Help me knock myself out
April 19, 2012 8:08 AM Subscribe
Help me get over my irrational fear of sleep medication.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had difficulty sleeping for my whole life. For years, I’ve considered 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep a gift, and I’ve endured more entirely sleepless nights than I can count (it happens at least once every two weeks).
Within the past year, I have started to suffer worsening depression and anxiety, which has troubled my sleep even more. I started seeing a psychiatrist about a month ago, and he put me on 5mg of Lexapro (which he plans to increase over time). This medication has impacted whatever regular sleep I was getting, making it seemingly impossible for me to fall into a deep slumber. At this point, I am so sleep-deprived that I can barely function at work. Moreover, I feel unable to assess whether the medication is having antianxiety or antidepressant effects, because I spend my days in such a gauzy haze of exhaustion.
Here is the twist: I’m irrationally terrified of sleep aids. My psychiatrist prescribed 10mg of ambien three weeks ago, and I’ve had it sitting on my desk since then. I have been unable to bring myself to take it. I know that I would feel much better if I were well-slept, and that the ambien can help with that. But I chicken out whenever I am about to knock one back.
I have two irrational fears: 1) that I will die in my sleep / pass into a coma and 2) that I will wake up somehow “changed”—i.e., that the drug will somehow permanently affect my personality or cognitive functioning. It’s likely that the first fear is part of the reason I have sleep trouble to begin with, and I have discussed both of these issues with my doctor. He is understanding, but the only thing he can say in response is that he recommends trying the ambien—it is my choice, of course, but he thinks it will help me and does not think it will hurt me.
I want to get well, and I believe that paying back my sleep debt is a necessary component of that. I know I have a tool in front of me to help. How do I make the leap?
Has anyone dealt with similar fears around sleep drugs? Is there any basis to my worries? Tips/tricks/advice?
If it makes any difference, I am a 29 year old male working a 9-5 desk job. Thank you so much.