Insomnia For Her, Sleep Deprivation For Me

JaneThat's Life2 Comments

It’s 11.00pm; I’ve been asleep maybe an hour when the cold fingers of consciousness curl themselves around my sleep deprived brain, infusing it with a sense, the smallest hint that I need to wake. As I rouse I dimly hear Molly calling “Mum” from the next room. My stomach contracts, a now familiar feeling. I slowly raise myself out of the warm bed into the cold of the night and shroud myself in my warm dressing gown, mentally preparing for another long night.

Molly is going through a serious bout of insomnia. The routine for these nights can vary; either we recognise fairly early that sleep is not going to come and I will stay with her or; in her selfless attempt to let me get some sleep she will try to drop off herself eventually failing, getting herself upset and as she has tonight, waking me by calling out or with her crying.


It is heart-wrenchingly difficult, some mornings she is in such distress, having only being asleep for a few hours, she is incapable of pulling herself together to go to school. Fortunately we have usually managed to gently encourage her through her morning routine and onto the bus. She has not missed many days however her lateness may soon become a problem.

At the moment Molly is barely managing and as it is the end of term I worry about the quality of her school work. I am also concerned that while she is so sleep-deprived that she may spiral into depression or possibly have an accident due to inattention. I have quickly realised that the only way forward is to be quietly and gently supportive consistently putting one foot in front of the other until we hopefully move through this nightmare and out the other side.

Our doctor has diagnosed Molly with mild to moderate anxiety and recommended a child psychologist who has had spectacular results helping kids with exactly the same struggles. This is not just some bad sleeping pattern, Molly has been building up to this and it is now at a point where we need to dig down and find the underlying cause of the insomnia so that we may present her with some strategies to help her cope.

As a family it is a challenging time. I don’t think I was ever this tired even when breastfeeding through the night. I find it difficult to function properly and although I have made sure I am the one to get up to Molly, Pete’s sleep can’t help but be disturbed. It is hard not to let exhaustion generated anger and frustration spill out into our family relationships although I think we are doing as well as we can under the circumstances.

There is a lighter, humorous side to the situation. The things you do when sleep deprived can be hilarious in the retelling. I am constantly getting in the shower with my glasses on or stomping around the house looking for them while wearing them. I work hard not to close my eyes at the traffic lights; the warning horns from the cars behind are a harsh way to wake from a glorious nap. I have put water in the pod part of the coffee machine and the pod in the water part. Sitting the fly spray next to the hairspray is not a good idea for sleep addled brains similarly the soap next to the shampoo. The list goes on.

I know we are not alone in this with Molly. As kids enter their teenage years the pressures are many and navigating them can be a minefield. Especially if there has been a previous trauma. Thankfully there is a lot of good support available. We have a very good doctor who has put us onto a group who specialise in helping kids in the same situation and have been very successful at it. We are in the lucky situation of being able to get Molly the help she needs. It saddens me that there are many kids who are not so lucky and battle on without the support they need.

Have you had similar issues at home? Perhaps we can get a discussion going, let me know your thoughts.


2 Comments on “Insomnia For Her, Sleep Deprivation For Me”

  1. Hi Jayne – we have known each other for so long, but not of each others problems being the other side of the world. Having a daughter of 22 years at University, who has suffered with anxiety and, an element of depression, I know what you are going through. Also, having a son who is aspergers, we had many years of children not going to sleep. My son was prescribed Menaltonin from the Doctors – this gives one’s brain the feeling of being in the dark and so the reaction is to sleep. However, it doesn’t keep you asleep, it just gets you to sleep. That was the only way with regard to him, but being on the autistic spectrum, it was easy to get some for of help. My daughter, on the other hand is different. Now she is at Uni I get calls from her at 1.00 in the morning – “Mum, still can’t sleep” and yet, at times, she sleeps during the day. It’s all the wrong way round!!! I am hoping that she will grow out of it!!

    1. Julie, what an inspiration you are to have come through all that and still be enjoying life. I know things will improve for Molly but it will take time and commitment. There is more to the story than the not sleeping but will leave that for a future blog. Teenagers do have different sleep patterns to us oldies and they can exist a lot easier than us on much less sleep so I am sure that V will grow out of it. With Molly we have learned a few relaxation techniques which seem to be working well so will share them, maybe they will help.

      Jane x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *