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Hypnophobia, anxiety, depression


I am posting because for the past four months I have been struggling with sleep. I often get no sleep or only three hours tops. I am a young single mother who is going through a terrible divorce. I have been struggling with anxiety/depression as my ex is a very menacing individual who once admitted that he suffers from anti social personality disorder. He is dragging me through a very painful and expensive divorce/ custody battle over my young son but has also threatened to kill me in the past, to "destroy me", and to "ruin me." Etc.

Recently black roses have been delivered to my house once a week. A dead bird was also placed on my doorstep a month and a half ago. I have involved the police.

I fear that I have developed an aversion to falling asleep because of the belief that my ex will carry out his threats when I am not conscious.

I also experience my hands shaking and heart palpitations. I am generally good at controlling my thoughts and emotions and appear to be reasonably calm and focused, so it appears that my anxiety is manifesting In a more physical form. I have been consuming more alcohol than normal (when my child is not with me) and seem to be self medicating with it.

I have experienced mild anxiety/depression at certain points in my life but have generally been very proactive about addressing and controlling these issues.

Thank you very much for your input!
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replied August 11th, 2017
Active User, very eHealthy
Hi, sorry to hear you're going through all this.

First, good on you for getting the divorce. That should be a relief that you are in fact taking constructive action to improve your life.

Second, do not under any circumstances drink alcohol to help yourself sleep! Even though it's a short term sedative, after it wears off in a few hours there is a stimulating rebound that worsens sleep. The net result is worse than not drinking at all.

There are better ways.

Suggest you see a counselor if you're not already doing so. You'll find support and good ideas to help you cope with the stress and anxiety, which I suspect are at the root of your insomia.

By reducing these to more manageable levels (can be done without drugs!), your sleep will improve.

Be sure to help yourself in the meantime. Keep a consistent sleep-wake schedule with no or minimal napping, try to get some good exercise most every day, avoid caffeine later in the day.

And treat yourself to a relaxing wind-down before bed every night. Sort of a routine to help yourself transition to a restful state more conducive to falling asleep.

If you are the self-help type, check out CBT sleep training methods for adults. Probably similar to what you do with your child, but these are designed for adults. Much good info online.
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replied October 26th, 2017
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