Things I Worry About: Money

Australia MoneyAs I’ve mentioned, my insomnia is brought about from stress, anxiety and depression.  Even though I have a good job it doesn’t stop me from worrying about money.

I feel that no matter how much I work, money is always a problem for me.  I just can’t make ends meet.

When I first moved to Sydney, I didn’t have a job.  In order to live I applied for a lot of credit cards and lived off of those for a couple of months.  I put everything on credit, I had a boyfriend that lived with me and his income was helpful, but we split up during the first month here and he left me for another woman.

So there I was in Sydney.  No money, no job, all alone and all this stress made my insomnia so much worse than it had ever been.  I felt like it was impossible to get a job with my condition so I just started charging all the bills to various credit cards. [Read more…]

An Introduction to Insomnia

sleepy ladyI thought I should give everyone a little introduction to what insomnia is, how it effects different people, and dispel some of the myths that revolve around the disorder.

Wikipedia defines insomnia as a sleep disorder where the person is unable to fall asleep or to stay asleep for as long as they’d like. The article goes on to say that insomnia is considered both a medical sign and a symptom that can accompany several disorders that are characterized by persistent difficulty trying to sleep.

There are three different classifications of insomnia.  The first is transient insomnia.  Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week. The effects of transient insomnia are similar to the effects of sleep deprivation.

Acute insomnia is insomnia that lasts less than a month, but more than a week. Another name for acute insomnia is short term insomnia or stress related insomnia. [Read more…]

One Weapon Against Worrying: Meditation

The war on insomnia rages on. But I’ve got a new weapon that is proving to be a great help.

I started meditation about 6 months ago. After about 2 weeks of daily meditation I was about to give up until, BAM!, I started sleeping when I wanted and for more than 20 minutes. Hooray!

It doesn’t work all the time, but I’m sleeping a lot more than I use to. What is also great, is meditation is having some awesome flow on benefits as well

Imagine the scene. It’s 2:30am and I’m not even a bit tired. My mind is going a million miles and hour so I decided to get out of bed and do chores around the house. (I had the energy to do at least that much!)

One thing about insomnia is not only can’t you sleep but it is almost impossible to focus for more than 10 minutes. Often you can’t remember important things.

In this particular instance, my mind was on autopilot as I cleaned my home. I walked out the door to put the garbage in the bin, and without thinking, I closed the door behind me. Without my keys to let me back in…

Luckily I had my cell phone with me and call up these guys. I’ve used these Sydney locksmiths before when my house got broken into so I was confidently they could let me in quickly. Just a quick wait in the dark for 30-40 minutes. Easy right?

After about 10 minutes of waiting, my mind was racing once again. There, sitting on my doorstep, I swear the shadows were getting closer, and I could feel my heart racing.

One thing I have noticed about insomnia is my brain has decided that it is in “fight or flight mode” all the damn time. Whilst the fight or flight can help us rise to many challenges in normal circumstances, it can be a pain in the arse when it is constantly provoked. It could be anything that triggers it: money trouble, work, traffic jams, or, in my case, being locked out of your home in the middle of the night.

It is these kinds of thoughts that can lead to me having a sleepless night. Sometimes it is easy to figure out what is going on, what has trigger this response and slow the voices in the head. Other times, like tonight with my mid-night cleaning frenzy, you just can’t think straight.

At least right now, I was aware of my thoughts as I sat there in the dark. It is these instances I find meditating really helps. I just notice the thoughts and focus on my breathing.

Usually, I find a quiet place to lie down or sit. Once I get myself comfortable I start to take in deep breaths. I breathe slowly through my nose. You want your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. I make sure that my abdomen fully expands to get the most oxygen. Then I slowly breathe out through my mouth.

Once you have gotten the breathing technique down, it’s time to shift your focus to something (and away from the internal chatter). Some people like to blend deep breathing with helpful imagery or a focus word to help them relax. I find doing a body sweep meditation works best for me.

I start my body sweep meditation by focusing on one part of my body. As I take a deep breath out I consciously relax that part of the body. I usually do this 2 or 3 times before moving onto the next body part. I usually go from the bottom up. I start with the feet, up my legs, through my torso and chest, shift to the tips of my fingers, up my arms, into my shoulders and finally around my head and face. By the end of the meditation I find I am relaxed. If I do the meditation lying down I can often find myself dozing off to sleep.

As I sat down meditating with my back against the door, I found myself relaxing and the internal chatter reducing. By focussing on my body, it kept my mind busy instead of conjuring up images and adding to my anxiety in the dark.

20 minutes later I had almost finished my body sweep meditation when the locksmith pulled into my driveway. 5 minutes later I was safe and sound in my home.

After that little adventure I was still wide awake, however, my mind was eased somewhat.

The point of this little story is meditation can help with insomnia, but it can help with reducing anxiety and general relaxation. There are always ups and downs. It took me a while before it started to help, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a couple of weeks or if you miss a couple of days.

It definitely helps with reducing the stress of everyday life, and by building momentum it has really helped with insomnia.

Another weapon in the arsenal.

Insomnia & Working Remotely

One of the side effects of insomnia is frequent bouts of whatever is going around.

And by whatever, I mean whatever.

The past year I’ve had strep throat, the swine flu, scarlet fever, and that’s just the beginning. This past week I got out of the hospital with a stomach virus and it meant even more days off of work, which only increased the stress levels, and in turn, made me even more awake. It’s a nasty cycle.

[Read more…]