Painsomnia

Painsomnia means “I can’t sleep because I’m in enough pain that my brain can’t shut down for the night”.  A term I did not coin, “painsomnia” is nothing new.

Tonight is one such night. Everything hurts, especially my left heel, which my doctor is still trying to figure out what it is about.

How to deal with it? Well, for starters, I have taken my pain medications as prescribed. This usually helps, but tonight, it’s not enough. It doesn’t help that I had a seemingly random anxiety attack, and now I’m anxious about getting anxious… But let’s address the issues one by one.

Pain.

I can’t escape pain. Nothing that has been prescribed actually helps it enough. I have gotten to it to a certain extent, but pain levels fluctuate. I have better days and I have worse days. Tonight falls under worse. To a certain extent, I have already accepted that I will be in pain the rest of my life. This helps, because now I don’t have to focus on how to reduce the pain, but rather on how to manage it. Tonight, I’m managing it by taking my mind away from it for a bit.

Anxiety.

Since my anxiety attacks are somewhat random, I can get anxious about possibly getting anxious. I know it sounds a bit weird, but trust me, having anxiety attacks in public can be a bit embarrassing, thus creating further anxiety. So how do I deal with that? Well, breathing mindfully. That is, turning all my attention to my breathing patterns and consciously slowing down my breathing, making sure it’s not shallow.

Distraction

Distraction is a good way to reduce pain, because your brain gets engaged in other things other than just the pain, ultimately reducing it. And breathing slowly and fully, and mindfully can help bring anxiety levels down. This mindful breathing also creates a distraction, so boom! Two birds with one stone.

Commitment is a rather complicated subject, although in essence, quite simple.

Commitment, for example, is when I set up this blog and figured I would be posting regularly. But, (insert excuse) life happens, and even though I sank a few dollars into it, it was not enough to seriously commit to writing regularly.

However, my life has been full of other commitments lately. My son got diagnosed with high functioning autism (HFA), and after the initial shock and disbelief, came the commitment to make sure I do everything in my power to equip him with all the tools to manage his autism.

Since the last post, a lot has happened in my life. I got divorced from my son’s father – a rather tough decision, since I do believe marriage is a life long commitment. Talk about breaking commitment. On the other hand, I found love again with a boyfriend (with whom I have a rather long history) who accepts me as I am. We got engaged and married in June. Commitment!

I also bought a little house that needed more repairs than meet the eye, and through the stresses of it all, I committed myself to a 30 year mortgage and making it the best possible home I can. I’m still working on that one.

I also decided, right around new year, that I would write daily, for the love of writing, to get used to expressing ideas on paper… That lasted a whole 5 days, and none of it made it to my blog.

However, one special kind of commitment I have taken quite seriously is my mental health recovery. Oh yes, there have been moments on which I just want to throw the towel, but it’s been around 5 years since I started this recovery journey, and I must say I’m glad I have stayed committed, in spite of days of despair and desperation.

This is why I think commitment can be very complex. Oftentimes, you commit to an idea, to a promise that may not work as you expect. And then commitment comes crumbling down.

When I first committed to my recovery, my attitude was quite hopeful and naively remarkable. I thought I could beat depression in 8 weeks if I just put my mind to it. And for about 2 years I rarely missed appointments, groups, therapy, medication regimens, followed diets, etc. It was almost an obsession. Then one day, reality sank in. I was 2 years into a recovery treatment, and while I had made some strides, I hadn’t beat depression or PTSD or psychosis or fibromyalgia and to top it off, my migraines were becoming more frequent, more severe, and quite disabling. My son’s father, who at the time was my husband, started questioning whether I would ever get any better… And so did I.

My marriage fell apart (for a myriad of reasons) and had to start over. This was at the very least overwhelming, if not downright maddening. And I questioned commitment… Including my commitment to recovery, but I stuck by it. I knew I wasn’t getting the results I expected, but I was getting results.

Three years later, my life is better. Yes, I still struggle with all the aforementioned health issues but I have learned to manage.

And this is something I want to share with you. When you commit to recovering, you will recover. It might take you less time, or it might take you longer… (I’m still on the journey) but you will achieve results. I guarantee it because if you take care of yourself, nobody knows you better than you.

Commitment… So complex, yet so simple…