The myth of eight hours: why I will NEVER medicate myself for sleep ever again!
I haven't been able to write much over the last few weeks since I've been so busy with other things.
I seem to spend all of my time being some sort of social media manager come PA, intern (copying and pasting text into files), PR expert and therapist!
This is a shame considering all I want is to be able to write, but, for anyone who has similar ambitions, unless you simply want to write for your own amusement, you have to do a tonne of other things if you intend to get published!
Anyway, I'm back today with a post on sleep - a topic which always seems to crop up in mental health/illness, and which has been on my mind again in recent weeks.
The golden eight hours - a total myth and here's why!
Ok, I'm starting with a bombshell this morning - I've been monitoring my own sleep and that of others recently and the eight hours thing is a complete myth!
I've come to this conclusion after spending months analysing my own sleep patterns and literally asking everyone I meet about the quality and length of their sleep cycles.
And I've not met one person yet who tells me they get eight hours.
Now shall I tell you why this is a problem?
Ok, well the media have f*&^ed us all over again, because this means that a lot of people who get less than eight hours sleep a night are now asuming that they have a problem when in fact there is nothing wrong with them at all...
And when this becomes a major problem is when they go to their doctor and get given addictive and brain altering sleep medications which they may then become trapped on for years on end (or even a whole lifetime)...
Why I will never medicate myself for sleep EVER AGAIN!
Before I write anything about this I need to mention two caveats which are:
Everyone is different and...
Please do not stop taking your medication cold turkey!
Doing this can cause even more problems unfortunately because the withdrawal problems are often worse than the initial illness or the side effects when taking the drug!
LITERALLY INSERT EMOJI WITH HANDS OVER EYES AT THIS JUNCTURE...
So, what I'm getting at is that the medications have caused me no end of problems and in fact, the withdrawing process (plus the brain damage from them) has been responsible for most of the disruption to my sleep.
And here's another bombshell....
I am now so far ahead in this mental illness recovery mission that I do not even accept that I ever even had bipolar disorder...
I know that's a MASSIVE statement but here's why:
My whole bipolar disorder was created by the drugs themselves!
In the early days of my illness, the initial depression I was experiencing was medicated with a myriad of antidepressants.
These horrid things just propelled me into a 'mixed bipolar state', giving me panic, terror, insomnia, racing thoughts of suicide, sweats, brain zaps and hallucinations (to mention but a few hideous side-effects).
When I write this stuff down I get sad because I know that I could easily have been killed at this point and this is when ALL of my friends who have been lost to suicide died - during the time they were being medicated with antidepressants...
It's obviously a huge can of worms but the point I perpetually come back to is this:
If these drugs are even potentially responsible for one person's death then how can they be ok for anyone?
Other sleep drugs are just as bad
I'm not going to go into depth here when I've already written so much in other posts (not to mention my 130,000 word manuscript) but...
All of the sleeping drugs (like benzodiazepines which are all the 'pams' like diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan)), are a DISASTER too!
Not only are they disgusting and simply medicating the symptoms of these disorders rather than healing the root cause, but they are also highly addictive, turning people with unprocessed trauma into zombified drug addicts as well!
Really doctors - this is genius.
Biggest culprits - venlafaxine (Effexor), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), ketamine (fucking disaster do not go near it!), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and worst of ALL quetiapine (Seroquel)
Having gone through almost the entire drug selection of the pharmaceutical cartel, miraculously survived the iatrogenic harm, AND painstakingly withdrawn from ALL of them, I can now confidently say that I will never take anything more than a cup of chamomile tea for sleep ever again.
The most confusing thing in this whole process has been that my sleep was decimated after twenty years of trial and ERROR with the drugs and the last bastard one 'quetiapine' shot my sleep into a million pieces.
It took me nearly a year of a very strict taper to get off it... and my sleep has only just recovered nearly eighteen months later...
Although the quetiapine extrication was (to describe it oxymoronically) - a nightmare, in terms of sleep, things had improved towards the end of last year but then I had another blip...
This happened in February on the night of the 22.02.22.
Having been sleeping well for several months, I did not sleep at all that night and then for only three to five hours a night for the next few weeks.
If I'd gone to a psychiatrist at this point I would no doubt have been told that this was 'evidence of my condition worsening' or some such thing, and been medicated with sleeping drugs.
As it was, I identified the problem, and things have sorted themselves out on their own.
So, the conclusion is that my sleep has been restored but I am not even nearly an eight hours'er and I do not worry about this either!
So what do you do if you are experiencing sleep problems?
I do understand that sleep problems (particularly in the withdrawal stages) are HORRENDOUS but the only way to get through it is to suffer the pain and to employ as many other natural (and safe) alternatives as you possibly can.
Here is a list of the things that I have found useful:
No caffeine whatsoever (so no tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or chocolate)
Chamomile tea or horlicks before bed
Lavender pillow spray
Turn phone off
Dump all thoughts down on a piece of paper before turning in
Ironed pillow cases
Put on a podcast if wake up early and lie perfectly still
Ground yourself in nature
Get out of the thinking mind
Nap when you feel the brain will accept sleep
Journal it out of yourself
Read before bed with candle
Listen to very relaxing playlist (Enya!)
Bath an hour before bed
Do not worry about it.
If I sleep badly I refuse to stress over it anymore. I simply accept it, start writing and then factor in a nap in the day and retrain my brain to accept sleep.
The last bombshell to mention here (and I am simply past caring what anyone thinks anymore) is that I have had a massive spiritual awakening since recovering from a near death 20 year nightmare and this has also compromised my sleep.
Ask any spiritualist or healer (or Dr Russell Razzaque and potentially any psychiatrist who is genuinely interested in the mind) and they will tell you the same - awakening seriously lessens sleep.
On that note I am signing off!
All this stuff is so important but will anyone ever notice?! I am guessing not.. and shall I tell you why?
They are all fast asleep!
Oh the irony!
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,