Hello TWOM folks. @allisulli back with another blog. For those of you who don’t know me, or missed my first blog here, this is what I was thinking back in October on World Occupational Therapy Day.
What inspired me to take another swing at blogging is my persistent, chronic insomnia. Insomnia is a very common “occupational barrier” (as we OTs like to call it), and it seems to make its unwelcome presence known frequently in the world of mentalists. A quick look around twitter seems to bear this out:
@VexedLes shared this tweet:
Sleep aid, not working. Emo stability, wavering. Mental processing, rage. Deep breathing & relaxation is making me wild eyed. #BPD #insomnia
Blogging took off some of the extra tension from this evening, but I’m still wide awake. #insomnia I deserve it. I feel awful.
And @underthebpd noted:
I can tell you what isn’t happening. Sleep. #insomnia #bpd
There are also a lot of “professionals” around on twitter with advice about insomnia.
@LifeExtension offered these tips for improving sleep:
@SleepDrTeam shared these facts about sleep deprivation:
While @WarmMilkJournal shared these helpful suggestions for nighttime:
It is comforting to me, if not all that helpful, to recognize that insomnia is common and that there are many different ways for addressing it effectively. One strategy that I recently discovered, however, and haven’t seen anyone else suggest, is using the powerful network of peer support I have developed in many different time zones, mostly through the magic of twitter, to help me relax.
When I get wound up very late at night (or, more accurately, early in the morning of the previous night), I can find myself in a pretty scary place that includes panic attacks, strong emotions, and potentially negative behavior. At 4 o’clock in the morning, however, most of my typical supports are unavailable. My husband, my therapist, and every one of my close friends are all deep into their own night’s sleep, and I have never been satisfied with the results of waking any of them when I can’t. I sit frustrated and frightened, counting the minutes and coping as best I can. I long for human companionship that can offer a kind word and help distract me from negative thinking, someone who understands my frustration with my lack of sleep and can commiserate and be compassionate with me about what I do when I feel this way.
The great thing that happened to me in the middle of my latest 4 am freak-out was that I remembered it was 9 am in the UK. I knew people there who would possibly be available and could talk to me in a way that might help me calm down. I sent a DM to one of the lovely friends I made through #BPDchat. Sure enough, she answered right away and was able to exchange messages with me. It was so helpful. I felt so happy and relieved to be able to confide in someone without disturbing my spouse or waking my therapist. It was comforting to be supported in the moment by someone who appreciated my struggle, and it was also uplifting for me to see myself as having increased my virtual support system to such a degree that I was able to benefit from this technology in this fashion. I relaxed almost immediately, and was able to salvage three whole hours of blissful rest before I tackled Monday.
So for those of you who don’t give in to Morpheus without a fight, here is a suggestion: try some overseas support. I know Twitter is a mixed bag in terms of how one may use it when feeling stressed. Internet addiction and insomnia have been linked in recent studies and if internet usage is a trigger for you, please recognize that you will likely be better off seeking alternative methods to improve your sleep. But if you have made some friendly connections abroad through the internet and through groups like #BPDchat or #recoverychat or #mhchat, you might find that you have a friend who can talk just when you need it most. Good luck and good night~ alli