So yesterday, I saw Nurse Awesome for the first time since the summer and we got to have a chat about my dark summer. We both came to the conclusion that lowering the dose of venlafaxine had taken its toll, along with the loss of routine and lack of knowing where I want to go in life. She was happy that I came through it though, as it could’ve easily lead me needing to go back up to 225mg out of sheer desperation to feel ‘better’, but by riding it out I’m reaping the benefits of being on a lower dose.
One thing we did talk about in some length was my recent problems with sleep. Over the past few months I’ve gone from one extreme of sleeping far too much (particularly when I was very low) to not really sleeping enough, as well as struggling to go to sleep. There was also an incident a few weeks back where I actually didn’t sleep for 36 hours, as my brain simply wouldn’t shut off. I got up out of bed and wrote while I watched an old WWE match.
I’ll admit, I was worried she would immediately give me sleeping tablets. I was given a short term dose of zopiclone after coming off prochlorperazine (an antipsychotic… fun) and needed to get my sleeping habits back under control. A week’s course of zopiclone gave me the best, rested sleep I’d had for months – for that week anyway. Once I stopped taking it, the horrific sleeping patterns returned with a bigger bang than before. It took weeks of weepy mornings and semi-comatose daytime naps before I returned to a more natural sleep pattern. Since then I’m very wary of any type of ‘sleep aid’. I know some folks might argue that by taking diazepam that I’m going against that argument, but I take diazepam to fend off psychotic episodes – I don’t have to fall asleep to ward them off, but it helps.
Sleep is my brain’s soft reset, and not being able to sleep properly does affect that vital ability.
But, Nurse Awesome is awesome, and she instead gave me a load of useful advice about tricking my brain into accepting that it’s time to sleep and getting myself into a better routine with regards to bedtime. I’m already working towards a better morning routine, so it makes sense to have a better evening one. I’ve stocked up on (Slimming World-friendly) hot chocolate to have before bedtime and start taking a book to bed to wind down with. I used to do that all the time, even Husband takes a chamomile tea and a book to bed when he needs to get back into a good sleeping pattern. So that was very positive. To quote my Husband, “Chamomile tea is the shit.” Yep, he said that.
We then went back to talking about my struggles over the summer, including the two self-harm episodes triggered by a comment made by someone who shall not be named here;
‘I’ll kill her if she doesn’t kill herself first.’
That was said, along with saying that I lived in a ‘fantasy world’ and that ‘it was all in my head.’ Well, mental illness generally does tend to be in your head… She was horrified by the cruelty from the other person, and even understood my reaction despite it being incredibly borderline. I reassured her though that I no longer want anything to do with that person and I have the Husband to remind me of what that person said to me – he saw the same messages – so hopefully that will override my BPD-driven desires to avoid the pain of abandonment.
So the overall result of our appointment was positive. She’s not changing my medication or the dose and I’ll see her in another three months – whilst seeing the psychologist next week to finish my assessment and determine what sort of therapy might be best for me. It’s looking good.
All this talk of sleep is actually making me tired. I’m going to go cuddle up with my pup.