Ambien, part two


Last night just before we went to bed, my orange hair, freckle face OS went to throw something outside in the trash bin. I was tired and keyed up but knew I needed sleep. I was upstairs, sleep mask on top of my head, wearing my super alluring bite guard and mismatched pajamas when the Hubs told me he needed my help, Ike had been hurt.

I went downstairs and found Ike groaning in pain with a bloody leg and knee. It was past midnight.

After attending to Ike and realizing a trip to the Emergency Room wasn’t necessary, I knew sleep was going to be especially challenging. It would have been so much easier to just pop an Ambien knowing I would fall asleep…

but I didn’t

and I’m telling you this not to brag about myself because truly there is nothing to brag about

but here’s one of things that I did and it will sound really weird to some of you*

I picked a letter in the alphabet and began to pray the attributes of God.

My precious grandma gave me these praying hands/bookends and I have passed them onto my middle OS Aaron. A loving reminder of the power of prayer.

For example, I picked “P” and I let my mind claim the things I know to be true about God…

He’s the Prince of Peace, he’s the Great Physician, he’s my protector and praiseworthy. He pursues me, he is present. He is perfect and pure. The Lord is my portion, etc..

Part of the quilt I made for our bed

Some letters are harder than others but I like the challenge and it helps. I’ve been doing this on and off for years but never without the use of Ambien. I find that without prescription medication, this nighttime ritual gives me a chance to pray and to focus my mind on holy and righteous things since my brain has a tendency to not shut off.

Like many of you have shared with me privately, I can get scared that I might not get enough sleep which then can cause my mind to race but praying and claiming God’s character are drug-free tools with no strange side effects.

I feel the Lord’s presence with me.

He loves me, he loves you.

And while I understand this might sound really ridiculous to some

God speaks to me while I am in my bed

And He tells me, “Daughter, I’ve got this. It’s time to let me fix this.”

For 11 years I have battled insomnia. I have swallowed over 4000 little potent pills chasing rest. When I think about it, I see that I have put myself in serious danger and been careless. And on an unsuspecting Saturday night in July, the Lord said I was done. I can’t do this alone but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. There is a God who bothers with me even though He has a million other things to do and much bigger problems to address.

Why He finds a middle age mama with pink highlights, who wears a sleep mask and a bite guard and who uses no less than three pillows for sleep worthy enough to help, I can’t explain but I’ve got to tell you this. He also finds you worthy of caring about too. And if you have another struggle, the Lord cares about that also. 

So there I am, in the quiet of my bed, though the rest of my family is dreaming, the God who never sleeps stays by my side and holds vigil over my weary head. And He can do the same for you, I promise. 

And here are a few of the things I’ve talked to the Lord about because I really do incline my ear to Him

August 5th marks the one year anniversary of my precious beloved grandma’s passing. Lord, I’m worried about sleeping that night and the night before. Please be near me even if I cry myself to sleep. 

And when I say goodbye to my middle OS Aaron and drop him off at school far from home, Father, could you wrap your arms around me extra tight that night and a few nights after that because I’m really going to miss him? 

Somehow mysteriously, I’m staying in bed and trusting Him. And within my soul, I hear His voice telling me, “Beloved, I will give you rest. I know how much sleep you need for tomorrow. This is going to take time to conquer but when you are weak, I am strong.”

The Shepherd tends to his sheep.

My Heavenly Father calms me, relaxes me and within time, I am asleep.

Yes, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night but I got exactly the amount I needed and for that I give great thanks.

And thank you also for I am deeply touched by the responses to my blog post. To know that others are struggling with similar issues brings both sadness and connection. Bless you for being so transparent, it’s a privilege to be entrusted with your stories and I treasure the honor to care about you. Perhaps we can help each other along the way.

*I do a few other things that seem to be helping and I will share them with you in my next post. Some of them are practical things that are beneficial. I’m also willing to share with you the alphabet prayer thing I’m doing if you are interested. Do not give up or feel hopeless, you don’t have to do this alone.

11 thoughts on “Ambien, part two

    • It’s so strange to think that sleep is supposed to be easy and for many of us, it’s a real challenge. There has got to be a better solution than the one I was using for years. It’s a process but we must not give up and keep trusting in the Lord to supply all of our needs.

  1. I, too, have been taking Ambien for years. More nights than not, it doesn’t work and I am then in a drugged state of insomnia, which makes me really angry. I am ‘with it’ enough to not get out of bed, knowing that to do so might cause me to do things I do not remember. At least I think I stay in bed….

    The most disturbing part for me is when I am in a half sleep/half awake state and say stupid things. I can hear myself saying them and am telling myself to not say them but they come out anyway. Or I’ll catch myself and say ‘never mind’ when asked to clarify what I’m saying. Unfortunately, it has been a source of humor for my family. Not so for me.

    I wonder how much of life I don’t remember, how many conversations I don’t remember, because of taking it late and then going through the next morning in a functionally drugged state. It’s a humbling thought, at best.

    I’ve tried to quit and have failed miserably. Maybe now I’ll get up the courage to try again. Thank you for being so transparent. I’m sure I’m not the only who is touched by so much of what you have to say.

    • Oh yes, I can empathize with you on all accounts. My OS/sons recall the time fairly recently when I said something rather inappropriate while taking Ambien. I remember saying it and I was trying to be funny but it really surprised them. And of course there have been other times when I find myself getting mean just before going to bed. I did similar things when I was in college and drank too much so it has always been a source of shame for me to not feel responsible for my words and actions. I’ve ordered stuff from QVC while taking Ambien (only once) and probably done other regrettable actions. I will be praying for you, it is a difficult thing to overcome but you can do it. You are not a hopeless case, I assure you and I can speak with a measure of authority on this because I considered myself one up until a few weeks ago. Stay in touch and know I care.

      • I have gone almost a week with zero sleep.I was seriously almost delirious. I will not drive if I’ve gone 3 nights. I almost got t-boned once at a very busy intersection.The oncoming car was going at least 45/50 miles/hr. and the driver would not have had time to even think of applying their breaks. Somehow God took control of my car and actually moved my car back to avoid what I know would have been a fatal accident. That one rendered me almost paralyzed for hours due to the shock.It made my stomach flip just writing it here. I guess God is not done using me yet! 🙂 Thank you for the prayers. I will pray for you whenever I am awake at night! Well, during the day too, but at night it will give me a focus other than tossing and turning and groaning and whining!

  2. Have you tried any of the natural stuff? Valerian, etc. If you’re on other meds, you’ll need to check about taking it with any other meds. I’m so sorry to hear you’re dealing with this.

    • Hi JD, (I know your real name but I’m not sure you want me to use it), I am taking calcium/magnesium and something called Natural Light (it’s not beer HA!) but I appreciate your suggestions and will pray about them. Thanks for your concern and friendship.

  3. Wow… this is an awesome story. I feel strongly about not taking certain kinds of medication and this validates all I have ever thought. I have restless leg syndrome, so people have suggested this drug to me. I have always looked for natural ways to help me with this irritating problem. I don’t have trouble sleeping but sometimes my legs will wake me up at night and many times it is a source of irritation to my husband (as his snoring is to me). All I can say is…wow. I am so proud of your trusting Christ with this situation. He really is the one who gives to His beloved even in their sleep and also giving sleep to His beloved!

    • Oh yes, RLS, not a fan of that either and I struggle with that as well. Twitching isn’t exactly conducive to a peaceful way to fall asleep so I appreciate what you are saying. If you ever find natural ways that work to address RLS, I’d love to hear. I think one of my OS also has a bit of that. And snoring, well, it’s an issue here also. Christ is doing a new thing in my life and I wish I could say I have this thing licked but I’m trusting in the only One who can give me a measure of peace and rest. Thank you for your encouraging words. You are an immensely talented and truly lovely lady!

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