Now Introducing Insomnia To My Mental Illness Cocktail

I’ve lived with mental illness for about ten years now, but I had not yet truly experienced insomnia before. Sure, I had the occasional bouts of restless sleep, times where I’ve struggled to fall asleep, or one all-nighter every now and then. The closest thing I had to insomnia was the two weeks I had to pack-up my Vancouver life and move to Toronto - but that lack of sleep was more self-induced in an effort to get it all done! But never in my life had I felt true insomnia. That is until I became a full-time entrepreneur.

Insomnia has been long linked to depression and anxiety. Sometimes the insomnia is a symptom, and sometimes it’s a trigger. No matter what, the disorders feed each other, making it extremely difficult to break out of either.

Shortly after I started my business full-time, I experienced my first round of true insomnia. Everything felt so crazy during those early days though, so I barely noticed it and it seemed to go away on its own. It was likely tied to the stress and fear of doing something so new.

Then within a couple weeks, it came back with a vengeance, around the time all technology stopped working for me. This time, I really noticed it. I would be up for hours, my longest run of no sleep hitting near the 72 hour mark. Then once again, it began to subside on its own before I fell back to regular sleep. I attributed this one to the stress of financial strain and lack of being able to work.

Then the third round hit not long after the second, and I don’t know where it came from. It lasted another two or so weeks, and it took a serious toll on me. I had steady work coming in, and I was both mentally and physically exhausted, but my body seemed incapable of giving itself the rest it needed. It was incredibly frustrating and I felt hopeless. Again, I’d experience regular periods of no sleep for over 48 hours, and only muster about four to six hours when I could sleep.

Nothing I tried would help. And I tried everything, I was desperate. I even began using lavender despite my allergy to it. Eventually, I started sleeping longer period, and the time between sleep began to shorten. Once again, I returned to my normal sleep habits.

Insomnia is no joke. It feels like a cruel betrayal by your body. You feel utterly exhausted and have no power to fix it. Despite all of it. you still have to find a way to function like a normal human being. To those who regularly deal with insomnia, my heart goes out to you. I wouldn’t wish the torture of it on anyone.