Pain + Insomnia = Awful

I am beginning this post 15 minutes into Rheumatoid Arthritis Day.  I am not yet wearing my indigo, but I have spent a good amount of time between when my children went to sleep (Em held out til nearly 9), when my husband went to sleep (nearly 10), and now into outfit planning and pondering all the things.

If you are not a chronic illness sufferer  someone who battles a chronic pain condition, I’ll sum this phenomenon up for you.  Most of us spend the day battling fatigue, trying to stay awake, wondering if the “propping my eyes open with toothpicks,” thing isn’t just a really great idea waiting to happen.  Then, something happens during the day to trigger pain over and above our normal (which is, generally speaking, most people’s 8ish on a 1-10).  This “something,” can be pretty much anything, in my experience.  Could be you actually left the house and attempted to engage in society, or run errands, or take your child to some obligation or another.  Could be a fall, or stumble, or a tweak of a nerve.  It could just be a normal day taking its toll with extra weight, or could be emotional stress manifesting physically.  Whatever the case, painsomnia strikes.  After a day of fighting and fighting to stay conscious, you get in your cozy bed, and the pain starts to swell.  At this point, I start hoping that my nighttime muscle relaxers and pain pills will kick in and allow me a little sleep…. Which works sometimes, but not often.  What usually happens, what I’m currently experiencing, is not just inability to sleep, but a state of hyper awake.

The impetus for my bout of painsomnia tonight is a natural phenomenon: Rain.  I used to love when it rained at night.  Used to get my best sleep when I could hear raindrops on the roof.  My husband and I lived in Oregon for several years, and I did some of my best sleeping there, as it rains 9/10 days.  However, when my RA is flaring, which has been a constant to some degree or another for the past two years or so without fail, rain has been my enemy.  I can feel a good storm coming in the worst way.  Most shifts of barometric pressure affect me to some degree or another, but there is something about rain that just makes every joint in my body scream.

Why Sleep- Watch the same movies over and over and overand count down to yournext pain pill instead!

So… Here I am.  Figured I could at least do something productive with my time, since sleep is not on the table, and I am already about halfway into my second chick flick.  I like to watch really sappy movies pretty much all the time, but especially when I am in extreme amounts of pain.  When I was in labor with my five year old, I had my mom go rent sappy movies… I can’t remember what they were, but one had JLo in it, I’m pretty sure.

The movie currently on is You’ve Got Mail, which is highest in my comfort, romantic rotation.  Previous was Notting Hill, which has the weirdest theme song, and will probably follow YGM with Pride and Prejudice.  I’m pretty sure I will solve all the world’s problems tonight, but forget the solutions by tomorrow morning.

Things I am currently working on: How to lose weight and still eat all the Girl Scout Cookies; How to get Oklahoma to become a state that caucuses, because I think it’s the coolest thing ever; What the perfect headphones look like and where to find them; Where did the idea to count sheep come from; Why I miss my kids while they’re asleep and if it would be morally reprehensible to wake them up so they’ll snuggle me, and a million other things.  I’m mostly trying not to go find a snack, which is what I really want to do, and will be totally justified in doing if I am awake long enough for it to be pain pill time again…

So how do you cope?

What do you do when you can’t sleep?  Any guilty habits?  What about tried and true methods of catching those z’s?