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New York Times  Bestselling Author

Story Weekend: Insomnia

The theme for this Story Weekend is driven by the fact that it’s 3:13 am and I am still awake. I can’t seem to turn off my mind. I’m thinking about my work in progress, a sick friend, how badly the house needs vacuuming, the video John and I are making tomorrow, etcetera etcetera. So I decided I might as well get up and do something productive, and since vacuuming has no appeal whatsoever, here I am.

What’s your sleep story?

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.

▪   Avoid offensive language.

Pleasant dreams!

32 Comments

  1. Debbie Ions on April 28, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I wish I had a good story. I do suffer from insomnia, that is for sure. I lost my job October 7, 2011 and my insomnia is because of worrying about holding everything together. My daughter and son-in-law and my two grandbabies live with me and they have both been unemployed also. Luckily they have both finally found jobs. Myself, I have had two temp jobs, the second which ends next week. I have interviewed for many, many jobs and the interviews always go so well, but then I always get turned down, never for a specific reason, just “not a good fit” or “we are not actually hiring yet”, etc. I know it is because of my age, which is against the law, but it rarely can be proved. Each rejection hits me harder than the last and my depression grows. I have never been unemployed in my entire adult life, so I am really having an increasingly difficult time dealing with this. I know this is not really a story. It is non-fiction, sad but true. This is why I suffer from insomnia.

    • Sheree Gillcrist on April 28, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Debbie. Your post is a true story of life in our changing times and is so relevant to us all today. I am sending you all of my positive energy and healing light. I hope that you find a job soon. Until you do, please know that you are not alone and that someone far away is sending you good thoughts .

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Debbie, this is so hard. I hope something good comes through for you soon.

      • Audrey Bonnell on April 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Debbie, I am sorry but stay positive, there are companies that hire older adults as they have experience that helps where younger people lack those skills. You have lots to offer so try to stay positive . I pray that you find the perfect job soon.

        • JoAnne McCrone-Ephraim on April 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

          Hi there Debbie, I have no doubt something will come along! A few months ago I read an article regarding SMALLER COMPANIES FAVORING EMPLOYEES IN THEIR 50s & 60s, due to their work ethic. So keep the faith and, INSTEAD of corporate America, seek out and apply to smaller companies where YOU will be APPRECIATED! Take care and try to get some beauty sleep:)

    • Cindy on April 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time. I will say a prayer for you to find something soon. This is definitely a sign of the times. Just keep looking up…I wish I had something clever to say or meaningful …like staying up all night doesn’t change anything, so don’t worry. But of course, that does not help at all… Hang in there. Your family finding jobs is a positive sigh and hopefully you will find a great job soon.

  2. Betty Bard on April 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

    This is not a story either, but the only way I can deal with insomnia is to get up and read a book (NOT a DC book). I go to a cushy couch with pillows and a soft throw, and reading a few pages will interrupt the worries that were overtaking my mind. I used to get up and clean, but the activity would soon put me past the point of being tired and it would turn into an all-nighter. But if I get up to read, my husband will usually find me in the morning snoozing on the couch.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Maybe I need to try the couch?

      • JoAnne McCrone-Ephraim on April 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

        Only works with a slow moving, almost boring book!!! Historical bio usually does it for me:) Of course, one of those could keep Nick up ALL night! lol

  3. Sheree Gillcrist on April 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

    My SIL and best friend had set sail on the undulating sea of terminal cancer and was summoned to a city half way acros the country for some experimental treatment. Two weeks into the journey her conditioned worsened and I travelled to be with her so my BIL could have a chance to recharge his batteries at home with their children. After the stay in the hospital we holed up in an aparatment supplied by her employer of which most of the walls were mirrors. A fact that was a great source of amusement to us both as we definitively decided a man had designed it:} Late at night, in great pain, she sought solace and relief lying in the bath. There was only one bed so we slept together like the sisters of the soul that we were. Ever mindful was I that any movement would have her reaching for the morphine and knowing that tonight might be The Night, I lay stock still, wide awake, not moving a muscle.Her voice in the darkness reached out to mine and said ‘It’s alright to breathe Sheree’ and it was only then that I realized that I had been holding my breathe against the passge of time and the undoing of our union. The only time in my life someone had the grace to give me permission to breathe.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Sheree, I’m always so touched by your writing. Beautiful.

  4. Audrey Bonnell on April 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I have problems with Fibromyalgia and this sometimes keeps me awake, better pain then just not being able to sleep because you just can’t make your brain shut down. I have tried telling myself to relax to no avail. Guess my brain doesn’t believe it. It always feels like your the only person in the world that can’t sleep. Take care Diane, here’s prayers for your sleep.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      There’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep because of pain. I know. Let’s both have a good night tonight!

    • Cindy on April 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Audrey, I also suffer with this as well as reg old arthritis. Waking up because of the pain just plain “sucks”. I usually don’t have a problem going to sleep, but staying asleep. It is generally a night of waking and falling back asleep all night long. And crying out when you turn over…Or just hurting for no reason…. I wish you well and hope you can find some relief and sleep.

  5. Cynthia on April 29, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I know that I’m writing this late for some of you, however if you’re still suffering from last night’s insomnia, you’ll see my post. Like Debi, I lost my job two years ago and have not been able to find a job. I haven’t slept a full night since then, worrying about finances and my mental well-being. I’m 56 years old and I have been feeling that my age is against me, competing with younger, more energetic folks. However, something has happened over the last few months that is making me believe things really do happen for a reason. We had to move my elderly father in law into our home as he can no longer live alone. He’s a healthy 93 year old and sharp as a tack, but is confined to a wheelchair and needs help now. So the insomnia continues, now with new worries; can I do this?, will my marriage suffer?, will I be even more isolated having to be home more? Then I began to notice how much joy my father in law gets out of the most simplest of things. He tells me of the five years in an internment camp during the war (he’s Japanese), the things he learned, how he met his wife there and the hope he had for a better future here in the United States. He says his life has been wonderful and considers this “new life” living with us even more exciting! We take him so many places and he takes pleasure in everything! People tell me how fortunate he is to have me, but really, I’m the fortunate one. I think I will stop feeling sorry for myself, enjoy my life the way he does and start getting a good night’s sleep!

    • Sheree Gillcrist on April 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Cynthia.. You moved me to tears. Life is about appreciating the moment. So hard to do with a mind that races to places we may never be. What a gift you bring by being a blessing in your father in law’s life and he in yours.

      • Diane Chamberlain on April 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Cynthia, thank you for sharing your story. You’re doing so much for your father-in-law, but it sounds as though he’s given you something even greater in return. I’ll think about him when I go to bed tonight. His attitude puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it?

    • Cindy on May 1, 2012 at 12:14 am

      Cynthia, thank you for sharing your story. As I get older, the term Wiser seems to become clearer. I find that I can see the bigger picture quicker than I did when I was younger. I think that you are seeing that bigger picture now. In 2003 I had to leave a job that I had for 20 years. I went on disability and felt old and broken and depressed. I was lucky that I had some very compassionate doctors and they helped me get better…not well, but learned to cope with this danged Fibromyalgia. I went looking for part time work and started subbing for our school system. A jr high close to my home was where I chose to work. I found out that I loved these kids and that was definitely a surprise. Who knew that I would love this job. I have since become a full time employee as a HQ Paraprofessional this school year. I work with children with multi disabilities. In these past 9 years I have found out that 4 of my grandchildren have autism. I am now in the school in which they will attend. I see it as the bigger picture and plan that God had for me all along. .. My school children are special Angels that God has sent my way. The blessings that I have received are more powerful and awesome than anything I have ever experienced. I know that people also tell me how lucky these kids are to have me…but just like your Father inlaw…I am sure you feel you are the lucky one…I know that is how I feel…But if I had not had to quit my job, I see all the things I would have missed. Even at 54 years old, I have started a new career that makes me happy. I have never loved a job more. I am in a position to see all of my grandchildren through Junior High. I feel like I have a purpose and I am exactly where I should be. So in this rambling, way over 100 words, I just wanted you to know how special you are… I also wanted you to know I understand how you feel…About being the lucky one to be showered with the blessings that your Father Inlaw has bestowed on you. I hope that those other important details like finances and such are somehow taking care of themselves.

  6. Christina Tebbutt on April 29, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Waking in the night and not being able to return to sleep is so hard, I toss and turn to the point were I have to get up. Getting up means let the dog out, check on my daughter, close all the doors so I can put the kettle on, put the computer on to see if anyone is around to chat to me,lol all this makes me think the next night is it worth getting up in the first place,lol On a serious note I am living in Australia after moving from the UK four years ago with my husbands job, homesickness is hard but reading helps.
    Heres to a good night sleep tonight all.

  7. Amy F on April 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I had insomnia before insomnia was cool. Just kidding. I did, however, go to one of the first sleep clinics in the country to be diagnosed too many years ago to count. I had the pleasure of being connected to dozens of electrodes, but shut up and stopped complaining after the sleep-tech told me I was lucky to be woman, since men had electrodes attacked to their penises (apparently this is no longer the case). I was blessed with two types of insomnia, REM disturbance and Restless Leg syndrome, controlled with medication until a few years ago, when writing my memoir I’d awaken at 3:00am with inspiration to write my heart out. Unfortunately, when I finished all the rewrites, the insomnia remained.
    (Hopefully not) The End

  8. Margo on April 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Debbie, I’m sending positive thoughts your way through my practice of Yoga. I cant imagine what you’re going through but your story makes me hurt for you…and Cynthia, my thoughts are with you too.
    Sheree, your stories always have a way of bringing me to tears. You write so beautifully.
    Everyone with insomnia, my prayers go out to all of you.

  9. kelly English on April 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Ahh insomnia, what is that?. when you have rheumatoid arthritis that is not under control maybe a better word might be sleep? What is that? Being awake at night is so common to me. I go to bed sometimes thinking that I can get by on one kind of pill. After tossing and turning from pain I ramp things up with a heat pad or ice. Ice a joint and then wide awake and cold. Have a hot bath, climb into bed and then sore and in pain again. Up and warm a rice bag. pop another pill that is suppose to relax the tight areas and help. Read a chapter of a book hoping I fall asleep. No – 1:00 am., 2:00 am. Somehow fall asleep only to have the dog wake me up to go out. This is his revenge – he has a disturbed sleep from my restlessness.
    The good thing about insomnia is books. Books help soothe me and take my mind of some of the pain. I also know many of my friends with RA are awake at the same time. somewhere out there, someone is icing, heating and restless. I feel less alone.

    • Cindy on May 1, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Kelly, I am so sorry. I hate stupid pain. And it seems that those kind of nights are the worst. And when you do fall asleep, and that pain wakes you up and it hurts to move…Bless your heart. I wish I could take it away. I forgot to add this to my insomnia story. .. I have had surgery several times. I would love to have some of that sleep meds they use. I want to be able to sleep soundly for 8 or 10 hours just once. I know that people could not understand Michael Jackson…but sometimes I just wish that I could have some of that drug to knock me out for several hours. I can fall asleep…I can’t stay asleep… Kelly, I have known you for a very long time..I had no idea you had this much trouble sleeping… So sorry sweetie…

  10. ita on April 30, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Help! I just finished reading Keeper of the Light and Kiss River and REALLY want to continue the story and read – Her Mother’s Shadow. but unfortunately am having a hard time getting my hands on the book – any ideas?

    thanks so much

    Ita
    Jerusalem, Israel

  11. janisek on April 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Hello Diane!
    I haven’t slept well for 1 single night in the last 4 1/2 years! It has all started with a lots of stress and health problems showed up pretty soon as well! I’ve tried pills, meditation, books and pretty much everything you can think of. I’m still trying to find some help! But sometimes I just loose all hope! 🙁
    I’ve just started my own blog hoping that I’ll be able to connect with other people who have been suffering with insomnia too so we can share our experience with a different sleep aids! If you have something you’d like to share with me on this topic, please feel free to stop by http://insomniehelp.blogspot.com/
    I had some health problems before and had to deal with pain on daily basis for 2 years, but I can honestly say that not being able to sleep is much harder! 🙁
    I’m only 33 and just can’t imagine living like this forever. I’d very much love to have a baby soon, but I’m so afraid that I’ll be not able to take a good care of our baby being so tired all the time. 🙁 Insomnia is destroying my life! I know that I’m not alone!
    I feel for all of you who have the same problem!
    My thoughts and prayers are with you!

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I’m so sorry, Janisek. It’s so miserable not getting enough rest.

    • Cindy on May 1, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Janisek, This must be horrible. I can’t imagine. Saying a prayer for you.

  12. Cindy on May 1, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I am sorry for you all that cannot sleep. I don’t usually have trouble falling asleep, but staying asleep drives me crazy. I wake up sometimes every 30 minutes and then sometimes it might be every 2 hours. I take a muscle relaxer to put me to sleep, but that doesn’t last very long.Before I started taking these it was very weird. I would shut my eyes, and I would start having thoughts about people I don’t even know. I explained to my counselor like this. ” I shut my eyes and it was like ‘Showtime’. People I didn’t know were hanging out and I would be talking to them and watching them. It was crazy. Now that doesn’t happen so much, but I dream all the time and about people I don’t know. I will have several dreams a night. I wish I could remember them well enough to write them down. I think I could write some very interesting movie scripts or books. So for all of you with Insomnia, I hope you can find some relief. As for me, I am going to try harder to write down some of these dreams.

  13. JoAnne McCrone-Ephraim on May 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Although I do not suffer from insomnia there are some evenings when I cannot manage to call it a day. Unfortunately, if my husband retires without me it is a guarantee I will be up most of the night.

    Subconsciously, since health issues surfaced, I may not want to waste even a moment of my life sleeping, which is absurd since proper rest is crucial to well-being. Revelations about ourselves can be life changing, if we heed them. Trust me, I am trying and more often than not I am succeeding!

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