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Sleep deprivation and depression

(12 Posts)
Sleepdeprived123 Wed 03-Feb-16 08:54:52

Hi. I've never posted on the internet before but here's hoping someone out there will be good enough to listen and advise....

I have a lovely three year old son. However he does not sleep, he's never slept properly and is under a paediatrician for his sleep disorder, however all medical professionals have drawn a blank as to the cause. His sleep disorder constitutes waking every 45mins- 1.5 hrs when he has got to sleep and when he is awake he is awake for 2-6 hours in the night. Last night he slept from 8pm-10pm then 3am-4.30am. He doesn't sleep in the day either. This severe lack of sleep means he has a lot of accidents, walking into things etc and finds it difficult to cope at nursery. They struggle with him too.

This has been the situation for three years and I am struggling to cope and think I am suffering from depression. I'm exhausted beyond belief. I work part time as a supply teacher after giving up my permanent teaching job as I couldn't cope with the pressures of such a demanding job on no sleep. I'm struggling to function at work, even as a supply teacher. I love my son so much but I feel like such a failure because he's struggling to cope day to day with his tiredness and I'm no better. I have involved every health care professional I could in this situation but no one seems to understand how debilitating sleep deprivation is on all of our quality of life. My son is developing well and people just tell me to get on with it but I have been coping on a few hours broken sleep a night for three years and I've just reached breaking point.

I am pretty sure that I am suffering from depression but I know the cause is lack of sleep so I am reluctant to go to the doctors to get medication as I feel that if I got regular sleep I would be fine. There are no family members close by to help. Any advice and thanks so much for listening....

Theodolia Wed 03-Feb-16 12:39:26

This sounds absolutely horrible and no wonder you are feeling so bad. Would it be possible financially to hire a night nanny in the short term so you could at least get some sleep? But having said that there is no shame in taking medication for depression (although they canhave side effects in themselves). I hope things improve for you soon x

Sleepdeprived123 Wed 03-Feb-16 13:20:09

Thank you for your reply. It's nice to know someone is listening. Thank you for your suggestion. We've considered it before but it was so expensive. We were quoted £80+ per night and whilst you can't put a price on sleep (as I've learnt) I would actually need to work full time to cover the costs but then the nursery bill would go up so no, I don't think it's financially viable. I reduced my hours because his nursery couldn't cope with him and said that they really didn't recommend him attending full time. He's been to two different nurseries since then and they've all said the same. In addition My sons paediatrician has said that it would take at least 6 months for me to begin sleeping normally as I now have a 45 minute sleep cycle! They've also offered us a sedative for our son so we can get sleep in the short term, however even after a weeks good sleep the issues would still be there and very quickly everything becomes too much again.

My husband and I are going to discuss me giving up work. We've just hit breaking point today and it's work that makes life so difficult for me. It's very hard to function in a class of 30 teenagers when you've not been to bed. I feel more able to cope and actually happy and calm when I'm at home but I get very stressed when I have to leave or go anywhere. I just feel like it's obvious to everyone I'm a complete mess, with massive dark circles and every day I feel hungover, with a headache above my eyes and struggle to think straight, although I should point out I gave up alcohol a long time ago! The answer is to solve the sleep issues but we've involved everyone possible and no one has any answers or suggestions so until then I think I need to find a way to function and cope. 😁

Theodolia Wed 03-Feb-16 14:49:34

Poor you! Would it be worth trying the sedative just to get some breathing room?

TeaT1me Wed 03-Feb-16 14:51:38

We've had very disorders sleep (turned out to be sleep apnea) and there is absolutely no way I could have managed teaching with that level of sleep deprivation. I'm still pondering links with depression myself but I was physically exhausted.

Sleepdeprived123 Wed 03-Feb-16 15:23:22

I hate to admit it but we did give in and sedate our son. I feel awful just typing this. Unfortunately it didn't work and he spent the night clawing and scratching at the walls trying to climb them, then the following day rocking in a corner. Apparently it can have the opposite of the intended effect of sleep and result in hyperactivity then a massive comedown which is what we saw.

TeaT1me sorry to hear you have suffered severe sleep depravation too. Are you sleeping ok now? How did you cope at the time? Did you work? Do you feel that the sleep depravation has led to possible depression and that in time with proper sleep it will improve?

We are seeing the paediatrician in a couple of weeks and am going to mention the possibility of sleep apnea as my son is a mouth breather and snores. His reflux has also returned and he has started with motor ticks when he becomes excessively tired. I'm not sure if these things are linked but to be honest whenever we have an appointment I feel so let down as they take one look at a happy, smiley, bright little boy and say he looks fine. At that moment in time, on a good day he is fine but they don't see the night times and the complete and utter exhaustion that is this household the majority of the time and that all of our qualities of life are so poor. I fear that no one will listen until he starts school and then can't attend or cope because he's so exhausted.

mellowyellow1 Fri 05-Feb-16 16:39:21

Oh god you poor thing, you must be at the end of your tether.

Have you looked into privately paid sleep clinic that specialise in sleep disorders? Like the one's you see on the TV where they have to be wired up. Can't be much fun for your little boy either. I know it sounds awful but sometimes you have to pay to get the help you need as the NHS is so blimming overstretched they might just try and fob you off.

And no-one can blame you for trying sedation, do not feel an ounce of guilt about that, I'd have done exactly the same.

Really hope things work out one way or another and you get some sleep one day

Sleepdeprived123 Fri 05-Feb-16 18:06:41

Thanks for your kind words mellow yellow1. I have pursued private health care as we do actually have it however when my son saw the paediatrician privately she said that she didn't think there was anything wrong and that a lot of children just don't sleep. She actually asked me if I wanted him to be ill! My husband who is usually a placid character was fuming.

We also paid a Harley street sleep expert to analyse His sleep diaries and routine and advise accordingly. We followed her advice to the letter and when my sons sleep became worse and I asked her to review her advice she did not respond to our queries or give us the support we'd paid for. Obviously we affected her "success rate" when she claimed it would take 2-3 nights to get my son sleeping and 2.5 weeks later he still wasn't!

We then tried to get my son into a sleep clinic privately but there still has to be a referral from the GP / paediatrician. It took me over two years to finally get the referral but it appears that there is nowhere that is willing to investigate because they don't think he has sleep apnea, despite the fact he snores and is a mouth breather. I have been told that there are no sleep clinics for insomniac children, only adults. Every clinic that I've researched and then pursued have rejected us on the basis that most children don't sleep and that he'll grow out of it.

To make matters worse we have recently relocated to be close to my husbands work as he worked away a lot and I was struggling to cope. A referral was made by our old paediatrician for us to see a paediatrician in our new area. We got the appointment after waiting nearly 3 months but yesterday I received a letter saying that he'd cancelled the appointment and referred the issue to the local health visitors as this was not something he felt should be dealt with by a paediatrician. So now, we're not even in the system I have to start the fight all over again. My son is refluxing again, has developed motor tics and his sleep is as bad as ever but no one seems concerned.

I have also been undergoing tests at the doctors as I have been menstruating for several months continuously (sorry TBI) to discover I have a severe hormonal imbalance brought on by excessive and prolonged sleep deprivation. It is evident that this situation is now seriously affecting my own health.....

Actually mellowyellow1 you've given me a kick and I'm going to re-look into private clinics. I think I have more evidence that my son actually has a sleep disorder now as he's a little older. Thank you x

mellowyellow1 Fri 05-Feb-16 18:34:13

Oh god you poor thing you really sound like you've tried every avenue. I don't understand how any health care professional can think it's normal for a child to survive on that amount of sleep!

Sorry to sound ignorant and possibly out of line but are the tics connected to tourettes in any way? I really don't know what I would do next in your position but it sounds like he is suffering so much as are you, I really hope you get some help somewhere, keep pushing on with it! x

Sleepdeprived123 Fri 05-Feb-16 19:47:53

Mellowyellow1 you're not at all ignorant or out of line, I appreciate any help or advice that anyone can offer! I don't see how any human being can survive like this let alone a child but they keep reiterating to me that he is developing well, ahead of his years in fact and he seems happy because he interacts and is sociable. Of course they don't see the rest of it. Tics can be linked to Tourette's although apparently a lot of children can develop tics and they disappear, it's fairly common from the reading I've done. Some children do go on to develop Tourette's although I'm trying not to think the worst as I don't think I can take much more. I don't know if there is a link with the tics and anything to do with his sleep apart from what I've researched myself. I've withdrawn him from his current nursery as they couldn't provide for him adequately and he's been at home with me all week and despite some horrendous nights this week, we didn't sleep on one of the nights, his tics have subsided. Having spoken to his nursery they have not been able to highlight any event that may have led to these but it certainly seems that something stressful happened to him as he is refusing to go back and he normally loves nursery! Am going to spend the early hours of the morning researching sleep clinics but of course if anyone is reading this and would like to recommend one then please don't hesitate.

InherentFilm Mon 15-Feb-16 13:05:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Mummyt1983 Tue 23-Feb-16 04:57:29

Hi can anybody help I feel really low an down and I'm 11 weeks pregnant my partner don't care I have a 4 year old I lay in bed at night in tears then get up an carry on with a fake smile I am terrified to go drs cos If they call social services that will break me even more I don't know what to do

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