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terrible insomnia

(19 Posts)
Bellini12 Fri 09-Jan-15 07:46:46

I've suffered with anxiety all my adult life and have never been a great sleeper. I took AD's for a short period in my 20's (40's now) but nothing since as I manage to cope even though I have some difficult anxiety periods from time to time.

But for 10 days now I've been suffering with the most awful insomnia. I just can't sleep & toss and turn all night. I have a few sleeping tablets left over from a previous bout and take those one night, sleep, then am back to staying awake the next night. All night, I honestly have had no sleep last night. I'm trying to do all the right stuff, no screen time, no caffeine in the day, exercising more, meditating. I feel nice and relaxed but then sleep evades me and I come to dread bedtimes.

Please can anyone pass on any tips? I'm a walking zombie and no good for anything. I have a permanent knot in my stomach and headache. I don't think I've ever had insomnia this long and now it is self-fulfilling.

I've had CBT in the past which helped with my general anxiety and always tried to stay away from AD's again. But I'm now feeling desperately anxious (though when I sleep on a tablet I feel human again the next day). What do you think? If so, which one is good for anxiety and sleep? Thank you.

Bellini12 Sun 11-Jan-15 17:10:28

Anyone? Any other tips for sleep that I may be missing? It's still no better, I know I am my own worst enemy though.

MrsJuice Wed 14-Jan-15 01:56:56

I am the same.
I have some meds that I take, but I also have a phone app that is really helping, surprisingly.
There is one called 'Digipill'. That's OK - a guy talking and convincing you that you will sleep. Better than nothing, but not always effective.
I now use 'Subliminals'. It just sounds like music, but there are very quiet affirmations, but you don't hear the voices at all. Apparently you do on a subconscious level.
I use the Insomnia Relief, Relaxation and Anxiety relief recordings, using headphones. You can make playlists (it's a bit tricky because the instructions are a bit unclear), and then it will play them back-to-back.
I'm just about to switch it on.
Hope you find a solution. It's awful!

ihearttc Wed 14-Jan-15 16:55:42

I had severe insomnia for almost a year-it started last christmas eve.

On a good night I was getting an hour or 2 sleep...on a bad night (and there were loads of them) I was getting none at all.

GP put me on Mirtazapine and I can honestly say it has changed my life.

Phoenixfrights Wed 14-Jan-15 22:21:18

Another vote for mirtazapine. It is brilliant, really brilliant, if you have depression/ anxiety that manifests as insomnia. However... it doesn't half make you put on weight, so if that's going to make you feel terrible possibly it's not a great bet.

CurlyWurlyCake Wed 14-Jan-15 22:28:59

Have you tried a phone app? I never thought it would help but it really does, I'm currently listening to Andrew something.

You can also try sominex inbetween sleeping tablet nights.

ihearttc Fri 16-Jan-15 13:02:38

Yep pheonixfrights Ive put on about a stone which Im not exactly happy about it but I was literally like a walking zombie before.

I feel like me again. My issue was the Insomnia was actually causing the anxiety rather than the other way round...I spent every single day in a state of panic that I wouldn't be able to sleep that night.

Phoenixfrights Sat 17-Jan-15 15:01:56

I completely understand you ihearttc. If only there was a sleepy anti-depressant that didn't make you put on weight.

And for what it's worth - a stone is not too bad. Although it probably doesn't feel like that to you. I've put on nearly double that blush

Bellini12 Sat 17-Jan-15 18:58:09

Thanks for your replies. ihearttc I think I've met you on a telly addicts thread not too long ago!

Well I took zopiclone sleeping tabs for 2 nights in a row, slept great and felt human again. Tried last night to go without (am taking 'quiet life' herbal tablets), read till my eyes were like slits, turned off the light and.... Was still tossing & turning till 3/4am. It's getting me down now, I too think it's the sleep deprivation which is making me anxious. I couldn't enjoy today with the kids and am already dreading tonight, I could cry.

I didn't want to take drugs but I think I'm heading that way. I have a DR's apt week after next (1st one I could get). I know I'm not depressed but I'm struggling to be positive anymore. To read that some of you have changed your lives gives me hope. I worry about side affects, then coming off them. But anxiety really can rule my life & I would do anything to be rid of it sad

Phoenixfrights Sat 17-Jan-15 23:37:32

Ok... low dose amitryptilyne [sp] was something suggested to me as something that could help sleep. Not habit-forming.

Zopiclone can cause rebound insomnia. That may be partly why you were up all night.

The thing is, you will cope, even on v little sleep. Maybe not perfectly and it won't be pleasant. I'm not saying that to minimise your difficulty. Just trying to take some of the sleep-related worry away.

Have you tried otc Sominex? I find it better than nytol but it is only for short-term use.

Phoenixfrights Sat 17-Jan-15 23:42:48

The Sominex I meant while you wait for GP appt, not instead of.

My depression initially manifests as extreme anxiety and insomnia. So unpleasant. I feel for you.

It might be worth asking GP to check your thyroid hormone levels. Just an aside

ihearttc Sun 18-Jan-15 15:07:40

Ahh Bellini was it on the CJ thread?!

I tried Amitriptyline as well earlier in the year and it did work for a bit but wasn't nearly as effective as the Mirtazapine has been.

I was adamant that I didn't want to take AD's. I wasn't depressed at all (or so I thought) I just couldn't sleep and that was causing me huge anxiety.

Honestly I was surviving...and I mean just surviving. I had no life at all. My 2 boys had a shell of a mum who was too tired and too anxious to function properly.

Im only 4ft 10 so the weight I have put on is quite noticeable (Ive gone from a big 10 to a 14) but I can cope with that...especially as I knew it would probably happen.

Feel free to PM me if you want a chat :-) x

orangeflutie Sun 18-Jan-15 16:15:50

Hi Bellini I sympathise. It's horrible not being able to sleephmm I have had nights when I've got off to sleep and then lay awake for hours or waking too early say 4am and that's it for the night.

At the moment I'm getting anxious a lot and I think part of it was caused by stress and lack of sleep. Just before Christmas I finally had enough and saw my doctor. I now have an Ad I take before bed. It's dosulepin which is similar to amytriptyline as it's sedating. It helps me as if I wake up in the middle of the night now I seem to be able to doze back off.

Hope you can get some help as the insomnia really wears you down after a while.

orangeflutie Sun 18-Jan-15 16:17:31

Btw dosulepin doesn't seem to cause weight gain on low doses.

Bellini12 Tue 20-Jan-15 16:55:42

Thanks so much for the messages of encouragement.

Yes ihearttc it was the cj thread! Like minds and all that...!

I've had a fairly decent last 3 nights. But I've been pretty pleased with myself as I've been taking half a zopiclone tablet which has taken the edge off. Still wake up in the night but managed to get back off to sleep without sitting up for hours and getting distressed. Wow, what a difference, I feel human again & the anxious knot in my stomach is finally subsiding. BUT the tabs won't last forever plus I'm not naive enough to think I'm out of the woods yet. My DM isn't in great health and I know I'm worrying about that...

I did Google those AD's you mentioned. Do they just help with sleep or anxiety in general too (which would be a bonus)? I too am short and worry about putting on weight. I've always been slight but feel now, in my 40's, it is not so easy and that might get me down. Did you have other side affects? I'd not heard of dosulepin either. Dr Google says DR's don't always prescribe it anymore but clearly that isn't the case! I'm so pleased to hear you have found something that works.

Honestly if there was something I could take that made me less anxious, slept well with no groggy side affects I would bite your hand off!!

I've got the Drs next week so really need to think about what I'm asking for. It's scary how quickly I can spiral sad

Bellini12 Tue 20-Jan-15 17:10:17

Forgot to say, I was put on amytriptylene when I had a really rough patch in my 20's. It was a welcome relief as it zombified me and made me sleep. But of course back then I had no kids or major responsibilities.I have memories of feeling like a 'space cadet'. But I was in a bad way and needed that feeling as was so anxious and tense I could hardly breathe. I have 2 kids now and they need me compus mentus (but then I am stressed, cranky and tearful when I don't sleep).

I had my thyroid checked 6 yes ago as lost a lot of weight after having DD even though was eating well. The conclusion was lucky genes! But worth a mention.

Thanks again.

ihearttc Sun 25-Jan-15 13:47:46

Bellini yes indeed...Ive watched many episodes while not being able to sleep.

The Mirtazapine has helped me with all my anxiety. It has enabled me to go to bed knowing that I will fall asleep which in turn has helped all the anxiety in the day time as well. I don't feel groggy on it at all tbh but then I managed for virtually a year on a hour or 2's sleep a night so my general state of being has been groggy lol!!

I have taken dosulepin as well. I took it for nearly 10 years. I won't bore you with the whole story but coming off it triggered the current period of insomnia. I had PND/Insomnia after I had my older son and was put on it then-it worked perfectly for nearly 10 years then I was told I had to come off it as they were stopping making it. So I did a tapered withdrawal and was fine for about 3 months then all my anxiety and insomnia came back with a vengeance. I struggled on for a year thinking I had to do it without anything before I admitted defeat and started taking the Mirtazapine.

If I was given a choice between Dosulepin and Mirtazapine Id probably pick Dosulepin mainly because it agrees with me and doesn't cause me to gain weight but as far as Im aware its a very old AD and is being slowly withdrawn whereas Mirtazapine is much newer. Honestly the weight gain has been the only side affect and I can live with that as long as Im feeling like me again which I definitely am.

orangeflutie Sun 25-Jan-15 14:09:32

Just reading through ihearttc is dosulepin being discontinued then? Really hope not as it's an AD I feel safe taking. I had terrible side effects from citalopram and one dose of mirtazapine landed me in hospital!

I seem to be able to get through the summer months on little sleep but it seems to be in the winter when it all has an impact on my mood. I've tried zopiclone in the past but was told that I couldn't keep taking it. It wasn't a recommended path...

Hope you all have a good night tonight.

ihearttc Sun 25-Jan-15 14:51:23


Well thats what I was told by my GP which is why I had to come off it...would have never changed otherwise as it is the "perfect" AD for me (for want of a better description). I even took it through my 2nd pregnancy. It is apparently a very old AD which has been around many years and very few GP's prescribe it now..I found this out while I was in hospital having my DS2 as half the doctors hadn't even heard of it!!

I had a severe reaction to Citalopram and Fluoxetine I think it was but that was 10 years ago hence why they decided to try the Dosulepin. I was really worried about taking the Mirtazapine but it seems to suit me nearly as well as Dosulepin does (would be perfect without the weight gain!).

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