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How I became an Insomniac - chiefboats - 02-27-2017 06:24 PM

I’m not sure when my anxiety issues began but, looking back now I believe high anxiety has been a part of my life since my early teens. Don’t ask why, it’s just the only way for me to explain some events in my life now that I am aware of the condition. The exact event which made me an insomniac is clear.

The incident which sent me searching for answers occurred in January 2016, I was asleep and awakened feeling as if I were drowning, genuinely terrified but could not grasp why. I had also noticed my ankles were swollen for the previous few days, I thought this must be part of the same issue.

I was hesitant to see a Doctor as these same symptoms were present when my younger brother died of congenital heart failure, I did not want the Doctor to look me in the eye and tell me my journey was over.

The chain of events above led me to suffer from insomnia, I could not sleep for 4-5 days at a time. Not even for a few minutes, if I laid down the fear of dying overwhelmed me. Twice during this period, I went to the nearest ER and paid them to sedate me so I could finally rest for what it was worth. It had to end, after about three weeks of this I caved and went to see a regular Doctor.

Giving in and seeing a Doctor.

The doctor ordered an ECG, EKG, chest X-Ray, a MRI on my lungs and urine\blood work done. The short version, I had fluid backed up in my system which was the reason for my swollen ankles.

The fluid was also in my lungs causing the “drowning” feeling. I was given medication which processed out the fluid and it has not been a problem since. The heart and lungs are as best as can be expected for someone my age and background.

What now seemed to be a three week long “Panic Attack” was over BUT, the GAD and Insomnia persisted. I ran across an old edition of Panic Away and began reading, I felt a little better every day as I went through it and tried some of the techniques.

Am I healed yet?

Finally, I reached a point where I felt “normal” but, remember I said looking back the realization was I have been suffering from high anxiety for decades. “Normal” for me was low grade GAD is the best way I can describe it.

Upon getting back to “my normal” I tossed the Panic Away book and went back into regular routine. Everything seemed okay until about two weeks ago, being an NFL fan I woke up early to watch the Super Bowl with some friends at the local VFW.

Getting on with life.

We had breakfast, watched the game and decided to have a few beers. We were all retired veterans so the only ones we figured would complain would be our wives. I stayed out until about six that evening and went home on the tipsy side of the scale.

Oh no, here we go again!

As I neared home, no I was not driving, I begin feeling a sense of dread wash over me. It got stronger when I entered the house, I was bewildered by it as there was no reason to feel that way. At bedtime, I went into the bedroom and there it was, my mind once again telling me I would die if I went to sleep.

The insomnia was back as well as the “heart fear” issues. I have gone back to the Doctor for another EKG, all normal, and blood\urine work which showed high cholesterol as the only problem.

More work to do.

My personal diagnosis is I am having a setback because I never worked through the issues presented in my last severe period. I let pride tell me I was strong enough to get on with life as it was.

All I can say now is I give up; I am not strong enough to beat this on my own. I am ready to accept whatever the future requires of me to find a “real normal” for me, I sometimes wonder if I will recognize it when I get there.

I am sleeping again as I write this but not very well. I also am feeling a little better overall but have a long way to go.