I generally get to sleep within a few minutes of lying down at night. But only a year ago, sleep was a significant issue.
After my hip replacement surgery, I was put on pain medications that made me anxious, kept me from sleeping, and had me pacing the floors on a walker. The dilemma was that, at least for the short term, I had to be on meds and was restricted to an uncomfortable day bed until I could again climb stairs. After three days, I felt half-dead from sleep deprivation. My best sleep came at about five in the morning if I took a light cover and pillow to my little side porch. Sitting, waiting for the sun to rise, and listening to the birds, I would drift off to sleep for an hour or two.
As the nights went by, my nighttime anxieties mounted. Not having had significant issues with sleep previously, I began to worry that this was a new normal, that a new unbreachable pattern was setting in. On day four post-op, I threw the pain medications away. I preferred the pain from my operation to the problems created by the meds. Fortunately, I found that over-the-counter medications worked better for me.
After dumping the synthetic opioid, things began to improve. I was still confined to the first floor but found that if I did get up at night, my cat and dog would visit. Dr. Xenia prescribed purr therapy, and Dr. Max prescribed dog treats as a sovereign remedy for what ailed me. Their monkey shines distracted me from the hip issues and the anxieties from my limited mobility.
This morning, an article on anxieties and sleep disorders was at the bottom of the paper’s website. A flood of unpleasant memories flowed back. What I remember most about those nights was my inability to do anything about the problem. It seems that I have not processed or resolved all my anxieties, and like many of us, I have issues with not being in control of my life.