I had another amazing revelation last night to do with my conscious-self and sleep.
One of the most noticeable side effects for me in depression, apart from the obvious suicidal thoughts, dread, fear and constant anxiety was the feeling of being tired aaaaaaaaall the time but then never actually being able to sleep.
Ah ha! I have the answer.
I realised last night that I still suffer from the same sort of insomnia that I used to suffer from when severely depressed, only I’ve learnt to cope with it and make it almost manageable. This is not however, solving the root cause of the problem, it is simply coping. I’ve cope enough thank you very much, I want real solutions!
Here’s the general pattern of insomnia:
I get into bed and feel really tired. My body aches and my head is ready to unwind.
After about 5 minutes of lying there and feeling relaxed, a little voice pops into my head and goes ‘I’m here! I’m still with you. I’m still present. I’m still awake’. This used to actually shock me when I first started experiencing it, as I would be falling off to sleep and would then literally be jolted awake by this presence of mind. As soon as I heard that voice in my head I knew I wasn’t going to sleep. The light had come on, metaphorically so to speak, and I was WIDE awake and would remain so with this presence of mind for hours and hours.
The same thing happens now, but I more easily dismiss the voice or presence of mind and focus on my audio book, which then helps me forget that I’m still present and if I’m lucky I might fall to sleep within a couple of hours. I never fall asleep in less than 1 hour, it usually takes me 1-2 hours and then I wake up again after maybe an hour or so and then only ever enter into a light sleep. I typically get 2-3 hours sleep a night, even if I’m in bed for 8-10 hours.
I’ve been doing the mindfulness and meditation exercises on sleep from www. headspace.com so all the credit needs to go to Andy Puddicombe for this and not me. I am merely the messenger, but it clicked last night… FINALLY!
The voice in my head or the so called presence of mind is in fact my conscious-self. I had mistaken it for my mind, but last night I realised that the thing that is stopping me from sleeping is… wait for it… me!
This may sound really obvious and simple because it is lol I’ve been making it a hugely complicated problem, when it didn’t need to be. Think about it like this…
Your mind and your subconscious are there to service me. My conscious-self is the master of this vessel and that means I’m in charge, got it! When I go to sleep though, I need to hand the rains over to my mind. My mind in essence becomes the steward of this vessel whilst ‘I’ sleep.
I view the ‘mind’ like a computer that is always on. You can give a computer tasks to do and walk away from it and leave it to process the commands. You can just leave it on and it will sit there running it’s idle program, not doing very much. If your sensible you will schedule your computer to do things like important updates, virus scans and maybe even run a screen saver whilst you are away. The computer (the mind) doesn’t do anything unless the human user (the conscious-self) sits in front of it and issues commands. Otherwise it just runs on idle mode.
When I go to sleep it is my conscious-self that goes to sleep, not my mind. My mind starts to dream, whilst I sleep. I know this is true because I am unaware of awareness when I am asleep. I know this because I can instantly sense my awareness the moment I wake up.
Last night I accepted that the thing keeping me asleep was me. As soon as I did that and I accepted it, I was out like a light. Literally less than 30 seconds. I thought to myself, this is nice, I’m all cosy and snug and my body feels relaxed and now I am going to go to sleep.
I didn’t try and go to sleep, I just let myself sleep.
I’ll admit that I didn’t get much more sleep than I normally do, but the time it took me to fall asleep was astonishing. I put my disturbed sleep patterns down to the high dose of Fluoxetine that I’m on at the moment, but who knows. If I can get to sleep in the same way tonight then maybe I’ll slowly get better and better nights sleep.
Peace be with you all.