"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Struggle with Insomnia

I have always had some difficulty sleeping, ever since I can remember.  But the last few years a noticeable pattern has begun to emerge.  The winter is particularly difficult for me, during these months I experience severe bouts of insomnia.  It's the type of insomnia that makes it hard to even function.  I really thought about this as the summer turned into fall.   So I decided this year, I would be proactive and take steps to take care of myself during this time.  I tend to be the type of person who just copes and gets on with life.  There is still school to be done, meals to make, programs to attend, chores to be done - so I just do them.  My children notice me short on the patience but all in all, I just do what needs to be done.  Most often I suffer in silence, I didn't want to approach it that way this year.  I wanted to look at it holistically - not just from the physical side.

Don't misunderstand - I realize I must do what I can physically.  Here are some of the things I am doing:

- 2000 iu of vitamin D per day
- on a good fish oil
- on some  magnesium
- a jaunt outside, particularly when the sun is shinning
- lots and lots of water; lemon water is best
- epsom salt baths
- deep breathing techniques before bed
- limit screen time before bed

These are good things to do, combined all together, they appear to be helping.  I added a couple as the season has progressed.  December was especially brutal for the insomnia.  It was just so bad and I was thankful for my husband being home for most of that month.

When you loose sleep, it is not only physically exhausting but it's mentally debilitating too.  In all the sources of information, I have come across, I haven't seen a whole lot about that.  The information tends to be more about how to alleviate the physical part of the problem.  Honestly, though, there is no quick fix for insomnia.  It's not easily solved.  I have struggled with it long enough to understand - it's a very long walk.  As I considered this more, I knew I had to approach this time of struggle in a far different way emotionally.

I prayed a lot about it.  I prayed for it to be taken from me but so far, it hasn't happened. :) So I feel a bit like Paul, it's that thorn, it's that time when Christ becomes more and He is truly my strength.  I prayed God would help me find a way through it then.

In a society where everything is so quick, so readily available, I knew that the temptation would be to just spend time online, with social media outlets.  When I am so tired it would be easy to indulge.  I needed something peaceful, something to still my mind not agitate it or fill it with loads upon loads of information.  :) I also needed to give myself permission to take special care of myself during this time.   So with those things in mind this is what I have done to take care of myself during this time.

- spend quiet time reading/praying in the morning
- drink my tea or coffee (while it's hot!)
- indulge in the past time of letter writing (this also helps me keep in contact with people when I don't feel like I can handle conversations on the phone or a social networking site)
- write in my common place notebook
- read poetry and other beautiful things
- take lovely pictures of good moments
- limit the amount of activities I have going.  This was essential, I struggled last year with doing other things because I was exhausted, making driving or participation in these activities difficult to cope with.
- do something I find very enjoyable.  For me this has been art.  I am not fantastic at it but I sure love creating and enjoy learning how to do different techniques.  I am taking an art class, and am also taking part in The Documented Life Project.   This is essentially a year long art project in the form of a journal.  I look forward to this every week. :)

These things have helped me more then I can express.  I may not be getting stellar sleep but I am learning to find enjoyment and rest through other means.  I have also learned to be gentle with myself.   I can't be all things right now, it has been okay to take a step back and sow seeds of rest.  I have come to think of this time as one in which I am hibernating, still growing but in different ways. :)

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