I “broke up” with her (we were never dating) she sent me 4 video messages a day from her phone of her crying and telling me she loves me and shit. When I told her I was never going to date her, she moved to Wyoming or some shit… all because I wasn’t going to be with her. I got into drugs pretty bad, went through rehab, got raped by a guy in Narcotics Anonymous. Thankfully my current girlfriend came into my life a couple of months before I had my daughter, and she is still here with me, one and a half years later. I love my girlfriend, I have the best daughter in the world, and I’m back in school studying to become a psychiatrist.

So yeah, sometimes bitches aren’t worth the trouble they come with. ;)

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