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Wife’s not sleeping. We need help!

 
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Anne Miller wrote:

That might have something to do with her sleep interruptions.

One year I took a group of girls to drill team camp and slept on the couch.  I fell asleep watching TV every night and from then on I had to watch TV before bed in order to fall asleep.  I have fallen asleep to many Law and Order episodes over the years.



Ive had friends like that. They would sleep over when we were young and always had to have the tv on. I would end up watching some show I didn’t care about as they slept because, if a tv is on I’m watching it. And if I close my eyes I’m listening to it. Ive never been able to sleep with a tv or radio playing.
 
Brody Ekberg
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Dietrick Klooster wrote:
As someone who has wasted a massive amount of time and energy trying to be "efficient" at convincing my partner what she needs to do, hurting her and our relationship in the process, I can tell you that the practice described by John Wineland can be extremely helpful, no matter how contrived it might feel at first. I feel the same way as you do about the video with the nail, but also see that putting empathy first can actually make things happen in a much more efficient way. I don't think you need to "ignore the nail" at all, but what can help is realizing that someone needs to trust you before they are willing to hear what you have to say, let alone pull a nail out their head. Feeling heard and understood through practicing empathy is the most effective way to build that trust.



I feel you and believe you are probably right. I’m kind of plagued with a drive to be efficient. I dont know why or where it came from but it invades all aspects of my life. And although being as efficient as possible makes total sense to me logically, it just doesn’t hold up well in practice with a lot of things. I guess that’s one of the things that separates humans from machines!
 
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Sorry to hear all of this. I have chronic pain as well. How about Ibuprofin for inflamation, yoga at least a half hour daily whatever she can do. Check blood pressure it would be good to know if high pressure is the root cause. Valerian should only be used as a minor suppliment, hawthorne berry extract is better...hawthorn to valerian   9/1.  electro stimulators can be had for about $30.00 on amazon. Go easy with those, a pulse massage twice daily not more than 20 minutes.  How about investing in a small pool load it up with salt and make a solar heater for it, try some flotation 0 gravity.  How about making an inversion table?  Sounds like depression is in the mix.  The first step is awareness. She should be reading something on the connection between chronic pain and depression. Join an online board, there is nothing like support from other other people who understand you on the deepest level.

I am not medically trained btw, so take what I say with a grain of salt, I have just been struggling with increasing pain from arthritis.

Hope something in there is helpful.

Best..M
 
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I write this AS a wife, a chronic insomniac with chronic pain AND a husband who is constantly making suggestions, on how to deal with my conditions, who does not understand how frustratingly aggravating this can be, especially when one is feeling fragile.

"Im pretty confident that if she spent less time with the phone and tv, stretched more, got more physical exercise, and took her vitamin D supplements that her depression would lift at least somewhat. But she says she doesn’t have the energy to do those things."

If the wife is anything like me we are not "broken" and do not want or need our spouse to "fix" us. We need their support, caring and understanding.  Being repeatedly told to do this or try this, sadly is not helpful. Even if the advice is spot on, we cannot hear it, from you, our beloved spouse.

Napping is often the worst thing an insomniac can do, according to sleep experts. Frankly, if I could play the TV in the bedroom, I could/would fall asleep NO problem; but my spouse claims it "disturbs him" which I find odd as he can't hear without his hearing aids and prefers at least THREE nightlights on at all times...

My insomnia is an inability to turn my brain OFF and actually fall asleep, coupled with the fact that I wake at the drop of a pin.  The TV focuses my brain on nonsense and eliminates the stimulus of outside sound. But, he won't have it, so I stay up all night drawing building projects, researching, watching the same dull program over and over...then just as I nod off, I try to get to the bed before becoming too alert. OR I pass out in the chair and my husband will gently wake me, and guide me to bed (eyes still closed) between 7-9am. It doesn't help that he can sleep at the drop of the hat, even nap from 9-11pm, THEN go to bed for an entire night at midnight, no problem!!!

Firstly the pain needs dealing with; to that end I have weekly massage followed immediately (in the same clinic) by chiro adjustment. There used to be weekly acupuncture two days after massage/chiro that was very helpful, but no longer needed.

For me, although I fought it tooth and nail, the biggest win with pain control was in Gabapentin - initially left overs prescribed for the dog taken in desperation during a particularly bad spell that ended up with me in emerg begging for ANYTHING - this included lidocaine injections into the nerve, which sadly failed.  The doc agreed the gabapentin was appropriate BUT that it would take several days to kick in; and several weeks before my body fully adjusted to it (no longer feeling "stoned"). IT WORKED! Supposedly it is also great for sleeping, alas, not for me.

I then tried multiple times to "wean" myself off, within days I was back in pain hell. So I have accepted that to deal with my back pain I am on this stuff for good, three times a day.  It is NOT addictive, has significantly helped with the frequency and severity of my migraines, and the loopy/dopey part does not last long. It is CHEAP, and likely WAY less harmful than the fistfulls of OTC ibuprofen I was living on that barely took the edge off.

It kills me to take meds 3X a day, I get it. But worse is to live at a constant pain level of 6-8 which apparently for others would be more like 10-15 out of ten (based on my migraines and my response to gall bladder issues that remained undiagnosed for years until it shut my liver down and required emerg surgical removal - interestingly diagnosed by my massage AND chiro therapists!). I have an extraordinarily HIGH pain tolerance, so the fact that the gabapentin actually works is literally a miracle for me.

The new doc is trying to help the insomnia. Melatonin works great for some, as does valerian - waste of time for me. I do not consume any sort of caffeine or other stimulants, so nope, that is not it. I don't drink (although tried it a few months ago when I was desperate, no joy there either). I live where cannabis is legal, and regularly visit the dispensary seeking something to help me sleep, with some success.

A course of trazadone was useless, for me, still awake at 7am, but really stoned on a double dose. We are now trying Nortriptyline, also an old school anti depressant, that MAY be helping.

So please, do not refuse all pharmaceuticals, just because some may not work or have side effects. Give everything a chance, and move on if the side effects are intolerable, to what else may be an option. I would be clear what sort of sleep aid the mother is essentially addicted to and make sure the doc knows as addictive behavior IS often genetic.

I now completely regret allowing my fear of addiction and/or side effects from clearly explaining the level of pain I was in, and for suffering needlessly for decades. Frankly, it is likely a large part of my insomnia issues.  

My hope now is this new doc will consider sending me to a sleep lab, where you get wired up with electrodes and they monitor you for several nights to determine when and if certain stages (REM etc.) are reached and for how long they are maintained to understand the nature of the insomnia. They can then diagnose what the sleep issue is and the best course of treatment (meds, behavioral etc.) to combat it.

Is depression a component of insomnia, sure to a greater or lesser extent, as is chronic pain. I find dwelling on either condition WILL make depression a MUCH bigger issue. I am grateful that I am a naturally optimistic and happy person, but on bad days, sometimes even that is just not enough, and I need a while to wallow. If someone were a naturally pessimistic person, I can only imagine how tough every day could be.

Am I super cranky at times, you betcha! IF my husband stopped asking me how I am every morning and several times a day, I would be WAY less irritated. IF he stopped trying to FIX me, or TELL me what to do to solve MY issues, again, I would be a much more congenial person. Honestly, even if he could just leave me be for the first hour of "my day" (which usually starts around noon), I would be a much nicer person.

I get it, it is very hard for him to see me suffer, and I hate it when that last nerve snapping causes me to bark at him; but there are times I am so barely holding things together that his attempts to fix me frankly make me want to bash him on the head with a frying pan - straight out of the old time movies!!!

If my husband simply asked me WHAT or HOW he could help me, today, that would be fabulous! Sometimes I just need to vent (whine, complain, bitch) and all I am seeking is an open ear and a hug - NOT a solution.

I do apologize if some of what I have said seems harsh. As I said, I speak as a fellow sufferer, with a wonderful husband, who is ALWAYS ready with a surefire cure and/or treatment. I need him to understand, I need his comfort or to ASK how he can help, NOT fix me, or tell me what I should do.

PS: To be clear, my only way of emphasizing a point with my ancient BlackBerry is to use caps or quotations as I have no access to underline, bold or any other "features". I am not "yelling" as I have recently been accused of, and apologize if my use of "caps" was found offensive, it is NOT my intent.

 
Brody Ekberg
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Michael Littlejohn wrote:Sorry to hear all of this. I have chronic pain as well. How about Ibuprofin for inflamation, yoga at least a half hour daily whatever she can do. Check blood pressure it would be good to know if high pressure is the root cause. Valerian should only be used as a minor suppliment, hawthorne berry extract is better...hawthorn to valerian   9/1.  electro stimulators can be had for about $30.00 on amazon. Go easy with those, a pulse massage twice daily not more than 20 minutes.  How about investing in a small pool load it up with salt and make a solar heater for it, try some flotation 0 gravity.  How about making an inversion table?  Sounds like depression is in the mix.  The first step is awareness. She should be reading something on the connection between chronic pain and depression. Join an online board, there is nothing like support from other other people who understand you on the deepest level.

I am not medically trained btw, so take what I say with a grain of salt, I have just been struggling with increasing pain from arthritis.

Hope something in there is helpful.

Best..M



She’s been slowly getting back into a stretching routine and plans on getting back into daily yoga soon. She also will be getting a wellness exam for insurance purposes soon and they will check blood pressure along with a lot of other things. She has quite a bit of social stresses in her life and I wouldn’t be surprised if that elevates her blood pressure at times. We’re young and eat well though so it shouldn’t be a main concern.

She has an electric stimulator, i think called a tens unit. We got almost no training on how to use it and I don’t remember there being much for instructions. Its a finicky little thing and shes zapped herself pretty good a few times. She also has an electric massage gun and that thing is great. We use it pretty often.

Interesting you mentioned hawthorn. We were picking rosehips yesterday and I told her I wanted to get hawthorn as well. More for the cardiac benefits than anything but I’ll have to look around. I know where there are some hawthorn trees but haven’t looked at them at all this year.

I also just mentioned floating to her. Im not going to make a float tank for our house, but there is one about an hour from here. We tried it once and both really enjoyed it and want to go back. Once shes done coaching volleyball she will have more time available to do stuff like that. Also want to build a sauna in the future and that could help a lot with inflammation, but that’s a project for next year at the earliest.

And yes, a level of depression is definitely involved. I think her getting good sleep and getting away from the social stressors will help with that.
 
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Brody, reading this from your perspective sounds in some ways like my interior dialogue over the past couple of years. My husband, for many complicated reasons, has had off and on insomnia and sleep troubles over the past 7 years, but especially for the past 2 years. I am a rather strict thinker on these matters, sometimes I almost echo my dad's constant maxim: "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". But that way of thinking, although it has helped me get through some rough times, isn't a great basis to build relationships.

A couple of things that I have learned from caring for my sweetie through his ups and downs:
-- caring for a sick spouse isn't as romantic as they make it seem on the movies. It is a drag. Don't expect yourself to think of it any other way--it isn't necessarily instinctive to sacrifice your time/goals/ideas to care for someone who is down, and sometimes you have to bite your tongue and help them the way THEY need to be helped, not the way that you think they need to be helped. We never fought ever until this health crisis happened...there are a lot of expectations and disappointments on both sides, but we have learned together that all of that just has to be put on hold until everything is a little better.
-- they probably blame themselves for how they feel. Just like you do, except they carry a double load of their self-blame plus your blaming them. Nobody could ever feel more depressed or guilty about their fucked-up health than they do, so they don't need you explaining to them all the ways they're doing it wrong. They don't need just one more explanation about just one more thing they could do to fix themselves.
-- statistically the single biggest positive factor in a recovery from illness or addiction is one close friend or family member (as a spouse you get to be both!) who loves and supports the person in recovery. I think that it has to do with the levels of frustration that they deal with, they just need someone who gives them the space and love to help take away that feeling of utter failure and despair. And that space can be the bit of relief they need that enables them to get out of their head and start looking towards changing the future.

All of that being said, these are the things that I've found that I can do that are really helpful to my husband during his difficult times:
--make healthy food accessible and positive, not another item on a list. Making roast beef with veggies or a batch of chicken soup doesn't involve that many minutes of work, but can make the next couple of days easier on you both.
--sharing time and good habits. Like others have mentioned, stretching together or rubbing/massaging her near bedtime can mean so much, and the physical and emotional benefits of loving touch are infinite.
--laugh together. Find a funny movie or even just read the jokes thread here on permies--laughing is truly good medicine and I have seen it help with everything from stomach problems to depression.
--IF she is up to it, get out and do something that you both like. Whatever your thing is, doesn't have to be healthy per se, just something that you both enjoy and will make her feel like a person instead of a problem.

Those are my thoughts! I wish all the best for you and your wife.
 
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Audio-books work to a point. & If you can not sleep at least you have not let all that time go up in smoke.

Initially my wife was reluctant, she said she couldn't stay awake long enough to follow along with the book.
I pointed out to her that that was a win-win scenario.
White noise either natural or electronic helps...
&
They sell "pillow-speakers" on ebay for under 2 bucks. It is the size of a pint jar lid and plugs into your jack port. Buy a few in case yours breaks... My cat has decided to eat them as of late.

The speaker tucks under your pillow and no one else needs to hear a thing!
 
Brody Ekberg
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Marie Abell wrote:
--laugh together. Find a funny movie or even just read the jokes thread here on permies--laughing is truly good medicine and I have seen it help with everything from stomach problems to depression.


Those are my thoughts! I wish all the best for you and your wife.



Also, we have been watching New Girl and The Good Place before bed. Both are comedies and we both enjoy them, but I’m skeptical because of the tvs bright lights. Maybe if we swapped comedies out for reading jokes or listening to something funny, that would work better for her.
 
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Brody Ekberg wrote:but I’m skeptical because of the tvs bright lights. Maybe if we swapped comedies out for reading jokes or listening to something funny, that would work better for her.



What about just audio? I know that I can usually stay awake if I'm watching something interesting, but if I'm listening to an interesting podcast, I almost always crash out. I'm not going to suggest any of Paul's podcasts though.
 
Marie Abell
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Brody Ekberg wrote:

Marie Abell wrote:
--laugh together. Find a funny movie or even just read the jokes thread here on permies--laughing is truly good medicine and I have seen it help with everything from stomach problems to depression.


Those are my thoughts! I wish all the best for you and your wife.



Also, we have been watching New Girl and The Good Place before bed. Both are comedies and we both enjoy them, but I’m skeptical because of the tvs bright lights. Maybe if we swapped comedies out for reading jokes or listening to something funny, that would work better for her.



LOL I used to watch New Girl with my sister. Funny stuff.

I think we can all agree that TV is bad in theory and in practice, but sometimes for the same active/distracted minds that tend to have problems with depression or insomnia, it can be just the thing. It keeps the eyes and the mind occupied enough with non-stressors that it enables one to relax enough to fall asleep. That's how it works for my insomniac, and sometimes for me too. I think the main problem with screens is the blue light, and as others have mentioned there are various solutions for that. I have heard good things about blublocker glasses (lots of youtubers give out discount codes for them, if you're willing to shop around). I will also say that I've been reading aloud to the kids lately, and that puts my sweetie to sleep like nothing else--so definitely another thing worth trying!
 
Brody Ekberg
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:I write this AS a wife, a chronic insomniac with chronic pain AND a husband who is constantly making suggestions, on how to deal with my conditions, who does not understand how frustratingly aggravating this can be, especially when one is feeling fragile.

If the wife is anything like me we are not "broken" and do not want or need our spouse to "fix" us. We need their support, caring and understanding.  Being repeatedly told to do this or try this, sadly is not helpful. Even if the advice is spot on, we cannot hear it, from you, our beloved spouse.

Firstly the pain needs dealing with; to that end I have weekly massage followed immediately (in the same clinic) by chiro adjustment. There used to be weekly acupuncture two days after massage/chiro that was very helpful, but no longer needed.

So please, do not refuse all pharmaceuticals, just because some may not work or have side effects. Give everything a chance, and move on if the side effects are intolerable, to what else may be an option. I would be clear what sort of sleep aid the mother is essentially addicted to and make sure the doc knows as addictive behavior IS often genetic.  

My hope now is this new doc will consider sending me to a sleep lab, where you get wired up with electrodes and they monitor you for several nights to determine when and if certain stages (REM etc.) are reached and for how long they are maintained to understand the nature of the insomnia. They can then diagnose what the sleep issue is and the best course of treatment (meds, behavioral etc.) to combat it.

Is depression a component of insomnia, sure to a greater or lesser extent, as is chronic pain. I find dwelling on either condition WILL make depression a MUCH bigger issue. I am grateful that I am a naturally optimistic and happy person, but on bad days, sometimes even that is just not enough, and I need a while to wallow. If someone were a naturally pessimistic person, I can only imagine how tough every day could be.

Am I super cranky at times, you betcha! IF my husband stopped asking me how I am every morning and several times a day, I would be WAY less irritated. IF he stopped trying to FIX me, or TELL me what to do to solve MY issues, again, I would be a much more congenial person. Honestly, even if he could just leave me be for the first hour of "my day" (which usually starts around noon), I would be a much nicer person.

I get it, it is very hard for him to see me suffer, and I hate it when that last nerve snapping causes me to bark at him; but there are times I am so barely holding things together that his attempts to fix me frankly make me want to bash him on the head with a frying pan - straight out of the old time movies!!!

If my husband simply asked me WHAT or HOW he could help me, today, that would be fabulous! Sometimes I just need to vent (whine, complain, bitch) and all I am seeking is an open ear and a hug - NOT a solution.

I do apologize if some of what I have said seems harsh. As I said, I speak as a fellow sufferer, with a wonderful husband, who is ALWAYS ready with a surefire cure and/or treatment. I need him to understand, I need his comfort or to ASK how he can help, NOT fix me, or tell me what I should do.

PS: To be clear, my only way of emphasizing a point with my ancient BlackBerry is to use caps or quotations as I have no access to underline, bold or any other "features". I am not "yelling" as I have recently been accused of, and apologize if my use of "caps" was found offensive, it is NOT my intent.



First of all, thank you for this. You sound similar to my wife in many ways and I sound similar to your husband in at least some ways. Aside from nightlights, I’m fine in the dark haha.

I guess I dont fully understand the idea of not being broken and not needing to be fixed. I mean, whats the problem then? I understand we are not our bodies, we are awareness. But for the sake of having a conversation, accomplishing things in this life, moving around and going about our daily business, we might as well pretend we are a body. And if that body hurts and is dysfunctional, why not “fix” it? If my car didn’t drive, I would call it broke. If my phone didn’t ring, I would call it broke. If my brain didn’t think, i would call it broke. If legs didn’t walk, i would call them broke. (This is my perspective and Im not trying to be offensive, just trying to gain an understanding of how we see these things differently). As a spouse, caring IS trying to fix what’s broke. I feel like if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t try to fix anything. I would say “oh, that sucks” and go about my business because I dont care. But I do care, I care a lot. I care about her more than I care about myself. Sometimes I feel like I care about her more than she cares about herself. But I do understand that, when she’s emotional, exhausted and in pain that maybe what is most important in that very moment is to be heard, not to be fixed. So, I can see how it’s my responsibility to distinguish between when to try to fix and when to try to listen. You’re right about her being unable to hear advice from me. I think if a therapist told her the same things she would be more receptive. That confuses the hell out of me, but whatever works I guess. It seems like I should listen when things are at their worst and try to fix when shes got the willpower, energy and motivation to take action. At least that’s what makes sense to me.

As far as pharmaceuticals go, we are not 100% opposed to using them. Shes tried that route in the past (before we knew how corrupt and insidious the industry is) and had horrible side effects. Now that we are aware of the industry we would be supporting through their use, we would definitely prefer alternatives like herbs and lifestyle changes. The only issue with that is its not convenient and requires work/effort, both of which are a huge turn off to someone who is emotional, exhausted and in pain. If she decides to go that route, I will support her. I just certainly would prefer that she tries other things first. She keeps thinking if we buy the “right” bed or she finds the “right” pillow that it will fix her sleep issues. I cant understand that logic because she has 20 pillows and regardless of what bed or couch she sleeps on, shes always uncomfortable. So, my logic says to try all the free or cheap herbs and lifestyle changes first before looking to purchase more things from outside of herself.

As far as a sleep study goes, we both are interested in her trying that. My only doubts are that, how well can one really sleep if you’re being studied? It seems like it would be near impossible to get accurate information from a situation like that, but I really dont know. Thats just my assumption.

You’re also right about her sometimes just needing to vent, complain and bitch to me. Shes gotten better at warning me that that is the case ahead of time so that I dont assume theres an actual problem that she needs my help with. And I’ve gotten better at not always trying to fix problems. But when your wife wakes up in tears saying she just wants to die and hates her body, its very hard to not view that as a problem to be fixed. I do understand though that in those moments, she is an emotional wreck and just needs some love. That needs to be my focus.

I also think that part of her disdain for my advice is that, she knows a lot of what I’m saying is true but she doesn’t have the energy to do anything with it. So it just feels like more guilt on her part since she has the issue, is the only one who can fix it and yet cannot do that at the moment. Where if I just listen to her and be there for her, she will get around to whatever she can when she has the energy.

Also, I’m in the same boat as you with using caps to emphasize things. I cant underline or use italics either haha.

And once again,  I really hope that this response doesnt offend you or hurt you. I do understand that people see things differently and that even if i have good advice, either I’m not the one to give it to her or now isnt the time. I really value being able to get your perspective on this since you seem to be in a similar situation and because, unlike my wife, if I upset you you cant look at me with those she-devil eyes that puncture my soul!
 
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@Brody: you mentioned a TENS unit.
I used to be an athlete (before I became a professional slouch! LOL) and as such racked up a lot of injuries as a young woman. Several times (jacked up knees and ankles) I remember having TENS (electrical stimulation) and thinking "wow, what a waste of time".
Now I am an old lady with arthritis in my hands and I'm doing physical therapy, my therapist trotted out the TENS unit and I said, hey, I remember doing that and it not doing diddle squat. She laughed and said many people don't know how to apply it or don't want to push it to the level it needs to be at to be effective in terms of relieving pain - it needs to go up to the point juuuust before it's uncomfortable (for me, it is the point just before my fingers start to spasm, it feels like I stuck my finger in a light socket, most unpleasant). However, it only deadens the pain for a bit, it doesn't solve the problem.* If you do get to visit a PT or similar, you might want to ask if they would give a lesson.



(for me, it meant no pain for the entire afternoon afterward, which is pretty remarkable, but I only do in-clinic PT once a week for an hour and want to focus on learning exercises, so it's not really worth my time. your mileage may vary!)
 
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Tereza Okava wrote:@Brody: you mentioned a TENS unit.
I used to be an athlete (before I became a professional slouch! LOL) and as such racked up a lot of injuries as a young woman. Several times (jacked up knees and ankles) I remember having TENS (electrical stimulation) and thinking "wow, what a waste of time".
Now I am an old lady with arthritis in my hands and I'm doing physical therapy, my therapist trotted out the TENS unit and I said, hey, I remember doing that and it not doing diddle squat. She laughed and said many people don't know how to apply it or don't want to push it to the level it needs to be at to be effective in terms of relieving pain - it needs to go up to the point juuuust before it's uncomfortable (for me, it is the point just before my fingers start to spasm, it feels like I stuck my finger in a light socket, most unpleasant). However, it only deadens the pain for a bit, it doesn't solve the problem.* If you do get to visit a PT or similar, you might want to ask if they would give a lesson.



(for me, it meant no pain for the entire afternoon afterward, which is pretty remarkable, but I only do in-clinic PT once a week for an hour and want to focus on learning exercises, so it's not really worth my time. your mileage may vary!)



We got ours from a chiropractor who went through a phase where they were selling all sorts of “alternative” equipments. The thing is, they didn’t know how to properly use the stuff themselves let alone train a customer on how to use it!

I’ll definitely bust it out and experiment a bit with my wife if she feels up for it one of these days. Maybe it will offer her temporary relief when shes desperate for something to help her neck.

We also know 2 PTs, one is a good friend of her and one is a good friend of me, so between the two of them we can probably get some advice. I do think regular massages, adjustments, stretching and therapy would surely help. But that all takes time, effort and money. She needs to have more energy and motivation if we’re going to tackle any of that.
 
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:For me, although I fought it tooth and nail, the biggest win with pain control was in Gabapentin - initially left overs prescribed for the dog taken in desperation during a particularly bad spell that ended up with me in emerg begging for ANYTHING - this included lidocaine injections into the nerve, which sadly failed.  The doc agreed the gabapentin was appropriate BUT that it would take several days to kick in; and several weeks before my body fully adjusted to it (no longer feeling "stoned"). IT WORKED! Supposedly it is also great for sleeping, alas, not for me.

I then tried multiple times to "wean" myself off, within days I was back in pain hell. So I have accepted that to deal with my back pain I am on this stuff for good, three times a day.  It is NOT addictive, has significantly helped with the frequency and severity of my migraines, and the loopy/dopey part does not last long. It is CHEAP, and likely WAY less harmful than the fistfulls of OTC ibuprofen I was living on that barely took the edge off.

It kills me to take meds 3X a day, I get it. But worse is to live at a constant pain level of 6-8 which apparently for others would be more like 10-15 out of ten (based on my migraines and my response to gall bladder issues that remained undiagnosed for years until it shut my liver down and required emerg surgical removal - interestingly diagnosed by my massage AND chiro therapists!). I have an extraordinarily HIGH pain tolerance, so the fact that the gabapentin actually works is literally a miracle for me.



Lorinne, thank you for your take on Gabapentin.  Dear hubby no longer takes pain meds and was prescribed Gabapentin though he will not take it as he says it doesn't work.  He probably only took one.  Maybe I can now convince him to try it for several days before giving up.
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:






Heather, after watching this video, thinking about it and going through all the other comments in this thread, id like to run my interpretation by you and see what you think. Trying to judge whether or not I’m bridging that gap between my perspective and hers.

So, the woman apparently has 2 problems:

1. theres a nail in her head which (obviously) hurts

2. her husband doesn’t listen to her or value what she has to say.

The woman seems to be more concerned with being listened to and feeling valued and the man seems to be more concerned with ridding his wife of her pain.

The man sees that theres a nail in her head and knows that’s 99.9% the source of the pain she’s describing, and because of that, he’s not willing (at first) to engage with anything she has to say. The woman doesn’t seem to care about the nail and knows that her husband isn’t listening to her, and that is what concerns her.

Heres my perspective: the man thinks his wife is preoccupied with emotions and the wife thinks her husband is insensitive to her emotions. I dont see one being right and the other being wrong, I see a lack of communication. If the woman’s concern is the pain, then to hell with emotions. If her concern is her husband not listening to her, then to hell with the pain. She needs to communicate what her concern is transparently so that the husband can figure out what is actually the problem here. Because from his perspective, she’s complaining about pain but when he tries to help her with the pain she switches the complaint to not being listened to.

If what she really wants is to be heard and comforted, then dont make it about pain. The husband can focus on listening and comforting and not worry about the obvious source of pain. If she wants to get rid of the pain, then dont make it emotional. The husband can help her with the nail and the pain will be gone. But if the issue at hand is physical pain, all the listening and comforting in the world wont remove that nail. And if the issue is emotional, pulling that nail out wont change a thing.

So, I can see that in the heat of the moment, when she’s struggling and emotional, the husband just needs to suppress the desire to help his wife and just be there for her. But once shes in an open and receptive state of mind, maybe due to being heard and comforted, she ought to remove the nail.

So, in my actual situation this would translate to: when my wife is crying and saying she just wants to die and is so exhausted, that I need to listen to her and comfort her. If/when that helps, she may then be open to receiving advice about how to actually change the situation for the better. If not from me then from someone else, maybe a professional.

Am I totally missing it or am I building that bridge??



 
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Exactly, Brody!
 
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Brody: no offense taken whatsoever.

Generally speaking I find men tend to see things in black and white; if it is broken, you fix it; and even if it is not YOUR car, you will diagnose and tell your neighbor how to fix it, even if they don't ASK for help.

Women, in my experience see more shades of gray...we understand there is a problem, but we don't necessarily immediately jump to "the solution" to fix it, we ponder all the options, study them, rate them on a dozen different scales as to "cost vs benefit" (time, emotion, money...), and at times can "investigate" into paralysis!  Women tend to take more of an overview, and then look at the entire picture, choosing what to prioritize (which is rarely ourselves), first.

Neither way is right or wrong; in some instances the male tendency to focus to exclusion is vitally important. Just as the female way of taking the overview and prioritising may be more ideal in some circumstances. I suspect this is genetic and goes back to the caveman days: hunters, more commonly men, had to be focused and task oriented. Whereas the gatherers and those that tended the "home" HAD to be able to multitask and prioritize the needs of the clan/family ahead of their own needs, even to their personal detriment.

Sometimes the issue is as simple as truly "coming out" as to the level of pain and distress to others (friends, co-workers, Medical professionals); this requires admitting to oneself (on one level or another) that you truly are NOT okay, something that can be devastating emotionally to admit. Sounds silly, I know; it is like someone with a "lump" who will not see a doc because they are afraid it is Cancer. There is a twisted comfort in ignorance; there is also a terrible fear that once that truth comes out you will discover there is NOTHING that can be done. For me, it was a comfort knowing that if it "got bad enough" I could "confess my distress" and they would make it better; but I would not play that card due to fear they MIGHT not help and I would know for sure that this was my destiny, forever.

This obviously plays into the depression, fear that this will never change and that even IF you finally admit you need help, that the last candle of hope could be snuffed out, and you could be told there is nothing that can be done.

I get that intellectually this makes no sense whatsoever - but emotions are not necessarily logical and can override common sense. Currently, I suspect YOU are in great distress yourself as it is so challenging seeing your wife suffer. Perhaps your quest to help and constant suggestions are more about your feeling of being unable to fix things and give your wife a higher quality of life. By this I mean you have the NEED to fix her, and when your suggestions, made out of love and caring, are not well received, you feel you are failing your love. I apologize if I am making inappropriate assumptions, I just wonder if the fact that your need to SOLVE these issues, and being/feeling ignored or attacked is causing you to feel ​un​empowered...driving you to try harder and harder, yet still getting rebuffed and rebuffed - how incredibly frustrating!!!

If I could suggest, simply ask, gently, "how can I help" in the moment, for the next hour, dial it back to the "small" picture. You may help best at this time, by ignoring the larger picture, and deal in the moment.

Let her guide you in HOW you can be helpful, instead of showering her with suggestions because the sad reality is, you probably cannot fix her and stop her distress.

There is an oft used proverb: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink...all you can do is support and encourage, sometimes. This can be a VERY difficult, near impossible (at times) road to travel without feeling sad, angry, impotent, frustrated then guilty, all at the same time. You feel as though your efforts are at best unappreciated, and at worst, viewed with hostility or disdain. Perhaps keep your research to yourself, for now. When she is ready and ASKS for specific assistance, you will be ready to roll!

Hugs to you and your wife.

(edited to correct typing/spelling errors)
 
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Brody Ekberg wrote:If what she really wants is to be heard and comforted, then dont make it about pain. The husband can focus on listening and comforting and not worry about the obvious source of pain. If she wants to get rid of the pain, then dont make it emotional. The husband can help her with the nail and the pain will be gone. But if the issue at hand is physical pain, all the listening and comforting in the world wont remove that nail. And if the issue is emotional, pulling that nail out wont change a thing.

So, I can see that in the heat of the moment, when she’s struggling and emotional, the husband just needs to suppress the desire to help his wife and just be there for her. But once shes in an open and receptive state of mind, maybe due to being heard and comforted, she ought to remove the nail.

So, in my actual situation this would translate to: when my wife is crying and saying she just wants to die and is so exhausted, that I need to listen to her and comfort her. If/when that helps, she may then be open to receiving advice about how to actually change the situation for the better. If not from me then from someone else, maybe a professional.

Am I totally missing it or am I building that bridge??  


I think as far as your application to your situation, you're getting it. Empathy first. I'd probably err on the side of offering advice only if it's asked for, at least for now. If there's something that seems super important, maybe after empathizing, you could say something along the lines of, "I have an idea that might help, would you like to hear it?" Be willing to drop it if she says no.

It must be so hard and painful for you to see your wife hurting that much and I totally understand wanting to do anything to help that stop. It must feel really frustrating that she seemingly won't accept your help. I commend you for considering that what seems like helping to you isn't necessarily what feels helpful or will work best for her and trying a new approach. You're absolutely right that when she's struggling, the best thing you can do is listen, offer empathy and comfort. She must really trust you if she's sharing such vulnerable feelings. Treating that like the honor it is by showing you hear and understand can only help.
If you haven't already, it might help to ask her when she isn't in that level of despair about what would feel most comforting or helpful to her in those moments. Maybe even write down what she shares. It's possible when she's in that much despair, she may not know or be able to articulate what would help comfort her. Or she may feel like there's nothing that possibly could. It's still good to ask how you can comfort or help her in the moment, but having a plan in case she doesn't know or can't tell you can be so helpful for both of you. I know it's made a huge difference for my partner and I.

As far as the nail video, I would invite you to consider that it isn't either/or with the pain and the feelings about it. They're connected, so she can't make it about one or the other. In sharing her feelings about her pain, she is making a bid for connection with her husband. When he tries to fix instead of empathize, she feels unheard and not understood, thereby causing additional pain, which probably makes her try harder to be understood and heard. I know it can seem super confusing, but she isn't switching the complaint and the issues aren't separate. I hope that makes sense. Lorinne explained this far better than me.
I would really recommend checking out that John Wineland video I linked in my earlier post and him in general. Super crazy helpful for relationship stuff. He's really good at bridging the gap between how men and women communicate and framing things in a way that both can hear what the other needs.

Big hugs to you both. I hope things get better for y'all soon!
 
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My wife has neck issues, with head, neck and back pain that can reduce her to tears for hours, day after day. I struggle with empathy and try to fix it.

We've had a waterbed for maybe 17 years. It doesn't wear out, adding more water makes it firmer, you can make it cool or warm with the low voltage heater under the mattress, so for aches or night sweats it can help one way or the other.

Vitamin D3 at about 4000 units a day (plus K2) makes us sleep better. I may get some St Johns Wort after this thread.

Massage. She has one of those plug in things with two rotating balls you put behind your neck while in an arm chair which works to some extent. One of those gun like pounders is too much and bruises in the neck area. A general back and neck rub with oil releases a lot of tension she didn't know was there (but sometimes the tension release can produce a pounding headache for a few hours, but is better after), plus a half hour just before bed lets her fall straight asleep and prevents screen time. Kills my thumbs though, but is me helping without my amazing preachy wisdom.

Just shut up and listen seems to be required a lot though.

Best of luck :)
 
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Hi Brody,

I have been watching this thread for some time, wanting to respond but avoiding because it is so personal for me.  I really do feel for you and your wife.  I have suffered with insomnia for over 15 years, more than 10 of those years were absolutely uncontrolled.  By that I mean I would lay awake for days, as in 3-4 straight days awake.  I was miserable and barely functional at work—in fact my work really suffered.

I am certainly no doctor so please understand that in no way am I giving medical advice, but I will relate personal experience, including what worked and what did not work.  But first off,  I don’t think it is accurate to say that sleeping medication is highly addictive (though some people can get addicted to almost anything) as much as it simply does not work after using it for some time.  This varies by the medication.

I will echo what Nick said about recommending Trazadone as it is a addiction  resistant sleeping medication.  Actually it is an older anti-depressant rarely used for depression because of sedation but still used as a sleeping medication, specifically because of the sedative qualities.  I will warn you now, the first dose was AWFUL!  I slept, but woke feeling worse than if I just laid awake all night.  Three days was all I could manage because it made me feel so terrible.  Years went by and an unused prescription just sat in my medicine cabinet before I got desperate enough to try it again.  Turns out that I needed to use it for about a week to overcome the awful side effects, but those side effects do pass.  I have known a number of other people who have had the same prescription but never got past the first week.  After that first week though, it does help treat depression and actually helps relieve general stress (don’t worry, you don’t just zone out).  I also use another sedative at night (totally legal and doctor prescribed) to make me fall asleep at night.

But there was another dimension to my insomnia.  I had a very insightful doctor who recognized that while I was taking sedatives, I was never really waking up.  His recommendation was a specific “wake-up” medication to be taken early in the morning.  Turns out I was never waking up and that made it hard to fall asleep.  I was stuck somewhere between sleeping and waking.

Now I wake up early, stay awake all day and as my wake-up medication wears off I get tired in the evening, take my sleep medication and fall asleep.  I finally have control over my insomnia after years of laying awake at night.

Brody, these steps worked for me. Maybe they will work for your wife but she has to make that decision.  I really do feel for the both of you.  I had to go through multiple doctors before I got one that would treat me adequately but now I stick to my regimen religiously.  I really hope your wife can get some relief.

Best of luck,

Eric
 
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Brody: no offense taken whatsoever.

Generally speaking I find men tend to see things in black and white; if it is broken, you fix it; and even if it is not YOUR car, you will diagnose and tell your neighbor how to fix it, even if they don't ASK for help.

Women, in my experience see more shades of gray...we understand there is a problem, but we don't necessarily immediately jump to "the solution" to fix it, we ponder all the options, study them, rate them on a dozen different scales as to "cost vs benefit" (time, emotion, money...), and at times can "investigate" into paralysis!  Women tend to take more of an overview, and then look at the entire picture, choosing what to prioritize (which is rarely ourselves), first.

Neither way is right or wrong; in some instances the male tendency to focus to exclusion is vitally important. Just as the female way of taking the overview and prioritising may be more ideal in some circumstances. I suspect this is genetic and goes back to the caveman days: hunters, more commonly men, had to be focused and task oriented. Whereas the gatherers and those that tended the "home" HAD to be able to multitask and prioritize the needs of the clan/family ahead of their own needs, even to their personal detriment.

Sometimes the issue is as simple as truly "coming out" as to the level of pain and distress to others (friends, co-workers, Medical professionals); this requires admitting to oneself (on one level or another) that you truly are NOT okay, something that can be devastating emotionally to admit. Sounds silly, I know; it is like someone with a "lump" who will not see a doc because they are afraid it is Cancer. There is a twisted comfort in ignorance; there is also a terrible fear that once that truth comes out you will discover there is NOTHING that can be done. For me, it was a comfort knowing that if it "got bad enough" I could "confess my distress" and they would make it better; but I would not play that card due to fear they MIGHT not help and I would know for sure that this was my destiny, forever.

This obviously plays into the depression, fear that this will never change and that even IF you finally admit you need help, that the last candle of hope could be snuffed out, and you could be told there is nothing that can be done.

I get that intellectually this makes no sense whatsoever - but emotions are not necessarily logical and can override common sense. Currently, I suspect YOU are in great distress yourself as it is so challenging seeing your wife suffer. Perhaps your quest to help and constant suggestions are more about your feeling of being unable to fix things and give your wife a higher quality of life. By this I mean you have the NEED to fix her, and when your suggestions, made out of love and caring, are not well received, you feel you are failing your love. I apologize if I am making inappropriate assumptions, I just wonder if the fact that your need to SOLVE these issues, and being/feeling ignored or attacked is causing you to feel ​un​empowered...driving you to try harder and harder, yet still getting rebuffed and rebuffed - how incredibly frustrating!!!

If I could suggest, simply ask, gently, "how can I help" in the moment, for the next hour, dial it back to the "small" picture. You may help best at this time, by ignoring the larger picture, and deal in the moment.

Let her guide you in HOW you can be helpful, instead of showering her with suggestions because the sad reality is, you probably cannot fix her and stop her distress.

There is an oft used proverb: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink...all you can do is support and encourage, sometimes. This can be a VERY difficult, near impossible (at times) road to travel without feeling sad, angry, impotent, frustrated then guilty, all at the same time. You feel as though your efforts are at best unappreciated, and at worst, viewed with hostility or disdain. Perhaps keep your research to yourself, for now. When she is ready and ASKS for specific assistance, you will be ready to roll!

Hugs to you and your wife.

(edited to correct typing/spelling errors)



Yea, I think you pretty well nailed it!

I mean, overall I agree with your stereotypes. I usually struggle because I can see the truth in the black and in the white, and so its all a big grey mess to me. But, in stressful situations I default to the black and white mentality. It apparently takes a level of comfort and spaciousness for me to see things as grey, and when I’m troubled or around someone else who is, the black and white picture seems to override.

You definitely understand my feelings in this situation. I feel like if I just comfort her and listen that nothing will change. Ill just be lying to her by telling her everything will be ok, when in reality, it will only be ok if she either makes it ok or accepts the way it already is and stops fighting it. And if I try to help and it backfires, I just feel like I should have worded things differently or waited for a different time or something. So basically my distress in this situation always boils down to being my fault. Either I feel like I’m not doing enough or I feel like i used a wrong technique or had bad timing. Either way, all my fault. Thats fine though because I can fix that. If it was someone elses fault, then im just a victim and cant do anything to change the situation. I wonder how much of this is actually about me needing to grow as a person, increase my listening skills and learn to hold back my need to help and fix. I mean, a lot of it is about her pain and lack of sleep, but it seems that I’ve got my own stuff to work on as well and that this situation is shedding some light on that.

Thanks again for this, I really appreciate it!
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:
I think as far as your application to your situation, you're getting it. Empathy first. I'd probably err on the side of offering advice only if it's asked for, at least for now. If there's something that seems super important, maybe after empathizing, you could say something along the lines of, "I have an idea that might help, would you like to hear it?" Be willing to drop it if she says no.

It must be so hard and painful for you to see your wife hurting that much and I totally understand wanting to do anything to help that stop. It must feel really frustrating that she seemingly won't accept your help. I commend you for considering that what seems like helping to you isn't necessarily what feels helpful or will work best for her and trying a new approach. You're absolutely right that when she's struggling, the best thing you can do is listen, offer empathy and comfort. She must really trust you if she's sharing such vulnerable feelings. Treating that like the honor it is by showing you hear and understand can only help.
If you haven't already, it might help to ask her when she isn't in that level of despair about what would feel most comforting or helpful to her in those moments. Maybe even write down what she shares. It's possible when she's in that much despair, she may not know or be able to articulate what would help comfort her. Or she may feel like there's nothing that possibly could. It's still good to ask how you can comfort or help her in the moment, but having a plan in case she doesn't know or can't tell you can be so helpful for both of you. I know it's made a huge difference for my partner and I.

As far as the nail video, I would invite you to consider that it isn't either/or with the pain and the feelings about it. They're connected, so she can't make it about one or the other. In sharing her feelings about her pain, she is making a bid for connection with her husband. When he tries to fix instead of empathize, she feels unheard and not understood, thereby causing additional pain, which probably makes her try harder to be understood and heard. I know it can seem super confusing, but she isn't switching the complaint and the issues aren't separate. I hope that makes sense. Lorinne explained this far better than me.
I would really recommend checking out that John Wineland video I linked in my earlier post and him in general. Super crazy helpful for relationship stuff. He's really good at bridging the gap between how men and women communicate and framing things in a way that both can hear what the other needs.

Big hugs to you both. I hope things get better for y'all soon!



I think that you’re 100% right about her not being able to effectively communicate with me when shes in that level of despair. And in those moments, her attitude is so rotten that anything she says is usual pretty negative and unhelpful anyway. So, me being prepared with a sure fire way to comfort her without needing to ask would definitely be a good idea.

And I understand how the pain and the emotions are connected. Logically it would seem that the pain causes the emotions and so dealing with the pain will in turn deal with the emotions. But that’s just logic, not reality. It might not be a cause and effect relationship. Im glad you admitted that this is confusing because I was starting to wonder if I was alone in thinking that!

I did watch that video and see how that style of communication can be helpful. I feel like I’m normally pretty good about communicating and bridging the gap between perspectives until I get rattled. My wife sobbing and being in pain rattles me and throws me off my game. But now that I can see the importance (at least to her) of empathy and being listened to in these moments, I should have an easier time staying grounded and focused on the moment at hand instead of spinning off into how to prevent it in the future.

Thanks again for this!
 
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jason holdstock wrote:My wife has neck issues, with head, neck and back pain that can reduce her to tears for hours, day after day. I struggle with empathy and try to fix it.

We've had a waterbed for maybe 17 years. It doesn't wear out, adding more water makes it firmer, you can make it cool or warm with the low voltage heater under the mattress, so for aches or night sweats it can help one way or the other.

Vitamin D3 at about 4000 units a day (plus K2) makes us sleep better. I may get some St Johns Wort after this thread.

Massage. She has one of those plug in things with two rotating balls you put behind your neck while in an arm chair which works to some extent. One of those gun like pounders is too much and bruises in the neck area. A general back and neck rub with oil releases a lot of tension she didn't know was there (but sometimes the tension release can produce a pounding headache for a few hours, but is better after), plus a half hour just before bed lets her fall straight asleep and prevents screen time. Kills my thumbs though, but is me helping without my amazing preachy wisdom.

Just shut up and listen seems to be required a lot though.

Best of luck :)



She has mentioned water beds before. Im hesitant to dive into another bed purchase as we have spent around $7,000 in the last 4 years on two beds and a couch, all of which she sleeps bad on. She also sleeps bad on other peoples beds as well, so I feel like the bed isnt to blame. But, water beds are certainly unique and something we have not tried.

The vitamin D tip is one I just reminded her of the other day. Her doctor stock piled us with vitamin D supplements for covid and she got out of the habit of taking them during summer. Now that the days are much shorter and the sun is way less intense, i think getting back into that will be wise. If not for sleep then for immune health. She also just bought some St Johns Wort supplements but hasn’t tried them yet.

Ill start massaging her more frequently in the evenings. I used to do it almost every night but have been super busy for months now. I rarely even sit down in the house until it’s damn near bedtime. But I’m slowing down a bit now and re-prioritizing. And I like how you worded that “ me helping without my amazing preachy wisdom.” I can relate haha
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Hi Brody,

I have been watching this thread for some time, wanting to respond but avoiding because it is so personal for me.  I really do feel for you and your wife.  I have suffered with insomnia for over 15 years, more than 10 of those years were absolutely uncontrolled.  By that I mean I would lay awake for days, as in 3-4 straight days awake.  I was miserable and barely functional at work—in fact my work really suffered.

I am certainly no doctor so please understand that in no way am I giving medical advice, but I will relate personal experience, including what worked and what did not work.  But first off,  I don’t think it is accurate to say that sleeping medication is highly addictive (though some people can get addicted to almost anything) as much as it simply does not work after using it for some time.  This varies by the medication.

I will echo what Nick said about recommending Trazadone as it is a addiction  resistant sleeping medication.  Actually it is an older anti-depressant rarely used for depression because of sedation but still used as a sleeping medication, specifically because of the sedative qualities.  I will warn you now, the first dose was AWFUL!  I slept, but woke feeling worse than if I just laid awake all night.  Three days was all I could manage because it made me feel so terrible.  Years went by and an unused prescription just sat in my medicine cabinet before I got desperate enough to try it again.  Turns out that I needed to use it for about a week to overcome the awful side effects, but those side effects do pass.  I have known a number of other people who have had the same prescription but never got past the first week.  After that first week though, it does help treat depression and actually helps relieve general stress (don’t worry, you don’t just zone out).  I also use another sedative at night (totally legal and doctor prescribed) to make me fall asleep at night.

But there was another dimension to my insomnia.  I had a very insightful doctor who recognized that while I was taking sedatives, I was never really waking up.  His recommendation was a specific “wake-up” medication to be taken early in the morning.  Turns out I was never waking up and that made it hard to fall asleep.  I was stuck somewhere between sleeping and waking.

Now I wake up early, stay awake all day and as my wake-up medication wears off I get tired in the evening, take my sleep medication and fall asleep.  I finally have control over my insomnia after years of laying awake at night.

Brody, these steps worked for me. Maybe they will work for your wife but she has to make that decision.  I really do feel for the both of you.  I had to go through multiple doctors before I got one that would treat me adequately but now I stick to my regimen religiously.  I really hope your wife can get some relief.

Best of luck,

Eric



Very helpful information, thank you! If she cant get this under control soon and wants to look into sleeping meds, I’ll definitely talk to her about this.

It’s very interesting that you mentioned not actually waking up during the day. I have suspected that for a while now. Not just with her but with a lot of people in this western culture. I could be taking that more metaphysically than what you’re meaning, but I think the two go hand in hand. Kind of like physical pain and emotional pain. I feel like when people roll straight out of bed after a bad nights sleep, grab some caffeine, jump onto social media and news, rush off to play money games all day, then come home and self medicate with cannabis and alcohol, among other things, that they never really “wake up” to the present reality, the environment around them and their own thoughts and opinions during the day. Its all constant stimulation and input with no time to process or create anything from it all. In that sense, I think a lot of people are sleepwalking through life, sometimes physically and metaphorically!
 
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Brody Ekberg wrote:  I think a lot of people are sleepwalking through life, sometimes physically and metaphorically!



Boom! Apple.

 
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Brody,

Actually it was a very observant doctor who listened to my symptoms and understood what was going on.  He drew a little clock and a chart and demonstrated that my circadian rhythms never dropped off to sleep at night and this never had the opportunity to peak the next day.  Without that peak I could not *fall* asleep fast enough to break the threshold of sleep.  I hovered at just above sleep but really neither awake nor asleep.

I know that my solution is not typically Permie, but I certainly recognize the problem and these did really help me.  Really, addressing the wakeful side really helped out.

Good luck!

Eric
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Brody,

Actually it was a very observant doctor who listened to my symptoms and understood what was going on.  He drew a little clock and a chart and demonstrated that my circadian rhythms never dropped off to sleep at night and this never had the opportunity to peak the next day.  Without that peak I could not *fall* asleep fast enough to break the threshold of sleep.  I hovered at just above sleep but really neither awake nor asleep.

I know that my solution is not typically Permie, but I certainly recognize the problem and these did really help me.  Really, addressing the wakeful side really helped out.

Good luck!

Eric



I wonder what, if anything, could have been done besides with medication. This concept really is intriguing to me. Im not 100% against western med or my wife taking medications, especially in times of desperation. But I’d like to look at all possible techniques before resorting to drugs. This seems like something that could possibly be tackled with meditation, mindfulness and lifestyle changes. But I’m certainly no sleep doctor (or any doctor) and these are just my (possibly idealistic) thoughts.
 
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Brody,

Part of my ongoing “therapy”, if you will, involves getting up at a consistent time and starting my morning promptly with three mugs of coffee!  It really helps get me up and going.

To be certain, I do have other Meds, but those do take longer to work, like up to an hour to start, but the rise-and-drink-coffee ritual really helps.

Maybe this helps?

Eric
 
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Bio Field tunning...... Eileen Mckusick she has videos, recordings, books, and some on youtube. Check her out for all your, mental physical,  and sometimes spiritual needs
https://biofieldtuningstore.com/products/head-neck-shoulders
So many choices. ........ 6 pages worth of just recordings.  Your wife can just lay down and actively listen doesn't take a lot of effort. Just stick with it, it works. Combine it with a good corrective chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupressure.
( After head trauma, a neck sprain and 2 concussions, I have absolutely 0 curve in my neck, it's the straightest! I have had relief. But I'm in my first year of 3 years of weekly appts and a posture pillow 3 x daily with a corrective chiropractor to curve my neck. At first the pillow will make your neck feel worse before it gets better. But It does get better. Combine that with many treatments and please start asap with bio field Tunning.
Good luck. <3

https://biofieldtuningstore.com/products/lightness-and-joy

Free offerings  on her website.......
https://biofieldtuningstore.com/products/overcoming-overwhelm

https://biofieldtuningstore.com/products/free-improving-resiliency

https://biofieldtuningstore.com/products/free-144-electrical-strand-activation
 
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You might check into sleep apnea.  I spent about 15 years getting progressively worse at sleeping.  Finally my therapist suggested a sleep study and I have severe obstructive sleep apnea.  So a CPAP machine was a lifesaver.  I sleep much better now.  It does take a while to get used to if that is the problem but it's worth it.  
Does she snore or have you noticed her stop breathing from time to time when sleeping?  If you stop breathing, your body eventually will wake you up to get you breathing again.

Just a thought.
 
Brody Ekberg
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Opal-Lia Palmer wrote:At first the pillow will make your neck feel worse before it gets better. But It does get better.
Good luck. <3



We’ve totally experienced the whole “it gets worse before it gets better thing before. I think thats one of the things that can be a major setback for recovering for some people.

 
Brody Ekberg
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Katie Suttles wrote:You might check into sleep apnea.  I spent about 15 years getting progressively worse at sleeping.  Finally my therapist suggested a sleep study and I have severe obstructive sleep apnea.  So a CPAP machine was a lifesaver.  I sleep much better now.  It does take a while to get used to if that is the problem but it's worth it.  
Does she snore or have you noticed her stop breathing from time to time when sleeping?  If you stop breathing, your body eventually will wake you up to get you breathing again.

Just a thought.



Ive never heard her snore and haven’t noticed her not breathing, but I sleep hard and usually don’t notice much at night!
 
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I love your desire to help her and your reaching out.  That is beautiful.  That being said, she will have to be the one to do what needs done, obviously.  Take care of yourself too.  Most Permies already are outside a lot, but get out there, with her if she will come.  For you adding adaptogens to your life would be helpful.  There are many with nuanced differences.  But mostly to be an adaptogen you must do no harm and help nudge the body out of its position of stressed fight or flight or apathy.  The mushrooms Lions Mane, Reishi or Chaga fit nicely as well as herbs like Ashwaghanda, Eleuthero, Tulsi, Schisandra and Ginseng.  We are working on a sleep formula and have not poured it off nor tried it yet...but I think it is going to be epic.  Here are the ingredients: Catnip, California poppy, milky oats, chamomile, peppermint, licorice.  Gentle enough for children without the grogginess of Valerian, helps with pain, stress and exhaustion.  I hope you find the help you both need.  All love.
 
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I would honestly suggest trying cbd in a pen. It has been a miracle for my husband.
 
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Forgive me if I am approaching a complex problem with an oversimple suggestion that has likely been tried. It's been such a profound tool to wellbeing in my life and chronic pain issues (as well as sleep and mood) I felt it couldn't hurt to put in another vote. It's hot water immersion, the good old hot bath. In a big enough tub to float if possible, long enough to really get all muscles relaxed, (for me it's at least 15 minutes, 30 or more is better) every evening before bed.

We have a big outdoor wood-fired tub at our place. It takes a bit of effort to get it to temp, but for me it's the difference between functioning the next day, or not. Showers aren't long enough. Heat pads only work on a small spot and can't achieve body-wide relaxation. I don't believe saunas work as well either-the ability to float and take pressure off your skeleton leads to a more fully relaxed state.

So long as there are no other contra-indications to heat exposure of this sort for your wife, a soaking routine might help some, if not a lot. It might help you both! And you don't need a pharmaceutical company to get access to hot water, tubs can be made of lots of things. My two cents. Good luck to you both, hope things get better soon.

 
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As a female currently going through the same thing the number one things that help is a hotel or a trip somewhere. Going somewhere getting out of the bedroom you never sleep in really helps me.

Camping also great for when I can't sleep especially when it's warm. Going on atleast a week long trip to get her out of her head could help, either alone or with you. This helps me.

Make her some Valerian tea and tell her if she really wants to fucking sleep she needs to drink it. Make it for her somewhat strong and stick the cup in her face.

You can empathize till the cows come home but having a backbone helps with with an irritable woman or atleast it helps me😁. This is also coming from a woman who grew up with a depressed mother and the best things that helped her in her darker times was a kick in the arse.
 
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Eating before bed can actually be very beneficial because it can lower cortisol. Night wakings can be from the liver running out of glucose. Honey & salt before bed can help her stay asleep. I usually drink a glass of raw milk with honey before bed & sleep so well.

Also, she probably needs trauma therapy(somatic trauma if you can find one)... this specific type of therapy can help with the physical as well as the mental.
 
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Hey,
Another person here who has an experience similar to your wife's. I had very intense nerve pain, especially around my neck and upper back. Had a few concussions and whiplash issues that impacted it. Hearing you talk about the huge amount of pillows, trying to just find a way to get comfortable enough to sleep, is SO relatable. I was so exhausted it was insane. Depressed, could not function, just unbelievably exhausted beyond words. I also couldn't take pain meds because I have really bad reaction to them. So truly - just huge empathy for what your wife is going through.

My husband reacted very similarly to yourself. I honestly remember suggestions like yoga, meditation, not eating before bed, not watching a screen X hours before bed...pretty much everything you suggested, aside from the cannabis, my husband also suggested. He said it out of a place of concern and love, at the time. I'm sure you are coming from that place as well.

After years of this, both the advice and the pain, I managed to find a way to decrease the pain and finally get to sleep, and it was unbelievably amazing.  So I'm putting this out here as someone who has been in a similar situation with the pain and with my husband, and managed to get to a good place.

Of course, this may not be the same solution that would work for your wife and you, but I wanted to pass on some of what I went through in the case that it helped.

So, first - while it is obviously really important that your wife try to find a way to sleep or cope with her level of sleep, another thing that has a huge impact is support during the rest of the day in ways that don't have anything to do with sleep.

Pain grinds you down. Sleep deprivation grinds you down. You've already noted that she just seems overwhelmed and depressed, so I'm sure you've seen it.

So the question I'd ask is this: is there anything you do, or can do, to help her with some of her tasks during the day, when she's struggling like this? Wasn't sure if there was something you are already helping out with, or can help out with.

For example, what does she do to support the household? Does she cook? Laundry? Garden? Take care of finances? Clean the house, feed animals, repair things, etc...?

Just asking things like, "hey, I can make dinner tonight so you can relax a bit. would that work for you?" means SO much. It shows that you care. It shows that you are thinking of her troubles in a realistic way, like the fact that sleep and pain make everything else so difficult that help is needed. Honestly, they should be handing out gold medals to every person who manages to accomplish anything with chronic pain and that level of sleep deprivation.

I say this as someone who has done these tasks both with and without the pain and fatigue. Gold. Freaking. Medals.

Because I know you understand that your wife is exhausted and depressed and suffering. It's clear in everything you say. It's clear you care very much. But at the same time...the suggestions that you have made seem like you maybe are missing some of what's going on, as well, to be honest.

Like, you have talked about the TV screens and eating and meditation and all of that, and it absolutely does impact sleep. I would not argue against any of these; they DO impact getting to sleep or staying asleep.

But, and it's a big 'but,' these all impact 'normal' sleep. These are all things that can cause problems for the average person who isn't really dealing with anything else that impacts their sleep. They are great suggestions for people who are struggling with screwed up sleep cycles and circadian rhythm disregulation and problems with calming the brain and such, so that they can sleep.

Your wife is not one of these people. Your wife has pain. Pain is the reason your wife cannot sleep.

And all these other suggestions are...well, they actually relate to one of the flaws in that nail in the head video that's been discussed already. The man in the video can see what's wrong, but the wife needs more emotional support, or to vent, etc.... And many on here have suggested that your wife doesn't want you to solve the problem, they want to be listened to.

There is one problem with this assumption, though (in the video as well). This presumes you know better than your wife what the problem is. Like, it feels like you are seeing nails in your wife - TV time, too much stress, screen time before bed, etc... - and keep trying to find ways to encourage her to take them out.

Your wife keeps saying that it might help, but the pain is the biggest issue (if i'm reading things right - I tried to read all the responses). Which means...it may not be a case of 'it's not about the nail' because she doesn't feel listened to but more a case of 'it's not about the nail' because there's a huge wound in back of your wife's head - the pain - that is much more of an issue than a few measly nails. And taking out the nails won't make much of a difference until the wound is triaged, basically. And on top of that, trying to take out these nails is using up a lot of energy that your wife doesn't have, so that's a lot of effort for very little in return.

And I can tell you, as someone who went through this and was on the receiving end, it feels so belittling to have someone ignore what you are telling them. It feels like they are treating you like a child because 'they know better.'

Your wife does seem depressed and overwhelmed, which yeah, that'll mess up the mind some and does make you worry that she's not seeing things realistically. However, she is a fully grown adult who is also the one living in her body, and dealing with the pain and crushing fatigue, and trying to tell you what problem needs to be dealt with first (the pain) because it is the reason for the other major problem (the lack of sleep). Ignoring her because you think she must be wrong, because it doesn't match up with what you experience in your body, or what you think she should be experiencing in her body, is going to make it hard to support her.

We can't fully support people if we don't believe what their reality is, you know?

Which actually applies to the concept of 'leading by example,' too.  I say this with all the care in the world: please don't do that.

If you want to do things to improve your life, that's great. If you feel like it's hypocritical to make suggestions that you aren't already following, that's also a great reason to alter your behavior.

But if you are choosing to do things in the hopes that she will see what you do, and see something in it that she should emulate? Yeah...that just makes it feel like you aren't listening and are trying to find a roundabout way to give her the same suggestions that you were already giving her.

We don't lead by example for equal partners, you know? Maybe we put our money where our mouth is, but 'leading' always carries that suggestion of knowing more than the person you are 'leading,' of you being right and her being wrong, and you trying to 'show' her what she should be doing.

That just never feels good to be on the receiving end of from another adult that you want to respect you as an equal. It'll often make you feel frustrated because you are trying to show your wife something and it can feel like she 'isn't listening' if she doesn't start emulating what you are doing. And it can make her frustrated because she'll feel like you are saying the same things you were, but in a different form, and make her feel that you aren't listening to her, either, you know?

I don't know in your and your wife's situation, but for mine: not a single thing my husband suggested ended up helping until I dealt with the pain. And some actively made it worse - like yoga and chiropractics. Both of these can cause a lot of problems if there are spinal injuries in the mix.

And I wish I had answers for you about dealing with the pain, but I'm just going to share what helped make things better for me. Might give some ideas of something to explore, potentially, at the very least.

For me, lowering inflammation was a huge positive for lowering the pain, but avoiding anti-inflammatory foods didn't do enough to even notice. I had other issues that were causing increased inflammation that impacted the pain.

First, I found out I have an auto-immune disease (celiac disease). Much more common in women. Fatigue, inflammation, and depression are some of the most common earlier symptoms of the majority of these diseases, so they can be hard to diagnose - I only got tested because another person in my family got diagnosed and that means you are a higher risk to have it yourself. I had none of the traditional symptoms of it at all.

All auto-immune disorders can cause widespread inflammation in the body, so any chronic pain is typically much worse. When I got this, and got treatment, pain AND depression were better, because inflammation was causing them both (check out inflammation and impact on depression - it can cause depression that cannot be treated by something simple like behavior modification).

I had pain lower enough I could finally sleep again, just from this. It's honestly worth at least checking if there are any family auto-immune disorders that she might be at risk of developing.

But figuring out that I had a food intolerance that ramped up my inflammation helped even more. Had to do an elimination diet for that, because it ended up being a chemical sensitivity and there are no accurate tests for that (the current test for sulfites, the one I had problems with, has about a 50/50 accuracy, so...not much help).

Obviously this is not something everyone has, or even everyone has the energy to do, but if someone can help set up a diet and cook the meals for her, and she's willing, might be worth exploring to see if it impacts the pain.

I still have pain flares if my disease or my diet alter (I have other problems that impact it as well), but it's so much better now it's unrecognizable. Eating anti-inflammatory foods helps now, but it didn't make a dent in things before.

I know biofeedback helps some of my close friends with chronic pain that nothing seemed to touch, not even drugs. There are some expensive systems that do it but that people can buy themselves now, as opposed to going to a doctor for, but I don't recall the name right now.

And also, I am really sorry if this comes across harsh. I am truly not trying to be so. This is an emotional subject for me that caused a lot of pain between me and my husband, especially when I felt that no matter what I said about my experience, what he focused on what what he 'thought' my experience was vs. what I was saying it was.

I just hope that you and your wife can avoid that and have a much better outcome and that you and she can find some peace and harmony and get some sleep. :-)
 
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Cris Fellows wrote: For you adding adaptogens to your life would be helpful.  There are many with nuanced differences.  But mostly to be an adaptogen you must do no harm and help nudge the body out of its position of stressed fight or flight or apathy.  The mushrooms Lions Mane, Reishi or Chaga fit nicely as well as herbs like Ashwaghanda, Eleuthero, Tulsi, Schisandra and Ginseng.  We are working on a sleep formula and have not poured it off nor tried it yet...but I think it is going to be epic.  Here are the ingredients: Catnip, California poppy, milky oats, chamomile, peppermint, licorice.  Gentle enough for children without the grogginess of Valerian, helps with pain, stress and exhaustion.  I hope you find the help you both need.  All love.



I harvest a lot of wild mushrooms and drink mushroom based herbal teas all winter. I have lions mane, turkey tail, 2 species of reishi, chaga and red belt that I make tea with and also have reishi, chaga and red belt double extract tincture to use on days that I dont drink tea. As for herbs, I use peppermint, spearmint, echinacea, chamomile, rosehips, lungwort, chicory, dandelion and sarsaparilla root. My wife doesn’t use herbs or medicinal mushrooms nearly as much though. Her focus is usually on getting some caffeine and not necessarily medicine.
 
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