- topicMental Healthtagged by Grover, 3/28/13
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Chronic post-partum Insomnia - Page 2post #21 of 594/13/13 at 8:14amHi Grover. Just want to chime back in with some internet hugs for you. Insomnia is so dreadful, and you have so much going on. I believe you will figure this out! (I'm resisting the urge to just ship a bottle of Kavinace to you for the meantime! But I respect your desire to not self medicate.post #22 of 594/17/13 at 6:39pmThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by planet
Hi Grover. Just want to chime back in with some internet hugs for you. Insomnia is so dreadful, and you have so much going on. I believe you will figure this out! (I'm resisting the urge to just ship a bottle of Kavinace to you for the meantime! But I respect your desire to not self medicate.
Thank you planet.
It's nice to have internet hugs.
Things are boringly unchanged - but something weird did happen last night. I slept for a solid 6 hours. Which is one hour more than my usual 'best' nights. I was still tossing and turning from 5am onwards....but well, that extra hour just got tacked on there for some reason. Maybe there's hope. Maybe it's just because I'm so exhausted? Maybe it points to the sleep restriction thing working for me, if I dared to try it properly (which I don't at the moment).
I would (and have before) totally self-medicate...it's just that the options are so infinite! This mineral, this vitamin, this herbal concoction...this diet etc. I try something for a couple of weeks - like Melatonin, or Magnesium...then get all peeved because nothing changes, and just give it up again. Maybe with all those experiments I wasn't nearly patient enough?
The doctor is looking like a faraway dream at the moment with everything that is going on. I haven't even found the time to go back for my final two dental appointments (overdue for those by about a month already, whoops).
So - my current thinking....to stop myself just giving up altogether, and going nutty - is that partner and I have agreed to quit smoking properly - disgusting, soul-destroying habit that it is (we've yet to decide a date, but I think within the next month), and alongside that I'll cut out a lot of caffeine and sugar - maybe take some general multi-vits, B's, Magnesium. As people that smoke then quit know, quitting makes you VERY tired (actually, you're just running on normal speed - not slightly hyped up all the time from nicotine).
This, at least, I can do for myself. I just can't be so unhealthy on so many levels. The sleep thing is very very bad...I can feel my immune system crumbling. I need to strengthen myself a little. If I'm really keen/enthused - I'll try and thrown in a bit of exercise.
Beyond that - I will have to see how it goes.post #23 of 594/17/13 at 8:11pmI've skimmed through a bit more of this. What I read sounds like an adrenaline response to me. With adrenaline in your system, you can only sleep when exhausted. Then you are awake. When you do wake in the night, is your pulse more like an active pulse, or resting one?
If it is adrenaline, you can exercise to use up some of it before gong to bed. Other than that, you need to find the cause. I'd guess an allergy, possibly food related. Keep a diary or log of activities, food, mood, and sleep. Then look for patterns
Long term sleep deprivation will effect mood, and can cause depression. Take time to take care of yourself.post #24 of 594/17/13 at 9:53pmThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by pek64
I've skimmed through a bit more of this. What I read sounds like an adrenaline response to me. With adrenaline in your system, you can only sleep when exhausted. Then you are awake. When you do wake in the night, is your pulse more like an active pulse, or resting one?
If it is adrenaline, you can exercise to use up some of it before gong to bed. Other than that, you need to find the cause. I'd guess an allergy, possibly food related. Keep a diary or log of activities, food, mood, and sleep. Then look for patterns
Long term sleep deprivation will effect mood, and can cause depression. Take time to take care of yourself.
Hi again. Thanks for your thoughts. I do think there might be something in the adrenalin theory. I will try and take my pulse sometime. The food allergy seems more unlikely as my diet hasn't changed for years. I'm not generally an allergic person - and the insomnia only came about post-partum - so unless pregnancy etc has made me allergic, this one doesn't seem to fit. Also I don't have any other symptoms you might expect...? Thanks though.post #25 of 594/18/13 at 7:27amFood allergies can be mild enough to go unnoticed, then get more severe as a result of physical or emotional stress. Pregnancy, childbirth and new baby all count as stressors. Also, if you buy processed food, recipes and ingredients can be changed without you realizing it. I had that happen to me a few times!! It can't hurt to check your pulse and keep the log. Maybe nothing will come of it, but if you do discover an issue, you will have taken the first step to better sleep!post #26 of 594/21/13 at 5:55pmThread Starter
I haven't had my wits about me enough to check my pulse in the middle of the night yet - though I suspect it is not 'relaxed'.
Had an interesting few nights:
Following the miraculous 6 hour night - I just went back to 'normal' the next and the next night. Then I had another 6 hour night! Wth!? Woohoo........?? Well, maybe not. Kind of back to norm again now....but maybe the whole thing is winding down somehow? I don't know. I had to stay up late with the kiddo last night - sort of a random sleep restriction experiment - didn't get to bed again, or asleep until after 1am. That would be the time that I'd have to stay up for to try sleep restriction properly. In theory, I could've slept for 5 hours, and woken up at 6.30 with my alarm. But no. Woke at 4. Then again at 6. Bummer.
/end of update, where I demonstrate nothing is changing much, and I still have no clue.post #27 of 594/21/13 at 6:16pmpost #28 of 594/21/13 at 10:41pmThread Starter
No. And to be honest, I don't think I'll be starting to do that. I eat very healthily, and nothing has changed about my diet in years. I understand your point about pregnancy changing things....but, well, I'd need to feel as if I had other symptoms of an allergy - which I don't think I do.post #29 of 594/22/13 at 11:02ampost #30 of 594/22/13 at 11:49am
I've just skimmed through the thread.
First, you mentioned in your original post that you had an unplanned c-section after a long labor. We have a support group that might interest you, so feel free to join if you'd like to connect with others who can relate to that experience: http://www.mothering.com/community/groups/show/25/unplanned-c-section-support-group
I was so out of kilter after my c-section that it took a very long time to get myself back on track. My DD did not sleep through the night, not even once, until she was 27 months old. I night weaned her at 30 months. So that whole time she was nursing multiple times a night, and so I got used to waking up. And then for about 18 months after that, I would continue to wake up during the night, usually around 2:30 or 3:00 am, and often I would not be able to get back to sleep for hours, or sometimes not at all. This would happen 2-3 times a week.
I was so sleep deprived that I couldn't think properly and I wasn't functioning emotionally either. It was bad.
My diet was fine & I was getting exercise regularly. I didn't want to be prescribed sleeping pills, so I didn't bother going to a regular MD.
What finally helped me was:
--Acupuncture. I really think this was the best thing. I think my sleep system needed to "re-set" after so many years of disruption, and acupuncture did it for me.
--My acupuncturist also recommended an herbal tea that I started taking every night before bed. And I think it was effective because I started a routine of "winding down" about an hour before bedtime and sitting quietly and drinking tea. I no longer use that particular herbal tea, but I drink some chammomile every night before I go to bed, and I think the routine is important for me.
--I started being a stickler about having a consistent bedtime & nighttime routine. I get myself to be between 10-10:30 every night. And I give myself time to wind down first.
Now I rarely have insomnia, and when I do it's usually because something has knocked me out of my routine and I haven't been able to take my "wind down" time and get to bed on time. I can usually get myself back on track by just getting back to my routine.
GOOD LUCK! I know how miserable it can be to be chronically sleep deprived. I hope you find some relief soon!post #31 of 594/24/13 at 6:29pmI just checked this thread again. So last night I didn't fall asleep until 4 am and than had to be up at 6:40. I am fine now...I will be miserable tommorow. And I was peeing constantly. Since I recently had blood work and the whole nine yards at 2 diiferent exams and don't have any other symptoms that would be anything like diabetes I thought it might be 2 things: I am premenopausal or it is something in the vitamins I take. I am 41 so it could be hormones but I am still nursing so I am not sure if that is possible. At any rate I have stopped taking all vitamins (I was taking a multi and Cal/mag) maybe it is not vitamins in general but the particular brand I am taking...like someone mentioned maybe it is an intolerance to the ingredients they used. Also yes I do have hyper mommy radar. For the 3 rd time in less than 2 months my kids or I have had some type of stomach bug. Anytime I hear a cough or noise at night I immediately perk up and worry "is someone throwing up?" Weird I know but gosh after weeks of going through this it is hard for me to relax at bedtime.
So I thought maybe I would throw that out there...not taking any supplements and checking any other medication. I know high amounts of b vitamins can bother people. My youngest daughter does have serious anaphylactic food Allergies and I do notice she sleeps poorly when exposed to one of her allergens if it is a small amount however she will also break out with excema patc
I used to smoke...I smoked for 20 years I quit right before I got pregnant so only been 5 years not smoking now...wow weird to say that. Anyway...best of luck in quitting. I just got through each day and didn't think about the next day and then it got a little easier over time.post #32 of 595/17/13 at 6:03pmThread Starter
I have nothing exciting or particularly positive to add to this thread. Life is so suffocatingly busy and stressful at the moment, I have barely had time to breathe - let alone think about my own health.
I thought though I would pop in and just quickly mention that over the last month, I have had maybe half a dozen nights where I think I've slept a solid 6 or 6.5 hours. Every other night of the month is more or less the same old, same old - waking after 4 hours, then 2, then 1 etc.
But I live in crazy hope that maybe whatever it is, is somehow burning itself out very, very, very slowly.
I have not managed to get any more help. Have not managed to quit smoking. Having an even more stressful time about money - and our kiddie has chosen now to give up napping (every second day, no nap - for TWO WEEKS)...and has, quite frankly, turned into a little terror just of late. Her timing is absolutely atrocious.
So overwhelmed as usual, with all this....that the insomnia pales into comparison, as a problem to be quickly solved.post #33 of 595/17/13 at 6:49pmpost #34 of 595/27/13 at 3:52pmThread Starter
A small update. I haven't changed anything about my lifestyle, NOR gone to see another professional, or doctor. But for some reason it seems that my unbroken sleep periods are stretching themselves out a little.
In the last three weeks I have had more 6 hour nights (still waking early though) - and on one night had a record-breaking 7 hours unbroken!! Woooohoooo!!
I can't say I felt any more rested the days following though - I suspect a sleep debt as huge as mine is going to take months of 8-9 hour sleeps to pay off. But at least it's something...and in the right direction. Unfortunately the inbetween nights are still very random, broken, and depressing - but they are slightly fewer now.
I've been wondering what has changed - and looking back at notes I've made about my own sleep, and my daughters...it seems like the 'new' unbroken lengths of mine are corresponding pretty much with her dropping her naps! Argh! Which she has been doing on and off (dropping lots in the last month).
So, my conclusion is that I'm just SO exhausted from dealing with her for the extra time during the day that my body/brain has finally given up a bit. I crave a proper reason...something more medical or scientific. Especially for any other mother's suffering the same way. But for the moment, I'm just trying to go with it...and crossed fingers, it will continue in this vein...and 8 hour sleeps might be somewhere on the horizon. When I started this thread, after years of insomnia - that looked totally impossible - but now I have a little bit of hope.
Edited by Grover - 5/27/13 at 4:03pmpost #35 of 596/14/13 at 4:23am
OK, this seems obviously an adrenal issue. My story's almost the exact same as you, except I am BFing my youngest too, I'm going crazy w/the lack of sleep. For adrenal tests you can order a home saliva cortisol test, it tests your levels a few times in a day. You can also order your own blood tests w/o seeing a doc.
I wake and can't sleep btwn 2 and 4 too. Something about the cortisol/adrenaline/and with me - hypoglycemia.
I agree w/the allergy thing, everyone wants to blame food intolerances for everything, but that would stress me out even more, trying to dig for some food related issue, not worth it. I'd rather concentrate on eating healthy. I try to eat a lot before bed, a very balanced meal. Sometimes I still need a snack during the night. It sucks, hope we find answers soon. I'm sure my problem is adrenal fatigue/low thyroid and upon fixing it everything else will fall together. Recovery is slow though and frustrating. I'll be following, post anything that helps or changes!
*sometimes valerian helps. i forget to take it though, i made a tincture. I think nothing will really help until the underlying problem is solved. If you research AF more it explains the night waking biologically.post #36 of 596/15/13 at 6:13pmThread Starter
Hey there yippiehippie,
Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are right about the underlying issue being the thing that needs sorting. Obviously sheer exhaustion is just not enough for my body/brains bad habit of waking to go away all by itself. I did look into adrenal fatigue, but got a little overwhelmed with the necessary lifestyle changes. Have also taken every 'natural' supplement I can think of...melatonin, cherry juice, honey (for AF, totally did nothing, in fact, sleeping got worse somehow?) and valerian.
My unbroken sleeps have continued to multiply....I know not why exactly (?) - but now I seem to be able to sleep for 6 hours unbroken, maybe 3 or 4 nights out of every week. The other 3-4 nights I'm still waking twice after only 3-4 hours a time (or 1-2 for the last waking).
It still remains frustrating, but I really am just so exhausted constantly I just don't have the energy spare to do anything about it all at the moment. I realise how pathetic this sounds, but we are nearing the end (I hope!) of a completely gruelling house-build. We are still not moved in, but am hoping against hope we can get the last things done in the next two months and actually get in before we all go bonkers. All my spare/awake energy has to go on this right now, and looking after our daughter.
I'm pretty sure that the 'underlying' issue for me is stress. Stress from simply becoming a parent - I'm still in shock I think? though slowly getting used to it...I'm still reeling with the 24/7 aspect of parenting, and especially the insanely early mornings, every single morning forever and ever and ever. It's been pretty tough on me in that sense...and I was hugely unprepared (naive?) My daughter's atrocious sleeping when she was little has set me up in a rather anxiety-laden and fretful mental space, which I'm SURE has something to do with all of it. That, and biology? I still think I'm somewhat stuck in fight/flight mode of breastfeeding, even though we stopped that a long time ago now.
Secondly - stress of the house build and money woes.
So - I'm hoping when we finally get into this blimmin' house - at least one of these stressors will cease to be a factor. Also when my partner and I are able to go back to more 50/50 sharing of childcare...I will also get more time to myself to relax/heal/de-stress on a daily basis.
Am just hanging on for dear life! But am still grateful of two things:
1) That my girl is a good night time sleeper now (knock on wood)
2) That there are some 6-hour nights I'm getting. I still can't feel the difference...until I have three 6-hour nights in a row, then a horrible wonky wakeup night - and the day after the wonky one, I really feel it!
One last little thing (which still points to hormones, and I might have already mentioned...but don't have time to re-read my own thread!) is that just prior to my period is when I have the worst wakeups. It seems quite predictable. Two days before...bad night. Always. Hmm.
When I finally get some time/peace - I will get back on the case of it all. Even though things are slightly better...I still can't survive like this forever. It's still killing me slowly. I know I need at least 8 or more hours ideally, nightly. (I used to, pre-baby, regularly sleep 9-10 hours - I am...or WAS a BIG sleep-monster. 6 or 4 or 3 hours is for the Margaret Thatcher's of the world...not me. Though, I grudgingly accept that as a parent it might now be reduced - but PLEASE, can I at least have 8 if I am in bed early enough to actually get 8 or 9!?)
Good luck with yours!! Let me know if you find our anything interesting!
Edited by Grover - 6/15/13 at 6:31pmpost #37 of 597/13/13 at 3:09pmGrover--if this is still affecting you then, to me, it sounds like you are feeling so overwhelmed from being a mom that it is affecting your sleep. I experienced this at one point in my life and it was caused by overwhelming stress that i didn't know how to handle. I just read another thread in which you posted that your daughter wants your attention nearly all the time and you dont know how to say no. Your comments in this thread and that one show that you have a lack of boundaries with your daughter, which would cause anyone stress. Its okay to say no, its actually healthy, she needs to learn that you are not a machine and you dont live only for her. Its impractical and will only lead to burn out and its also quite near impossible to enjoy the time you spend with her since you lack clear boundaries with her and often play with her out of a sense of obligation. This is what i got from reading your comment, if it doesn't resonate then just ignore what i said. If what i'm saying is helpful then i encourage you to find your real voice and your sense of balance--those two things will help you relate to your daughter in a healthy way, they will also help you sleep better and reduce your stress levels.post #38 of 597/13/13 at 4:21pmThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by PrimordialMind
Grover--if this is still affecting you then, to me, it sounds like you are feeling so overwhelmed from being a mom that it is affecting your sleep. I experienced this at one point in my life and it was caused by overwhelming stress that i didn't know how to handle. I just read another thread in which you posted that your daughter wants your attention nearly all the time and you dont know how to say no. Your comments in this thread and that one show that you have a lack of boundaries with your daughter, which would cause anyone stress. Its okay to say no, its actually healthy, she needs to learn that you are not a machine and you dont live only for her. Its impractical and will only lead to burn out and its also quite near impossible to enjoy the time you spend with her since you lack clear boundaries with her and often play with her out of a sense of obligation. This is what i got from reading your comment, if it doesn't resonate then just ignore what i said. If what i'm saying is helpful then i encourage you to find your real voice and your sense of balance--those two things will help you relate to your daughter in a healthy way, they will also help you sleep better and reduce your stress levels.
Hi there. Appreciate both your comments to me in the two threads. You are absolutely right about the stress, and the stress of being a mother. I suppose, right from the start I have not dealt with it particularly well, and whilst mentally and emotionally I try and stay on top of it (for everyone's sake) - there is a point to be made that it is manifesting itself very physically, with other things - primarily the insomnia (which continues unabated, and is horrible) but also teeth grinding, which, since my dentist told me about it...has also gotten much worse it seems.
We as a family are under a ridiculous amount of stress at the moment. We are trying to finish up building a house to move into. The process has been long, fraught with trouble, and now we are broke, right at the last hurdle. We should have moved in weeks ago, but we are still desperately trying to finish things off which is taking all my and my partner's energy. Truthfully, I just have no room in my psyche to contemplate my own problems....or doing things differently, until we GET INTO our new house. Whereupon some stress will be immediately alleviated as my partner can take on more child care.
Thus, I don't know why I keep posting on the forum in some ways (can't seem to help myself?) - as I'm not in the position to really think, act, or *do* anything about anything right now. I suppose I'm still interested in people's opinions, and can file it away for a few weeks hence, when things are more doable. I hope.
I have always been a bit of an A-type personality, and this combined with the fear I seem to have developed (or, anxiety anyway) of being a good parent to my daughter (my mother deserted me when I was 3....my daughter is nearing 3...and though I don't believe in this as a deep-therapy issue - it does cross my mind occasionally that I must do the very best for her I can...) and external things that are constantly testing me and proving very frustrating....well, I guess I'm not surprised I'm a bit of a mess.
Having a child has turned me into much more of a worrier. I just worry about everything. Her safety, her well-being, her emotions, my ability to raise her well...the list goes on and on. I frighten myself a little by how imbalanced it all is, and how difficult I'm finding it currently to 'relax' about things I can't foresee or change.
The trouble has always been that I have always solved my own problems - fixed myself - healed myself etc. The fact that I haven't got the time and energy to do this (because of the house, but also the energy is used with my daughter each day) is foreign and hard do deal with.
But I do agree with you. I need to find myself again somewhere in this mess (which, on the face of it, is not too bad....my daughter is a very happy child anyway, and healthy) and work slowly towards getting back some peace, physical and emotional.
Just a small note on the LO. I/we do say no to her frequently...and I have methods of gently getting her to tend towards what I need her to do, and most of the time things are fairly good. She is 'spoiled' (couldn't think of a better word) by my attention at the moment, but that is partly happening because a) I have not had work to do (I do have some work on now, home based - though mostly I do try and do it when she is in bed) - and b) because I am caring for her all day whilst my partner works on the house.
But...yes, you are still right - there is room for improvement. It would be nice if she were a little more independent. She is such a strong little kid in so many ways - very challenging...and I do need to learn how to set some more boundaries with her.
If for a moment to even think about it! (she says, spending 15 minutes writing this...)
Edited by Grover - 7/13/13 at 4:32pmpost #39 of 597/13/13 at 4:47pmThanks for writing back. I understand about the stress of trying to move into a new home, i've been there myself. Please dont feel like you have to defend yourself, though, i'm just a stranger who is giving advice based on very limited knowledge of what is going on.
I also understand what its like to be abandoned and how that affects your feelings about being a mother. My mother never physically abandoned me but she very much did emotionally and that definitely took its toll. I have struggled with feeing good enough when it comes to being a mother and i've recognized how i would often try too hard in order to make up for that sense of lack. I think that was a big reason for why i felt compelled to write to you. You seem to also struggle with feeling "good enough." Maybe re-read what i've written when your life has calmed down a bit if you feel its helpful.post #40 of 598/4/13 at 2:29pmThread Starter
A non-update, update:
We've been through a little roller coaster of a time of late. Our wee girl came down with an unexplained illness (see another thread) - which, though over now (?) has caused chaos for a couple of weeks with her behaviour and sleep.
My sleep is still where it was at - though, it seems when I'm really, really, really exhausted (e.g. was up all one night with her) - I seem to be able to do a 7-hour stretch. But now that that time has passed, I'm back to where I was mostly. Some nights I manage to sleep for a full 6 hours, before waking at 4-5am. Other nights I wake up at 2-3, then again at 5.
We haven't moved into our new house yet. Soon I hope....soon.
And I also am still hoping against hope that it will make a difference to all of us. Alleviate some stress - allow my partner and I to share childcare more...etc.
Will update again after we move.
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