Hello Papa Bear,
Only recently have I found your advice page, and oddly I had been looking for one. Weird how that all works out....
Anyway, I’m a phoenix, but I suffer from a fairly ironic problem. I have problems getting to sleep at night. Mainly due to when nest down for the evening, I am flooded with feelings of fear and depression. My mind runs straight to "You just lost another day of your life" and "One step closer to death." I haven't been able to get it to stop and it's making my feathers fall out. When the thought of death is unavoidable when its nesting time, it scares me to death.
At one time I went for professional help. After many tests I was diagnosed with panic attacks, night terrors, and depression. They tried to medicate me, and thanks to a previous life I am not at all proud of (involving heavy drug use) I am majorly afraid of using anything that isn't natural or that forces me to do anything.
I really don’t know what to do about this, the lack of a good restful night sleep is really starting to effect me badly. my heath has been taking a turn for the worst.
What can I possibly do?
From one tired birdy,
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Thanks for your letter. Quick question: do you drink diet sodas or anything with artificial sweeteners?
Please get back to me and I'll write again soon.
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Actually I don't. I mainly drink tea and water. I never had a taste for soft drinks.
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Hi, again, Dimitri,
Okay, I always like to check that first because a lot of people drink diet sodas and consume other things with aspartame, which can really mess up your neurological system.
That aside, first allow me to congratulate you for getting off the drugs. That is no small achievement and deserves recognition. I also understand that you would be hesitant to take prescription drugs, since they can have many adverse side effects (just watch any drug commercial on TV—got depression? Take this pill.... Oh, sure, it might give you thoughts of suicide and give you a tumor, but you won’t be depressed! Say what?)
There could be a lot of things going on here. You say you sought professional help (good for you) and they diagnosed you with panic attacks, night terrors, and depression. Okay, so, that’s the diagnosis, but did they try to find out the cause of all this? Or did they just reach for the pills? Treating the symptoms will not help you without finding the cause.
One possibility could go back to your drug use. Drugs, as you well know, can really mess up your brain. It could be that whatever you were ingesting or injecting or snorting has damaged your neurological system (just as aspartame does) and this has caused your current problems. If that’s the case, then the damage is done. Now, sometimes your brain can, over time, rewire itself and recover. Other times it cannot. I personally know a man who took heavy drugs when he was young and now he is a walking zombie. It’s really sad. Fortunately, it’s not quite that bad for you and maybe there is help.
Now, going even deeper, it could be that the real problem is whatever caused your drug use in the first place, such as if you had a particularly traumatic childhood or, if you were in the military, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
These are things that you really need to discuss with a professional. Go to a counselor or psychologist (not a psychiatrist), or, if you think any of the above is true, you could also seek group therapy.
What you need to do, in the meantime, is calm your body and mind. That in itself may help you gain insights into the possible causes of your issues. There are several ways to do this without drugs, including:
There are also a number of foods, too, that you can eat that are conducive to sleep. Ever hear of drinking a warm glass of milk before bed? It’s more than just a household remedy—it can actually help. Some other foods that help you sleep are:
What you need is sleep. The less you sleep, the more imbalanced your brain becomes, and the more likely you are to have nightmares, depression, and so forth. In recent years, the medical community has become increasingly aware of how vital good, restful sleep is to our health. An organization that specializes in sleep research and assistance is the National Sleep Foundation (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/). I recommend you visit its website, join the online community, and perhaps seek a sleep therapist (a directory is available on the site).
You might discover that your problems stem from less shocking causes such as sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome, or some other very treatable trigger.
Many doctors these days are too quick with the drugs. Try some of the approaches above and I’m confident you will get some relief!
Happy Thanksgiving! Eat Turkey!
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