Insomnia

I’ve mentioned before about how I struggle to sleep without self-medicating, (drugs, alcohol, etc) a direct result of PTSD.

As of February this year I started my recovery journey as a survivor of domestic abuse.

I have an ADHD diagnosis as well as Autism, anxiety (full blown panic attacks).

My childhood and upbringing was toxic, and oppressive to say the least.

With all this said, you can imagine that I am working so hard just to keep my head above water. I’m barely functioning with the cards I was dealt.

So of course, any kind of traumatic event is more than just “destabilising” for me. It doesn’t take much for something to completely derail me.

If I’m constantly anxious then I’m getting increasingly fatigued but with my cortisol levels through the roof, I’m wired as fuck but running on empty.

I want to try and sleep without drugging myself or drinking alcohol but my brain won’t shut up.

Im not getting a good nights sleep, which is affecting my ADHD which means my thoughts are completely disjointed which is causing me to panic even more.

Every night I’m battling the urge to drink or drug myself to sleep.

Some nights I win and some nights I lose.

If I win I will eventually fall asleep and get a few hours in. I feel like shit but I’m one step closer to being less dependent on drink or drugs.

On the nights that I lose I get a solid 8 hour sleep. On one hand I hate myself for being weak but I find that I focus really well at work – which makes me feel calmer…

Until it’s time to go to sleep again and the battle starts all over again.

So last night I won – about 3/4 hours sleep I think – but I must have looked so rough for a colleague to point out to me that I look tired.

Fuck I felt such a pang in my heart when they said that.

Not much else to say on this other than, tonight, I lose.

Sleep walking to addiction

Over the last few weeks I have spent most evenings under the influence of alcohol. I haven’t been able to sleep without it.

It all started when I got some news about changes at work, which was isn’t the end of the world but destabilising – so I started using alcohol as a coping mechanism

I hate myself for it.

I am a social drinker and alcohol was never a coping mechanism for me in the past.

I come from a family of alcoholics on my mums side, so my relationship with alcohol is messed up. I actually hate it and I hate myself for needing it to cope right now.

Part of the distress I am going through is feeling that I’m not in control and at the same time my brain trying to rationalise WHY I have I started using it now.

I normally drink craft beer or pale ale and now I’m on the Gin & Tonic of all things. I don’t even really like Gin but this fancy flavoured stuff is so damn strong at 40% alc.vol – it gets me where I need to be in a *very* short space of time.

I’m trying to justify it to myself – like, I am struggling to sleep and alcohol makes me sleepy quite quickly, and I feel a million times better if I’ve had a proper nights sleep.

How the fuck has piece of news like this sent me spiralling again?

It’s because I’m still very fragile.

I mean, I know that a big change at work is destabilising for anyone – and of course something like this will cause me a bit of an autistic meltdown.

Is my fragility (PTSD) an explanation for taking alcohol as a coping mechanism?

I’m thinking back to my relationship with my abuser and how his drug and alcohol addiction affected me.

He would drink every night and I ended up drinking with him. I was only having a couple of beers but I was drinking just because he was. I was able to nip it in the bud.

But I’m also remembering the drug addiction part. Like, how he would torment me and then administer Xanax to calm me down. Xanax isn’t prescribed in the UK and he bought them illegally from the dark web.

Needless to say, I was dependent on his supply and this was one of the ways he had control over me.

The physical withdrawals coming off the Xanax were insane. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that for as long as I was dependent on the Xanax then I wouldn’t be able to leave him.

Anyways, back to now…I was doing so well but I’m back in that place struggling to sleep without alcohol or drugs.

I wanted a break off the booze so the last couple of nights I drugged myself to sleep with a cocktail of diazepam, phenegram and propranolol.

Believe it or not, the drug cocktail has made the whites of my eyes really white, which is amazing.

I feel so rested but I need to keep the drugs for emergencies.

I have half a bottle of fancy Gin (43%) in the fridge.

I know I’m sleep walking to addiction if I keep going like this but I don’t know how to break out of it.

Self-medicating so I can sleep

It is no wonder that I am exhausted. Due to my PTSD I am averaging at about 4 hours sleep a night, and that’s if I sleep at all.

My sleep issues are a mixed bag. Of course I am struggling to fall asleep at night but also the quality of my sleep is really poor at the moment.

I have tried a few things like adjusting the room temperature, avoiding gaming. Even after a 10 mile hike in the country, I am waking up a few times through the night.

Last night I decided I was going to force my body to sleep for a minimum of eight hours solid, which I achieved by self-medicating on a cocktail of:

  • Propanolol (for high blood pressure)
  • Promethazine Hydroxide (anti-histamine)
  • Syncol (a pre-menstrual relief pill that I picked up in Mexico)

It totally worked. I woke up feeling so rested and although I was a bit drousy from the pills, I felt a million times better. I felt lighter and like there was more ease in my body. My brain was switched on, I didn’t dither about and was able get ready for work and out the door in 30 mins.

I really needed that.

There is a part of me that feels a bit wary about this concoction I’ve made up but the pros definitely outweigh the cons (or risks) because of how great it feels to finally get a proper nights sleep. Also, I waited 2 months for my life to settle and my sleep to recover naturally but it wasn’t happening so I had to do something about it.

I looked online to buy more of this Promethazine Hydroxide. My plan is now to literally drug myself to sleep for 1-2 nights in the week.

This recovery and self-care malarky is quite complex, even more so when you have a weird ADHD/Autistic brain that doesn’t want to shut up at the best of times.

I miss having someone to hold when I drift asleep.

I could really do with a hug and some reassurance right now.

I feel like I’m on this journey on my own.

Yes I have various professionals and service providers looking after me (and I am extremely lucky to have these services available to me), but it’s not the same as a hugs and kisses and support from someone who really loves you, is it?