Friday, June 26, 2009

Sleepless Nights

At about age forty-five I stopped sleeping. It is the dirty little secret they don't tell you about  menopause: insomnia. Having meditated for years I had developed a technique for dealing with sleepless nights. I would breath deeply and relax…but I never actually went to sleep. My mind would yammer away all night long… All night long…  I called it the pretend sleep.


The pretend sleep had a certain sleep quality…at least I was flat on the bed. Once a month or so I would get a blissful deep sleep but then the pretend sleep would return. This went on for years. Migraines were a weekly affair. I was irritable, cranky, depressed. I started getting every cold and flu that came down the pike. I knew it was from not sleeping but doctors had difficulty understanding the word 'sleepless.' They don’t like to hear menopausal women talk about insomnia. I tried massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine, flower essences, homeopathic… you name it I tried it.


At my yearly physical exams I would tell my doctors yet again about it. The responses I got ran the gamut from a blank stare to one doctor (and I am not making this up) saying, “Well maybe you should start a middle of the night caf√©/salon for other people like you who can’t sleep.” Fuck her.


I don’t see that doctor anymore. She actually had the gall to write me a letter asking why I had asked to have my medical records transferred to my current GP who is over sixty, a woman and post menopausal. She gets it.



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