My insomnia story
I always considered myself to be a good sleeper. Being an anxious type in general, I could always rely on one thing: if I’d face a problem or worry in life, I could always “sleep on it”.
One night things changed. It was January 2020; I was going through antibiotic treatment when on the third day, I lost my sleep and I didn’t sleep at all. I spent the whole night moving from bed to sofa, very puzzled. The same happened on the second night – zero sleep. I immediately thought it has something to do with the pills. As I later read, that particular antibiotic had a rare side effect as sleep disruption, and I was “the lucky one” to have it.
I stopped the treatment, and the next nights went back to normal. Until my business trip a couple of weeks later. That night at the hotel, I thought to myself: “I wonder if I still can lose my sleep?” and I didn’t sleep again.
Going down the rabbit hole
It didn’t make sense, because I was no longer taking the antibiotics. I started googling different remedies. This was the beginning of spiraling down. No matter what I tried, pretty soon everything stopped working. I started having multiple nights in a row of either zero or very little sleep, accompanied by panic and despair. No doctor could tell me what was wrong either.
A couple of months later, I started reading about anxiety and panic, and I noticed that insomnia has a lot in common with phobias and PTSD. I thought to myself – these problems are dealt with relatively easily in psychotherapy, so how come I can’t apply the same principles to my sleep? This is when I started reading about exposure therapy, and it was the beginning of the end.
Things started to get better
The more I learned about how fear and anxiety works, the calmer I became, and I started sleeping better. This was the sign I was moving in the right direction. The principle of exposure therapy helped me face my fears and stop running away from them, but I had to learn way more.
My journey lasted over a year: from the place of total chaos to the complete realization that the only thing that stops me from sleeping is fear of losing sleep. It is NOT a quick fix but it is something that can set us free from the whole struggle.
Insomnia is the ultimate paradox that I’ve ever faced and I found that the way out of that paradox is paradoxical as well. Over that long period of time, I gained a lot of insights that I’m now sharing with others and I see how these insights help people feel and sleep better.
I hope you will find support and encouragement here, too.
P.S. Check out my insomnia recovery story of Daniel Erichsen’s YouTube channel.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start, or feel stuck and need a gentle push, consider a 1-1 coaching session with me.
I’m not a doctor, therapist, or any other kind of medical professional. Everything on this website is for informational purposes only and doesn’t constitute and substitute professional advice or help.