I have a problem very similar to this. I'm on about the third cycle of it since 2002 or so. Anxiety and insomnia become a vicious cycle. I used Ambien to help get over it the past two times; doctors had also suggested anti-depressants but I resisted them. I'm in the midst of horrible anxiety over sleep again and am not sure what is going to work. Worst feeling I've ever had. Ruining ability to work, deal with family, etc.
I know. I have had health anxiety since last July. I thought that that was bad - but now I kinda wish I was worrying about some funny looking mole or something in order to take my mind off of sleep. Because even though I have had nights worrying about a headache or a stomach pain before, I would never worry about the amount of sleep I had or whether I did sleep or not. Whereas now, everyday it's the same thing; when I first wake up in the morning, I instantly look at the time to calculate how little I slept that night and then start worrying about whether I will sleep better the following night.
I started taking antidepressants - and I have to say, I think it is better for you to avoid them. Antidepressants have made my sleep even worse. Since I have been on antidepressants, it doesn't matter how calm I feel; I am still wide awake at 4am every morning and only ever getting 3-5 hours sleep each night - and my mood doesn't even feel better - if anything I feel worse.
To top that off, I am starting to suffer from constant hypnic jerks which further keeps me awake even when I am totally exhausted. And once again, this is something that started after starting antidepressants. And now, I have anxiety over the jerks. It's a constant fear as well. It's not just "slightly on edge" or "slightly frustrated" - it is "extremely hopeless and feelings of *****". The antidepressants don't seem to be having their "anti-anxiety" effects.
I honestly feel hopeless. I have no idea what to do. Each episode feels like it is worse than the last. Each time that I have my anxiety episodes, I end up going out at 4am in the morning standing on top of a bridge feeling extremely ***** and frightened.
But the thing is, when I do sleep, my mood and thoughts change dramatically. I go from feeling suicidal and having extremely irrational thoughts to feeling completely content and having thoughts like "all that fuss over nothing". And this can happen over a few hours. The same is for the reverse; I can go from feeling completely content - it could be 1am - I feel tired and have no concern about whether I am going to sleep or not - neither do I have any concern about how much I sleep I have
I am good - I would have brief moments of doziness as well without even thinking about it.
Then, out of the blue, I am hit with irrational thoughts and my stomach and chest area sinks and everything seems like it goes slow-motion while my thoughts are racing. I try to fight it as much as possible, "not now - what's happening - what are you doing - why are you thinking this - you know there is nothing wrong - you are catastrophizing - you are only going to make it worse" - then comes the irrational thoughts, "what if I never sleep - what if the strongest pills cannot help me - what if I start to hallucinate - what if I go mental - what if I do decide to ***** - what if I go days and days without sleep - how can I hope to hold a job with repeated episodes of this - how am I going to manage living independently - how am I going to build relationships - my life is over" etc
. and then I start to go nuts.
I have been in tears many times over this now. I often think "I would of never have been like this if I'd had the same experience before I was hit with health anxiety" and sometimes I think, "I should of never taken the antidepressant". It's a nasty roller coaster ride that I am taking and I have no idea how long it will go on for or whether it will even stop.
I also feel like I am on a one-road trip to my death - and soon as well. And it's not because of lack of sleep or some neurological disorder (which I often worry about) - I actually worry about my own life being ended by myself - wilfully - something that when I would think about when I was younger, it seemed like an impossibility that I would ever do such a thing - but now it has become so real that I am extremely frightened about it.
Sorry for the wall of text - but as you can tell, it is 2am currently and I have no glimpse of any hope of getting sleep - I am having another episode - I had a good week - although I haven't been sleeping well, I have been sleeping adequate enough to keep me calm. But last night I couldn't sleep properly because of the jerks and after just 3 hours of sleep, when I tried going back to sleep, the jerks were still happening after being asleep for 3 hours. This has bothered me a lot all today and now I am extremely frightened of dozing off to be awoken by another jerk followed by extreme anxiety.