October 9, 2013

anxiety and the search for peace: part 1

I am one anxious woman. From the time I get up until I go to sleep... well, assuming I get to sleep, I have a little rock of tension in my gut. It's the never-ending list of shit that has to be done, walking away from temper tantrums (literally), weighing a new top against a shrinking budget, cleaning the dickens out of the condo to sell it, blah blah blah. Not only that, but there is constant tension in my home from various sources.

Meanwhile, my sleep issues continue to escalate. If I fall asleep fast, I wake up about 5 times a night. Sometimes I am awake for an hour. Sometimes it takes over an hour to get to sleep. I try to do all the right things to get a good night's sleep: restrict alcohol and caffeine, exercise earlier in the day, have a bedtime routine, cut off nighttime electronics, and a few other things that have become my way of living. It feels like a lot of things I do during the day are to try to ensure a decent night's sleep, and I'm getting tired of being preoccupied with that stuff.

I usually drink half a cup of hot milk before bed. Depending on my anxiety level I mix it with a strong small cup of nighttime tea. On rare occasions I take NyQuil or ZQuil or whatever. Sometimes I take melatonin, but I hate it because it disrupts my REM sleep so I feel like a zombie the next day.

Once, I went to a general practitioner. His immediate response was a prescription. I tried it. It failed. I stopped. I thought -- is that his only answer for me? I know at least two women for whom a prescription is the answer. That's cool. I just have a feeling that God wants me to do something else. To dig deeper and search for Him in this.

So far, all I know is that I want to sleep well and I believe this begins with peace.

So that's what I'm doing (while I'm brewing tea and heating milk and whatnot): searching for peace and rest. I know that anxiety among women -- especially moms -- is pretty common if not assumed. So I'm documenting my journey in hopes that someone else might benefit from it and shorten their own.

My first baby step: cut back to one cup of coffee per day. This, my friends, is no easy thing. Exhaustion is usually beating down my door and threatening to take over. Caffeine is my morning crutch and it's hard to imagine having fewer than 2-3 cups a day. But I have done it before -- granted I was pregnant and didn't have much choice for the health of my baby, but still.

Here's to a good night's sleep. Stay tuned.