Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

awake for so many days that I collapse, pass out, still no sleep

Im scared... I always had problems sleeping, I got my first sleep medications when I was 7 years old, and when I was 15 I was diagnosed with delayed sleep phase syndrome and restless legs syndrome, but that was just the start of it... my sleep disorder has progressed into something which really terrifies me, because no doctors understand what it is... Most of them dont believe how long Ive stayed awake, and MAYBE if I pass out, have spasms and get paralyzed and have no physical reflexes, and they bother to look into that, then they will believe me but they will still tell me it is something psychological and that I have to go talk to someone. The truth is psychologically, mentally, emotionally I have never been better and happier in my life, but my sleep has never been worse. The longest Ive been awake is a total of 10 days in a row, however this was when doctors took off my sleep medications for an "evalutation period" later I looked up the longest a person has ever been awake and it said 10 days... then a few years later it changed to 11 days, but still I can see that the problem I have is very rare. It only happened once that I was awake for 10 days straight, but I have experienced many times, and more and more now staying up for a week completely without sleep. In the end my body stops functioning completely, I pass out have spasms and get paralyzed and the doctors have no choice but to give me a coctail of really strong medications that are almost like a narcosis in order to make me fall asleep...
It terrifies me because I have NO CONTROL and I have NO IDEA where in the world it comes from... usually I sleep a little although its not good I at least sleep, but then these sleepless nights just come over me, like a flu or something, like a wave of something unexplainable unprovoked... it is completely out of context with if there is a stressful situation going on in my life or not... I can sleep very well the time before an exam for school, and I can be without sleep during a vacation when I have no stress, and the other way around.
What frightens me even more is the fact that I have a heart condition, Im on betablocks for having a very high irregular pulse, and when I dont sleep my pulse rockets and gets very high and it never gets to rest, and I start feeling pains in my chest... then I have to take these strong medications that youre not supposed to even use together or if you have a problem with your heart, but if I dont take them then I wont sleep at all ever and Im guessing thats even more harmful to my heart...
Anyways I just want to live... I dont want to one day just die because my body will be too exhausted for all these things... I dont know what I can do... I realize no one here will probably have any idea what its like but just felt like writing my frustration out into the world... but if anyone has any good experience with a sleep doctor, neurologist, a place for sleep analysis they can recommend feel free to share..Smile I live in Norway but Im pretty desperate and would go anywhere and do anything just to get a little better... or at least to not get even worse...
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replied August 31st, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Feel your pain Nightwalker. Insomnia is horrible. Several responses for you.

First, being sedated should not be confused with proper sleep. Drugs or anesthetics that force unconsciousness have the effect of switching off the mental functions that are actually quite active during sleep, especially during REM sleep.

Second, just curious how you actually know you are awake and not asleep for 10 straight days. Do you ever during this entire period lay down with your eyes closed? If so, there is a strong possibility that you are actually sleeping and not aware of it, a very common condition known as sleep state misperception.

Such misperception is actually a big part of the problem for many insomniacs, as it feeds the worry about sleep. Such worry is the raw fuel for insomnia. That's where it gets its energy from.

So two suggestions. Be sure to work closely with your docs on any medical issues. And trust them when they diagnose you. Go with it. Don't fight it.

Second, try to address any nonmedical insomnia issues, particularly having to do with sleep habits and anxiety.

The best solution I know of to address the nonmedical causes for insomnia are contained in CBT -- cognitive behavioral therapy -- specifically designed for insomnia. If you google something like CBT sleep training adults you will probably find many resources.

Hang in there and keep trying. You can make this better.
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