Actions of a Chronic Insomniac

This morning, I spent a little over an hour in the kitchen whipping up a full pot of tabouleh. I needed some healthy, soul food. 😉 It felt so good to listen to music and go at my own pace. It calmed me down in ways that, of late, cooking has not.

I made it differently this time (More to my personal taste, as opposed to anyone else’s.), and I’ll add more lemon juice to it later on in the day, because as it cools, more flavors pop and you can tell, right before you serve it, what else needs to be added. Taste as you go.

“Tam” means “taste”. I am an instinctual kind of chef, and I believe this stems from growing up and paying attention to how things were prepared from start to finish. Usually if I watch something done once or twice, that’s it, I’m solid on how to do it for the rest of my life. Rarely do I look at a recipe, unless I am making something new for the first time, and even then, I put my personal spin on every single dish I make for my family/friends. I take great pride in doing this, to the point where my brother texted me last night to complain about no one making, “good food” for him. I reminded him I used to do this for him several times a week and he didn’t always appreciate it. It’s a little sad when a person doesn’t necessarily miss YOU, but they miss your cooking.

I must have felt stronger than I am, because I had even softened butter to bake a full batch of Peppermint Chocolate Chunk cookies for after I’d finished up the tabouleh, but I felt so exhausted after cleaning up the kitchen, and I knew I had to listen to my body. I will bake them later, or tomorrow, if I have the energy/patience.

My insomnia is scary right now. Usually, I work when I’m unable to sleep, and I feel accomplished in that because I am able to make a lot of headway, but this morning I’d had enough of words and decided to put my efforts into food prep. I won’t have to cook later, so that will be awesome. 🙂 I’ll be able to put things on the table, enjoy, and get some feedback on this batch of Middle Eastern goodness. 😀

It is sixteen degrees here after yesterday being a snow day in a myriad of ways (It is ICY out there. Dangerously icy.), so I feel good that there’s stuff ready for a late lunch/early dinner. I’ll be pairing this with a kale and spinach salad accompanied by grilled chicken. Douse it in balsamic vinaigrette and I am THERE. 🙂 Obviously, the cookies are a bit of a treat, but I eat boringly healthy most of the time (I had the exact same salad last night, because I was too lazy to add things to it. Normally I do a full blown salad for 2-3 days, which often includes peppers, cruciferous veggies, whatever seasonal fruit I have on hand, nuts, the works, but this time, I begged out. I was too tired to do it, but it was okay.), so I am allowed to do something fun, for a change. Lately, my biggest craving has been whipped cream. I’ve been obsessed, and it’s such an odd craving to have…

I find it interesting that while I was chopping, stirring, and juicing lemons by hand (Yes, I am THAT girl.), despite the music I was listening, and singing to, my mind went blank of all the stressors. This is practically unheard of for me. I have had WEEKS of stressful thinking, mostly surrounded around heavy business decisions (as well as health stuff.).

I looked at my closest friends and saw how everyone is wrapped up in their own lives, to the point where many don’t even ask me if I’m okay when they assault me with what they’ve got going on (Yes, it is assault. They don’t ask my permission, so I’ve stopped answering everyone immediately.). I didn’t want to bother any of them with my minor problems. Yeah, I downplay my grief. I don’t deny it. They are dealing with life/death issues, and that supersedes my crap. Whatever I am thinking/feeling won’t mean a whole lot to them in the long or short run, and they don’t have my business sense, so I felt completely alone in terms of who to talk to. Ultimately, I discussed it with a family member who reinforced how responsible I am being and how I am making smart moves. They also offered to help me, and I appreciate that. It’s no one else’s responsibility to help me with business stuff. Truly. It was my business plan from the get-go and hitting a brick wall without a crystal ball was not the goal, so it is truly my responsibility to handle the heavy-lifting. It may feel like a burden now, but it won’t when it’s done, and that’s the feeling I have to embrace. Focus on the goal, and do everything in your power to achieve it. You are allowed to have goals, change your mind, change course, and whatever else you need to do in order to succeed in a fair way.

I admit, this is an enormous goal. I am not going to shy away from the challenge, though. In the meantime, it gives me additional time to perfect that which feels raw. I went back to part one of this goal and when I went through all my notes, I hated everything I’d put together. Truly hated it, whereas I was previously proud not that long ago. I’ll sort it out, and I will do so without pressuring myself to have it done yesterday. One step at a time, even if they’re baby steps. The goal WILL be achieved, and I have to trust the Universe to know when the timing is right.

Here’s hoping I get some rest this weekend and continue to heal. After all, the weekend is only forty-eight hours and that never seems like a lot of time, because it isn’t. I feel like I’ll blink, and it will be May, and the thought is utterly traumatic, so I am trying to take on one stressor at a time. Needless to say, it’s probably a good thing I speak with my psychiatrist next week. I almost feel bad for him. Almost. 😉

Wherever you are in the world, may you enjoy your weekend in peace.

Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent.

Insomnia & Painsomnia: A Wicked Combination

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Whenever there’s something stressful going on in my life, it often affects my sleep, thus turning me into a shadow of my former self. Insomniac Lisa and Painsomnia Lisa are two very different beasts from the person I am when I’m able to prioritize sleep, and actually get into bed each night at a decent hour. I’m never 100% pain-free, but sleep is a crucial part of how my body recovers from what I do to it each day. I have worked my ass off this past month and lost roughly 20 pounds, somehow managing to strengthen my upper back muscles in the process.

Unfortunately for the past month, my sleep has been insanely erratic. First it was major moving stress, liable to affect even the calmest person in the world, of which I openly admit is not me. Then it was my brother’s pre-hospitalization health, closely followed by getting the phone call that he would need open-heart surgery or a transplant. It’s normal to have things like that affect you on many levels health-wise. Let’s face facts: No one expects someone young to be told that their heart is at 11% capacity. An entire team of doctors and surgeons and two different hospitals told him he was 10-15 years too early for such a severe issue. All of this crap has been screwing with me day and night and thus far, nothing I’ve done is helping. To add insult to injury, I have had a migraine since the day before Thanksgiving. I currently feel as if my head is in its very own torture chamber, taking my body along for the ride. 😦

When my brother was first released from the hospital, my sleep schedule had already shifted due to late-night texting and phone calls when he was still hospitalized and feeling lonely late at night, before his final dose of pain meds took over. There were many times I had to suggest he watch something on TV (“It’s almost 10 PM, here are three shows you can watch tonight. I have GOT to get some sleep!”), and then mute the ringer on my phone as opposed to allowing it to vibrate, so I could go to bed without the phone buzzing for hours. Now he’s here 24/7, and he’s driving me insane.

He’s not doing anything in particular to make me crazy (though I wish he’d remember that his legs are fine and he can get up and pour his own damn drinks!), he just happens to be in my personal space, and I crave privacy and silence. He’s mortified that I disinfected the remote, but since I don’t want him getting sick and he’s using it and I’m using it as well, I figured it was a wise decision. It is cold & flu season and while he is currently not in contact with other people several days a week, I am, and that can pose a problem for him if I bring something into the house that I did not leave with.

The other night he fell asleep while I was talking to him (I wasn’t boring him, he was simply in a lot of pain.). It was super early, but I felt that was the perfect time to cover him with a few extra blankets (It’s cold here most nights, and even when it’s not, he’s complaining that he’s cold.), and sneak off into the silence that is my normal routine. Alas, he got about three hours of sleep and I was wide awake. The second I thought about going to sleep, he was moaning in pain and when I checked on him, he was messaging someone on his tablet, with the TV on lighting up three rooms.

After a highly stressful week, I was finally in bed at a decent hour last night. As soon as I’d dispensed the last pain pill of the day, my head was on the pillow. Unfortunately, the previously aforementioned migraine decided to kick things up a notch and a little after 2:00 a.m., I woke up in unimaginable pain. I have no idea how I am attempting to type this, much less see.

My first line of defense is to attempt to get some caffeine into my system. It’s the only thing I haven’t sought out or used to treat this particular pain level, when it would normally be something I thought about a bit more closely. No, last night I was too far gone, so I took something less targeted that, as a last resort, often helps. Clearly it only helped part of me. 😦 So, I am nursing caffeinated tea and I took two Excedrin Tension Headache capsules. Not because I have a tension headache as opposed to a migraine, I know the difference, but because sometimes that combination works for me and nips the migraine in the bud. It’s not a permanent solution, but nothing really is. If it doesn’t start working in an hour or so, I will take a third.

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It astounds people that I have managed to learn how to work through some of my worst migraines, or that I put myself into the head space to focus on healing one. I look at it this way: I am not going out and triggering the headache to be any worse than it already is. I am home, I’m safe, I can control the environment (noise level, light, temperature), and I know not to move around too much, but can I sit at a darkened laptop screen and talk about it? Sometimes, yes. That doesn’t diminish the intensity of the migraine, it does not mean I don’t suffer from migraines (three neurologists and two other doctors are all in agreement that I suffer from migraines. They have gotten worse since my first diagnosis, so there’s nothing else it could be. Everything else has been ruled out.), and it also doesn’t mean it’s “just a headache”. On occasion, like most sufferers, I will get a dull headache. Unfortunately, dull can go to extremes pretty quickly, so I take all headache forms seriously. I don’t walk around denouncing other people’s pain either. If a person says they have a headache, but quickly says “I don’t get migraines like you do.”, I still wouldn’t tell them it was “no big deal”. Pain is pain. No one likes it and for those of us that endure it 24/7, I have seen people empathize with others openly, and I have also seen people blow off the pain of others because they somehow feel it is their right in life to be the one person on the planet who has it far worse than the rest of us. Sorry, but that couldn’t possibly be true, or you’d be dead. What may be indeed true is that everyone’s threshold for pain is different. In fact, I know this to be true.

In studies, it has been determined that women tolerate pain differently from their male counterparts. Not better, not worse, just different. Taking into consideration that the female body can push out a human-being during the process of giving birth, that’s not an immense surprise to me.

All of my heavily tattooed male friends had their jaws on the floor when I sat through my first four tattoos and described the pain as “No worse than a cat scratch.” You see, I chose a spot that most of them found to be extremely painful. They all told me to put my ink somewhere else, that the pain would be too much for me to endure, especially considering I suffer from Fibromyalgia, but I’d consulted with several artists who, like me, believed that my first tattoo should be someplace easily covered up with clothing. However, never to do things the simple way, I got my first four all at the same time. I wouldn’t even rate that a one on my personal pain scale. I’ve had more painful piercings.

As many of you also suffer from migraines, has anyone gotten a Daith piercing to try to combat them? Compared to all the medication, a myriad of supplements that may or may not be useful to the individual, various treatment methods, Botox, acupuncture, etc., the piercing itself, depending on where one goes, is between $50-$100. I am being told that it works for 50% of the people who get it, but I am also being told the relief is temporary, though some people are reporting themselves migraine-free 3-7 years post-piercing. I have decided to try acupuncture for a year to see if that spot along either of my ears responds to treatment. My insurance covers it, which is rare, so I am going to take the opportunity to use it first. I’m not sure I need another hole in my head, but I’d be interested in hearing whether or not the piercing has helped anyone. If you’re considering getting this particular piercing, please go somewhere highly reputable and have someone experienced do the piercing itself. The report of infection with this spot is very high, and I’d hate for anyone to go through that. I’ve only had three piercings in my life that gave me problems. Luckily they never got infected, but two of them bled for years if someone hugged me too hard, and the third still gives me problems on occasion (The fact that I share the piercing with a highly toxic person is probably why… I’m a big believer in energy. Sometimes we are healthier overall without certain people in our lives.). While most piercings are mainly decorative, there is no medical or scientific evidence that a Daith piercing is a cure for migraines, so don’t read into all of the Pinterest and Instagram “science”. Those are exclusively individual experiences, most of which are brand new. There’s no way of knowing what the long-term effects may be. For many, it is worth it for temporary relief. I’d rather explore a few additional options first.

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Are there any alternative treatment methods that work best for your migraines? If so, what are they?

The day insomnia can be cured in any way, shape, or form, I will be on a line for that! Right next to the line for the great Fibro/Chronic Pain cure. Here’s hoping we see it in this lifetime.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.