Afraid To Sleep

I started having panic attacks a few years ago. They weren't triggered by anything specific and only happened once a month or so. Then they started getting worse and my anxiety over all gradually got worse. I also suffer from depression which comes and goes as well. My problem is usually worst at night. The majority of my panic attacks come when I'm sleeping. I wake up in a full panic mode not breathing, palms sweating, heart racing, adrenaline going full blast. Luckily, I have learned to control those to the point that they only happen once in awhile now.

My biggest problem right now is insomnia due to my anxiety. I cannot sleep. When night falls, I can feel it starting - the feeling of dread. Its small at first, but as 'bed time' comes closer the feeling grows worse and worse. By midnight, I'm so worried and have such strong feelings of anxiety that I almost drive myself crazy. At this point I usually try to distract myself with TV or the internet. I turn every light in the room on, to make myself feel like it isn't night time. Tonight, I dug out my sewing box and started a quilt. I get so involved in these projects (or tv shows) that its almost like a rush. The last 2 days I've watched the entire first season of Lost just trying to get my mind off my worry. I know watching suspenseful TV shows isn't the best idea, but I've tried absolutely everything to help my anxiety at night, and I've given up doing anything but easing the worry.

By morning I'm so relieved to see the sun, but I still can't sleep. I feel incredibly emotionally drained, but when I get into bed I cannot sleep. I no longer feel the anxiety, but sleep still won't come. Its like I'm too exhausted to sleep. Or, I know that if I do sleep it will most likely be all day, and that I will wake up at night, and have to feel the same worry again. It's 6:35am here, and I haven't slept since 8am yesterday, but I don't think I could sleep if I tried.

The one thing that I cannot figure out is why it only happens when I'm alone. I'm seeing a guy who lives in a town 2 hours away, so we don't get to spend a whole lot of time together. This weekend he was here, and stayed the night with me Saturday. Not only did I sleep from 11pm (which is absolutely unheard of for me to fall asleep that early, even as a kid) but I slept until 9 the next morning. Its like the minute he put is arm around me all my worry went away and my body was at peace. I've only been seeing him for a couple of months, and our relationship really isn't that serious so I don't understand why my body has that reaction.

I hate feeling like this. I cannot hold down a job, I can't have much of a social life, and I get sick all the time because I don't get enough sleep. I don't know how to fix it, because I feel like I've tried everything. I'm seriously thinking about hiring a friend to come over for 8 hours a day to put his arm around me so I can frickin sleep!
spillcanvasfan spillcanvasfan
22-25, F
1 Response Jul 13, 2010

Hello there :) Firstly let me say i can really relate to your experience, i also suffer with anxiety and panic and have found it to be much harder to control at night. I feel that this is due to the fact that during the day there is more going on to distract you from the anxiety thoughts. I have found that having a movie with a low volume on in the background helps me to sleep. But yes that feeling of dread as bedtime approaches is horrible. Is your anxiety about anything specific? As dealing with the things you are anxious about is the single best way to help yourself. I am in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and i am miles better off than i was when i started. It has taken a lot of work and has not been easy atall, but i would recommend it to anyone suffering these problems. It has changed my life completely. I do hope you manage to get your anxiety under control, and get to sleep at a resonable time :) Take care, best of luck.