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Cannot Keep It Together

I am currently 47 days sober and still struggling. What’s bothering me the most are the nights. Most nights (the ones I spend alone which is 99.8% of the past 47 days), I have had horrifying anxiety, panic attacks, shaking, and tears that I try really hard to hold back and avoid by thinking positive thoughts, but I’m always unsuccessful. It’s as if the more I try to force the positive thoughts, the more it brings me to tears. I feel like I am going insane trying to get to sleep before I start having these issues, but it’s still happening even when I am taking my sleeping medication. During the day I am fine, but every night everything hits me all at once. And I don’t want to make a big deal of it, because it’s nothing suicidal and I feel like anymore medication and I’ll be a zombie. It’s not like I can talk to my therapist in the middle of the night. I’m just at a loss here because I don’t understand why I am struggling at night. I question my worth and capabilities. I feel hopeless, weak, and out of control. And I am burned out from it.

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Congrats on being 47 days sober! Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time at night. Did you experience childhood trauma at night? I remember when I was younger I hated going to sleep at night. I would cry and my imagination would get the best of me. I would work myself up so bad that I could literally see and feel the walls of my bedroom closing in on me. Have you tried meditation at night before you go to bed or any other preferred coping skill that helps you calm down?

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Hi Queen,

Yes, anxiety can be very overwhelming, especially when you are alone. I know this all too well.

Here are some strategies I’ve learned over the years for anxiety:

  1. Reason with yourself (this doesn’t always work but is worth a shot), for example, what concrete facts support your anxiety? What facts contradict it?

  2. Breathing exercises - breathe in deeply for 7 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds. Repeat at least 4 times.

  3. Grounding - pick out 5 things around you that you can see, hear, smell, etc, to try to pull yourself out of spiralling.

  4. Lay down, take deep breaths, and place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach to keep the anxiety ‘contained’ so that it doesn’t start to envelope you.

I know none of these things will get rid of your stressors, but hopefully they can help keep you calm long enough to keep it together and get some sleep. After all, losing sleep will likely only stress you more. Good luck, I hope these help.

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@ajtheramos and @Sapphire

Thank you so much for the support. Last night I did not have any tears. I let one of mt twins sleep with me since he was cranky and screaming. I also played some of the classical music I love so much and my head was clear for the most part. A few thoughts, but when I starting thinking I would say “nope” out loud and concentrate on every single note of the song by humming it. That gave my medication enough time to kick in, I turned off the music, and fell asleep shortly after. I’m going to practice that technique for about a week and see what the results are like. If it is consistent and works, I am going to continue to do that. The one thing is I build tolerance to things quickly so I am going to have to find a lot more soothing classical music. Any suggestions?

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Good idea letting on your twins sleep with you since he was having a bad night too! I also like how you were proactive. You turned the classical music on, you even got in your own head and said “nope” to resistance. So that you don’t build a tolerance for it, maybe you could make a playlist for the classical music and invite one your twins to sleep with you since that worked really well? At least for the next week or so. I would also try to make transitioning to bed as an incentive/reward for yourself; something you look forward to instead of dreading. Did you have any fun type of bedroom routines when you were a child?

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@ajtheramos Unfortunately, I cannot rely on my childhood for anything. A lot of it was not so pleasant including going to bed. Was kept up most night to finish chores or finish a timeout. It’s when my insomnia first began.

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