Goodnight, ‘Pam

I’m the type of person who seldom takes painkillers. I’ve had fairly major surgery and still, just don’t use unless I’m in agony.
I’m also the type of person who hasn’t ever mastered the art of a consistently great sleep. I can’t even nap.

As you can imagine, after they took my John away in the ambulance, the cops came and went, the coroner left his card, and victims services handed me over to friends, i’d been awake for about 60 hours or so. People tried to get me to sleep, but how could i… I may have drifted in for a few minutes here and there, then either snapped out of it violently or woke up crying.

Then my mom of all people urged me to go to my GP and get some pills. I figured just sleeping pills, and i had taken the over the counter ones before, and found it was 50/50 chance if they worked. After the doctor heard what happened, she reached for her pad and pen and wrote me a prescription for lorazepam. She said I probably have PTSD.
I was kinda shocked I needed this kinda drug. I realize now, no biggie, right?
And it wasn’t. The 0.5mg I got were not very effective. Lucky if i got 4 hours sleep a night. I was having a hard time falling asleep, not uncommon even before, but instead of an hour or so, sometimes three hours. and was still waking up at 4 or 5, and the first thing I thought about was my beautiful husband, and why he chose to take his final sleep. He drifted off  alone, which breaks my heart even more.
After a few more nights like this, i realized, 0.5 mg isn’t strong enough. I was living off snippets of sleep, and i needed to be alert as legal paperwork was coming in daily.

One of my neighbours is a nurse and she said that a whole mg of “Pam”, as she calls the pills, is definitely ok for me. Not sleeping is worse. I needed sleep, obviously, but as my eating was nearly non existent, I knew this could get dangerous.
I was unfortunately also still drinking alcohol at this point.

I got worried I’d become dependent. I know. Not a hard drug, but there you go. I was.

I had twenty 1mg pills, and they lasted me over a month, so I’d say I’m ok.
I’m not advocating drugs at all, but they really got me back on track to a healthier sleep rhythm than I was experiencing.
I started getting around 6-7 hours of sleep.
I felt better.
I could concentrate.
The only drawback in the mornings is when it wore off. I could feel myself getting sadder… and i was already pretty sad.
That’s what scared me about talking pain killers – masking the pain isn’t ideal all the time. You should be aware your ankle hurts, and not say “hey. It feels ok” and go running.
That’s what I was scared of with these pills. It masked just a little bit of the emotional pain, and as much as it hurt, I wasn’t sure I wanted it to go away. I mean, I did and I do everyday, but not like that.
Hiding pain vs healing is a tough conundrum for a broken heart.

So I broke up with Pam right before Christmas. I figured I’d let this big painful time of year be as real as possible. Why delay or hide the inevitable. I still hade wine to comfort me…( it’s ok, i still wasn’t working.)

I’ll admit, i drank too much as this time… and I knew it. Then i just quit drinking for 55 days. I had the date to start picked out and there i was. Miss dry! Tea, green smoothies and sparkling grapefruit juice were my new poisons.
I planned on 30 dayswith no booze. 30 days came and went, and then 45 and I just went to 55. I should have gone on longer, in retrospect as I found the first week the toughest.
I’m planning on doing that dry spell again. It felt good, once I got over not having my cooking buddy with me (ever had mussels WITHOUT wine or beer?! I believe that’s a crime in some countries). I managed quite well once i got past the first week and once I accepted that non-alcoholic wine was just purple sugar water.

I respect the boundaries of where addictive substances can take me… to darker places, or to calmer places. I’m careful and cautious.
I even took a cab to my last social gathering with my support group gals, because I knew I’d enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and i did. Sometimes i have wine, sometimes i don’t. I still enjoy a social tipple, of course but it hinders my sleep terribly, especially white, if i have it too close to bedtime.

I try to get tired the normal way, running, yoga, dancing, walking, gym and gardening . There are those days where i feel i’d benefit from a Pam visit, as the thoughts won’t stop and recently have been getting worse. The “what ifs” “the whys” and the “when do I get him back?”
I just miss him so much.

I will say that if I ever face serious sleep challenges again, I will have Pam over for a few visits. But I’ll be sure not to let her outstay her welcome.

Gotta run


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