Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety Induced Insomnia

I can't sleep.  I fall asleep fine, but I wake up obscenely early (1:55 AM last night) and cannot go back to sleep for the life of me.  It's incredibly frustrating - I get up and do things so I'm not just wasting my time laying in bed but then I fear that doing things is what's keeping me from falling asleep so I get back in bed just to be frustrated again by my inability to sleep.

It is affecting every aspect of my life.  My senses feel dulled, my brain is foggy, and I can't focus or concentrate or get anything done.  I haven't successfully completed a full day's work in weeks and I even got into a minor accident with a parked car the other day just because my head was totally somewhere else.  I am easily irritated and anxious all the time, and I cry at the drop of a hat.

I can't live like this anymore.  It's miserable.  I want to cry right now thinking about it, and it's terrible because the less I sleep, the more anxious I get about losing sleep, thus causing me to sleep even less, rinse, repeat.  When I started writing here I could sleep and now I can't - correlation? Causation? No relation?  I can't tell.  I can't find the basest source of the anxiety keeping me from putting my mind at ease and sleeping through a full night, and so I can't cure my problem.

One of the more strange and disturbing movies I've seen is one called "The Machinist", and I find myself thinking about it frequently to determine the source of my insomnia.  In the movie, Christian Bale plays a man who cannot sleep and has not in a year.  As a result, he becomes severely emaciated and is even involved in a work accident where a man loses an arm.

Christian Bale in "The Machinist".  via Wikipedia

Now certainly my accident which caused a rearview camera sensor to go astray and a mild dent in the bumper was not as serious as this one, but it could have been.  I fear getting into my car because what will I do if my mind isn't there?  I drive 45 miles to work everyday.  I can't live with this fear and anxiety about driving.

So how do I figure out how to fix this?  This is a legitimate question - I don't know the answer.  I become obsessive about the things I do and maybe I am checking this for pageviews too much, getting too upset when no one reads, getting too addicted to the attention and validation it brings.  I don't want to stop because I think this is a useful outlet for me but maybe I'm worrying too much about what other people will think of my outlet and not enough about just using it as a damn outlet.  I deeply regret telling anyone in my real life that this site even exists because now it's something to talk about rather than a very personal thing for me and people who I don't know and will never meet and I hate it.

I know I can't spend another day not getting anything done at work.  Each day makes me feel even worse, makes my anxiety balloon out of control, and I just can't fathom how I can live with myself if I feel any worse than I do now.  My head hurts, my mind hurts, my heart hurts.  

In some ways, this reminds me of the short term fixes I used to get by obsessively doing physics and math problems when I wasn't functioning in school.  I would expressly choose problems where there was a right or wrong answer and do them over and over, practicing for tests I had no intention of even showing up to, because it gave me a quick adrenaline rush from the validation of getting a right answer.  I filled my life with these short term fixes to keep from feeling the pain of not being able to achieve any long term goals (finishing school, getting a job, etc).  Now that I don't have such obvious goals in my "to-achieve" pile (I know I want to succeed in my job but I don't specifically know how or where I want to go with it) maybe I'm using this validation of pageviews and comments and Instagram likes and the fleeting pleasure of buying something new as my quick fixes to mask the fact that I am unhappy with myself and not doing enough for me and for getting where I want to be.  

But how will I ever know?

1 comment:

  1. <3 get to feeling better soon. I love your blog and am thinking of you and hoping you find a way that works for you to cope with your sleeping/stresses