helen-louise (baratron) wrote,
helen-louise
baratron

still can't get any sleep

So there went Netscape. A little window appeared, titled "Updating Netscape Client Preferences", and then the whole thing fell over. Bah. I've got to get a LJ client installed, or a more stable browser, or both. Someone said you can use LJ with lynx, which is the most stable browser I've ever seen, but the problem with that is that you can't see what you're typing beyond the last line or so. That would possibly drive me even more nuts than these random Netscape crashes.

OK, so I was writing about Sunday, and why it was interesting in the sense of "may you live in interesting times". My brain's gone foggy about what I was doing on Sunday morning, but I was obviously up late cleaning the house because I wasn't online :) I went to bed around 10 in the morning, planning to get up again around 3pm so that I could go around the shops before they closed (I think I've mentioned the UK's Sunday Trading laws before?). However, I just couldn't get to sleep at all. Taking melatonin didn't help in the slightest. Melatonin is the chemical that's produced naturally when your brain thinks it's time for you to sleep - it's what produces the "bedtime!" feeling that people without sleep disorders get. I was working on the assumption that I was obviously not producing enough melatonin and this was what was screwing up my body clock, so I brought some melatonin tablets back with me when I came back from the USA, as you can't get it here. As it's just a chemical that occurs naturally in the body in similar doses to those in the tablets, it's perfectly safe to take - unlike many sleeping drugs - and it's actually recommended as a good way to reset wonky body clocks. So I expected it to help. Wrong. I'd taken it a few times when I couldn't sleep, but never when I was in the desperation of the sort of insomnia where you're utterly exhausted but can't, can't, can't get your brain to switch off and let you sleep.

It would appear that taking melatonin when I'm utterly exhausted but stressed out causes me to go into a "fight or flight" situation and start producing huge amounts of adrenaline. I found myself totally awake in the sense of heart pounding and blood racing around my body, yet I ached all over through needing to rest and my eyes and head were hurting like mad. I can only assume that my problem is actually not about not producing melatonin, but that my body has been trained to ignore the signal. I've spent so many years at school and university sitting up late working beyond the point when I should really have gone to sleep that it would seem I've lost the ability to notice when I'm ready to sleep. The stress of having to get something finished for the morning is what would produce an adrenaline surge, and it would make sense that I'd get the adrenaline surge at the point where I'd otherwise have fallen asleep - so somehow the instinct to sleep has got linked with waking myself up again, and I've got to learn how to unlink them. Could be tricky - I have enough problems controlling my brain biochemistry at the best of times. I might have to look into meditation and self-hypnosis a bit more, which is the sort of thing I hate as I find the traditional sorts of meditation that I've seen far too "pink elephant" for my liking. (You know, if you're told you're not supposed to think about pink elephants, what instantly comes into your mind?). My well-known bizarre caffeine intolerance really doesn't help, as most people would simply self-medicate by pouring themselves a bit more coffee. Because caffeine even in small doses gives me migraines, hallucinations and fits, I've had to evolve my own personal chemistry for dealing with late nights. Great.

Anyway, so it was late on Sunday morning, and I couldn't sleep at all. I was so tired that I was crying, and I felt so bad that I woke Richard for a cuddle, in the hope that having him nearby and snuggling up with his warmth and his sleepy smell would let me relax enough to fall asleep. It didn't. Not only was I exhausted and stressed out, but I was starting to become quite depressed as well. So I was just crying and crying and crying, and Richard started to get angry with me as he was asking what was wrong and I was just sobbing in reply rather than even trying to talk. We ended up having a shouting match and he stormed out. I cried until I got all my stress out, then I sat and read for a while, until he came back. We never stay angry with each other for very long, and we were both upset and apologetic for having the row. Finally, about 1.30pm, I got to sleep.

I did actually mean to get up again in time to go to the shops, and Richard did try to wake me, but I muttered "need more sleep" and zonked out again. I kinda became conscious around 9.30pm, when I woke up and noticed it was dark. Erk. Double erk, as I was supposed to have been meeting my friend John sometime during the day. Well, I got up and threw clothes on, and we went out to catch a train into London, as I had a craving for a milkshake, and there is a rather fine 24 hour milkshake bar in Clerkenwell that also does reasonable food. On the way we phoned John, and it turned out that he was also on strange hours, and would still be able to meet us - especially as he lives in the City of London himself and so it was only a short motorbike ride for him rather than a major journey with three train changes for us.

All's well that ends well. I had a lovely omelette and 2 huge Mars Bar milkshakes (actually worth the money, as the omelettes at this place are fantastic, and we've never been able to make chocolate shakes at home without redecorating the kitchen - fruit works fine in our blender, but not chocolate - it gets stuck!), got to see John for the first time in about 6 months, and he gave me some books back that I'd forgotten I owned, along with a new pile of comics to read. This was good. We went home, Richard fell asleep, and I stayed up all night doing online stuff - which explains the large number of journal entries in the early hours of Monday morning :)
Tags: h-l is weird, sleep disorders
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