For many years I have had trouble falling asleep. I would lay there for an hour or two with my mind running in circles, jumping from one thought to the next. After hours of doing this I would finally give in and get back up. I would sit and read a book until I felt I could sleep. Then by the time I would put the book up, turn the lights out, use the restroom, and get into bed I would be wide awake again. Then I learned that if I just took my pillow and blanket with me and laid on the couch and read that I would fall asleep much quicker. However, this became a problem in my marriage. My husband felt that I was sleeping on the couch so that I didn't have to sleep in the bed with him. This was the furthest thing from the truth, I love to snuggle with him.
So my search began on how to make myself be able to fall asleep without going through hours of tossing and turning. The tossing and turning also caused problems because m husband had to get up early for work and this kept him awake. It was a no win situation. If I slept on the couch it put a barrier between us, but if I didn't then I kept him awake half the night. Not to mention I had little ones to take care of in the mornings. So my struggle continued as I would fall asleep around four in the morning only to have to wake up between six and seven to care for my kids.
Eventually the lack of sleep became a major problem also. I was cranky because I wasn't getting enough sleep. I had no energy to cook, clean, or anything else that needed doing. By the time I had taken care of the kids all day and any errands that needed to be done, I was wiped out. I surely did not feel like spending family time with the kids and husband when he got home. Nor did I have to energy or the urge to be intimate with my husband. By the time I finally got the kids bathed and in bed, I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep. But any of you that have been through this will know, the moment your head hits the pillow, your mind goes to work, thus another sleepless night.
My husband was a great help to me, he would help with the kids when he was off work. He would even help do laundry and cook. But eventually began to feel neglected and hurt. Only now that I am older can I look back and see what we were both feeling. At the time though I could only think of myself and how tired I was. We talked and he told me he felt neglected, that just added to the list of things that run through my mind when I tried to sleep. Now on top of everything else I am failing as a wife. He did really try to understand what it was like or me, but in retrospect it was not an easy road for him either. He would get up, go work all day out in the hot or cold weather, come home, help with the kids, help with cooking, help with cleaning, and then have to go to bed alone because I was unable to sleep. Had I been able to see through his eyes I am sure I would have tried a whole lot harder than what I did.
Eventually I started taking Tylenol Pm's and was finally able to fall asleep. Then I was able to get the sleep my body had been denied. I was able to care for the kids, clean, and cook dinner. But anyone woman can tell you that after being supermom all day it is very hard to go from mom to seductress after the kids are asleep, but that's another story. I at least was able to get some sleep. But as with all medicine, eventually I needed two instead of one. Then two weren't working so I had to take three. Fortunately, I never overdosed on Tylenol because when I started taking three I started having nightmares. So, back down to two and it would just take longer to work. I know this was caused by the medicine because several people that I know experienced the same effect from taking two of them the first time they ever too them. Eventually they stopped working completely so it was back to the couch so that I could fall asleep. We tried putting a small reading lamp in the room so that I could read in bed, but it prevented my husband from sleeping.
Again we suffered through my lack of sleep. The housework became unimportant and so did cooking. As long as I made sure the kids were full, I didn't care if we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a frozen dinner. To a man that had been working 12 hours out in the heat, this was a problem. It caused serious marital problems. It went so far that we actually filed for divorce. We stopped it the morning we were due in court for the divorce to be final we said this is not what we want. That was what I call a close encounter.
Eventually I found that Nyquil worked wonders for helping me to sleep. Once again peace returned to our family. I was once again able to fall asleep and get the rest that I needed. But of course it did not last long. My body became immune to the Nyquil. I tried various other over the counter sleep aids, they would work for a very short time then I became immune to them. Eventually I started having severe anxiety attacks and was put on xanax. I was way to young to have been put on those but that is besides the point, they helped me to sleep. Eventually the dosage had to be increased, and then because of severe migraines that appeared to be caused by tension, I was put on muscle relaxers also. All this worked for a while but again with almost any medication, it will eventually not work like it did at first.
My doctor then put me on a sleeping pill called Restoril. For some reason this sleeping pill worked really weird on me. It didn't matter if I took it at ten at night or seven at night it would not work until after midnight. Once it did work though, I would sleep hard for twelve hours. As a mom of small children this was a serious problem because I could not wake up and if I did get woke up I fell right back asleep. Obviously this medicine was not for me. My husband and I agreed that I would not take this medicine no matter how bad things got. So we were back to me having trouble falling asleep. It was a vicious cycle that we did not know how to end. We moved from Texas to Arkansas and I had to switch doctors.
The new doctor prescribed me Ambien. Wow amazingly I could fall asleep easily and wake up not feeling drugged. This worked for a few months but then the dosage had to be increased from five milligrams to ten milligrams. Again for a while it worked. Then I started having trouble staying asleep. I could fall asleep with no problems but within a couple hours I was wide awake. The doctor told me that this was not uncommon and that they had come out with an Ambien that fixed this and it is called Ambien CR (control release). It seemed as if this was an answer to our problems. The only downfall is it was very hard to wake me up in the mornings.
After awhile I began to think I was losing my mind. At one time I had a photographic memory. Anything I saw or heard was forever branded into my mind. But suddenly I began to forget things. At first I only noticed small things that I brushed off as something that was just not important enough to remember in my hectic life. My husband works as a civilian contractor in Iraq so I have lead a pretty hectic life recently. It was not surprising that I had begun to forget small details. I was taking care of everything and worrying about the safety of my husband who was in an area that was being bombed daily. Who wouldn't forget to pay a bill or pick up trash bags?
Then came time for my husband to come home for a short visit. There was major hysteria at this point in our life. My mother had kidnapped two of my children and I did not know where they were or if I would ever see them again. I had been up for days and finally knew I had to get some sleep. After all I had my youngest child here to tend to. I took my Ambien CR and fell asleep in the recliner so that I would be near the phone and computer in case my husband was able to call or get online at any of the airports. I woke at six am in a panic because he had not called me. I finally calmed down and fell back asleep for an extra hour. Upon waking I was really upset thinking the worst was happening to my husband and my children.
My husband called at eleven that morning. By then I was in tears worrying. He was fine and could not figure out why I was so upset. Through my tears of relief I explained that I was worried sick because he had not called to let me know he was safe. To my utter surprise he said that he had called and we had talked for about twenty minutes. He knew everything that I was going to tell him but I had no recollection of the phone call. Not even after him telling me everything we had talked about, did anything trigger my memory. I knew he had called because he could have not known the things he knew, otherwise I would not have believed he had called. I passed it off as nerves causing my lapse in memory. And I assured myself that it was not anything important. I had more important things to think about. My kids were returned to me just hours before time to pick my husband up at the airport.
During my husband's three weeks at home it became apparent through many incidents that my memory lapses were only occurring from about fifteen minutes after taking the Ambien CR until morning time. Anything happening after I took the medication and through the night, I have no memory of. Unsure of why this was happening, we made a trip to the doctor. The doctor then told us of the problems people were having with memory lapses while taking this medication. Apparently there were many instances where other people were suffering from temporary amnesia also. That is what the doctor termed it. And here I thought I was just stressed out.
I quit taking the Ambien CR immediately and the doctor wanted to try me on a different sleeping pill. This time she gave me one called Roserem. This medication did not work at all, after a week of taking it and not sleeping I was ready to pull my hair out. Then she tried me on Lunesta. After about three days I developed a sore spot on the top of my head. It would not go away. So I quit taking the Lunesta and the spot hurt a whole lot less but has never went away.
For the time being I am back to taking just the plain Ambien. It still helps me fall asleep without making me forget anything that happens. I am so thankful that I am not one of many of the people that drove their cars and woke up in the police station with no recollection of how they got there. And that I am not one of the ones that something bad happened and they were unable to react. For those people I feel a lot of remorse because I know how this affects people.