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Tiredness issue -- need suggestions

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Hey, dudes.

I would like to start by saying glory to God for your presence in my life through this strange medium of an internet forum. I am very grateful for your wisdom and fellowship.

This post will be perhaps a bit incoherent, so I pray I have your patience.

About three or four years ago now (I am no good with time), the girl I was then intent on marrying left for for some dude. I insist that this post has nothing to do with her, but it is necessary to tell you that for reasons which shall become clear.

At that time, in addition to the crippling emotions, I also experienced months of near-total loss of appetite and sleeplessness, weighing only about 44kg and sleeping perhaps three hours a night. Obviously, I was entirely lacking in motivation and energy during that time.

Since then, I have become far more healthy and functional: if anything, I am slightly pudgy by my own standards.

The problem is that I am still constantly tired. I fall asleep relatively easily now, but I wake up a fair bit during the night (then staying awake only for short periods). To be honest, I'm not really sure if my sleep is disrupted, as it's been so long since I've experienced "normal" sleep, I'm not sure what "normal" is any more. What I do know is that I wake up every - single - morning feeling absolutely wrekced: tense in the neck and shoulders, sore in the bones, eyes feeling like they're on fire, and demotivated. It's as if sleep doesn't "work" for me, if that makes sense -- it doesn't do what it is promised to.

I'm pretty sure I'm not apnoeac.

I have seen doctors, who all resist prescribing me anything which would affect my sleep on the basis that those drugs will quickly become addictive. When they ask me when this all began and I tell them the point of origin, they all insist I am clinically depressed and prescribe me the usual anti-depressents. Of course, these anti-depressents do nothing for me and, in any case, I do not think I exhibit enough of the symptoms of depression to justify the diagnosis.

The only doctor I have seen who has inspired my confidence told me that I should spend a fair bit of time doing quite vigorous exercise on most days. This supposedly has some beneficial effect on the primitive nervous system. I have tried this, found it makes no difference in the short to medium term, despaired of that fact, and given up.

The thing is, I am actually quite happy and otherwise satisfied with where my life is heading (haven't "arrived" yet, but everything seems to be falling into place nicely). I do not have any residual feelings about the break-up a few years ago, other than the normal levels of grumpiness and mild distaste for my ex. However, this tiredness issue drags me down at work and makes me unproductive. I work longer hours than I would have to in order to make up for the fact that I feel I need to take breaks throughout the day. Every single day I promise myself I will get to work early and hit the keyboard as soon as I get in and it never happens.

Now, I don't expect you all to cure me, but I thought perhaps I could entreaty you for two things: (1) helping me identify what my problem might actually be; and (2) helping me identify which suitably qualified expert might be able to help me, as I am quite sick of GPs and clinical psychs who just reach for the Zoloft and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Disclaimer: in your answers, please assume that my prayer life is healthy and recently improving, as I think is the case.

Jonathan
 

DerekMK

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Something to consider is other, more ordinary drugs.  In my student days downing ten cups of coffee during the day and then a night cap of half a liter of vodka wasn't terribly unusually.  Nowadays anything more than two glasses of wine or a half a liter of beer will obliterate my sleep, i.e two or three hours and then I wake up and can't get back to sleep.  When I dramatically cut back my drinking to the above mentioned amount and only once or twice a week I did *not* reduce my caffeine intake.  One can imagine the results.  Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that even drugs that you have been consuming for years can affect your body differently as you age; in my case alcohol and caffeine are radically different for me between 20 and 25. 

From my own experience it also takes awhile for a lifestyle change to actually show any results.  So it might take a month of no caffeine or alcohol or exercise to show any effects.  Also try some sort of unwinding ritual before going to bed.  I am go straight from work to bed, I'm likely to wake up in a few hours running something from work through my head.  If I take half an hour to relax, do something mindless... I'm much more likely to sleep through the night. 
 

genesisone

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My wife watches those afternoon doctor TV shows (are you plagued with those where you are?). I get annoyed with all the "quick fixes" that get presented there. So I must face the fact that I'm being a bit hypocritical here  :).

When do you go to bed? When do you get up? I feel best when I can time going to bed and getting up to the setting and rising of the sun. Keep up with physical activity. The one that works best for me is gardening - getting down on my hands and knees and being in physical contact with the real world. If you live in an apartment, even a good indoor garden might help - be sure to touch the plants regularly. Physical touch is beneficial. Give and get hugs.

My accountant will send you a bill  ::).
 

Schultz

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I'm a bit apnoeac, so take this with that in mind.  I also have sciatica which tended to disrupt my sleep patterns due to pain, but that's under control now due to losing some weight and taking a turmeric supplement.  This post reflects my personal experience and nothing more.

I echo all what Nektarios wrote (esp. less caffeine and watch the alcohol intake) and add one of the "more, ordinary drugs" I take is simple Benadryl.  Like you, I have no problem falling alseep but I tend to wake up five or six times a night no matter how comfortable I am.  I started taking a Benadryl right before turning the light out and it's definitely helped keep me asleep through the night.  I do tend to wake up a bit groggy, but as soon as I actually get out of bed, the grogginess goes away rather quickly. 

Also, FWIW, I went through the same thing you "girl-wise" before I met my wife...same sleep pattern, weight loss, motivation.  Thankfully, my bandmates at the time literally made me go to rehearsal so I wouldn't get so sucked in, so to speak, and that helped.  At any rate, I'm glad to read you're more functional now.  Breaking up with someone you want to marry sucks, esp. when the other leaves you for someone else.
 

Adela

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Gee, that's too bad... I hope you feel better soon!

I'm not a doctor, so take any of this advice with a grain of salt and check with your own doctor...

Look at how much Magnesium you are getting in your diet.  Stress depletes your body of Magnesium, for one thing.  Calcium and Magnesium act as opposites, calcium is used for muscles to tighten, magnesium is used for muscles to relax.  Try and eat the green leafy vegetables, such as beet greens, collard greens, etc, or take some Epsom salt baths if they aren't contraindicated for you.

Look at your Vitamin D levels.....

Maybe your diet is too heavy on certain minerals and deficient in others?  Molybdenum, zinc, etc, should be looked at.

Maybe you have some chemical or food sensitivities that are making you tired.  Some doctors recommend an elimination diet where you start out with a very basic diet and slowly add foods in so you can note which ones make you tired.

 

Opus118

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Do you sleep well when you are not at home (e.g., alone in a quiet hotel room)?
 

mabsoota

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i had similar symptoms when i had a burnout in my '20s. (i like to get these things over and done with early. i think i had my midlife crisis around the same time!)
i had to put my alarm clock on the opposite side of the bedroom, so i was already out of bed and awake by the time i switched it off. like all burn outs, it was a combination of unavoidable circumstances (working 70 hours a week, for example) and an unhelpful mindset (i must, i must, i must...)
solution was lots of sleep, plenty of exercise, some time off work and reevaluating my mindset and spiritual goals.
i got better in a few months.
send p.m. if it sounds familiar, maybe i can help point u in the right direction.
 

HabteSelassie

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Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
akimori makoto said:
At that time, in addition to the crippling emotions, I also experienced months of near-total loss of appetite and sleeplessness, weighing only about 44kg and sleeping perhaps three hours a night. Obviously, I was entirely lacking in motivation and energy during that time.

Since then, I have become far more healthy and functional: if anything, I am slightly pudgy by my own standards.

The problem is that I am still constantly tired. I fall asleep relatively easily now, but I wake up a fair bit during the night (then staying awake only for short periods). To be honest, I'm not really sure if my sleep is disrupted, as it's been so long since I've experienced "normal" sleep, I'm not sure what "normal" is any more. What I do know is that I wake up every - single - morning feeling absolutely wrekced: tense in the neck and shoulders, sore in the bones, eyes feeling like they're on fire, and demotivated. It's as if sleep doesn't "work" for me, if that makes sense -- it doesn't do what it is promised to.


The only doctor I have seen who has inspired my confidence told me that I should spend a fair bit of time doing quite vigorous exercise on most days. This supposedly has some beneficial effect on the primitive nervous system. I have tried this, found it makes no difference in the short to medium term, despaired of that fact, and given up.
When your body was all out of whack during the depressive episodes, you may have messed up your thyroid. Check with thyroid enhancing diets and exercise regimes to see if you can't get your hormones back in balance.  That happened to me before, a late-bloomer puberty spurt in the opposite direction brought out body traits from my family that were smaller then I had ever been in my life ( I was literally shrinking no matter how much I ate, and I was perpetually hungry and exhausted like a 13 year old!!) and as I was shrinking my body readjusted in crazy directions, and my thyroid got all mixed up.  I was gaunt and drained of energy for almost 2 years before things got back into balance through exercise and healthy, rounded eating. 

stay blessed,

habte selassie
 
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Thank you all, I deeply appreciate you taking the time to respond. I also received some private messages which gave me encouragement.

I will respond at length at some future point.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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I suffer from severe insomnia. About 7 years ago I finally checked myself into the hospital because I had been awake for three days with only a few hours sleep. I've had two heart attacks, and my second one was triggered by a lack of sleep. I had been up for about 36 hours witout sleeping, and my heart couldn't take it I guess. My heart disease is related to a hereditary cholesterol problem, and I was due to have a heart attack soon anyway. But that lack of sleep definitely brought it on. Anyway, after that second heart attack I realized that a lack of sleep was no longer just an inconvenience, but an actual matter of life and death. So that's why I decided to check myself into the psychiatric unit of the hospital to see if I could get some help with it. The doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression and prescribed anti-depresents. But I assured him that I was not suicidal or depressed, I just couldn't sleep; so I have never taken the Paxil that he prescribed for depression. He also prescribed a low dose of Serequel for my insomnia which helped me sleep very well, and I have been on it ever since. Checking myself into the hospital was one of the best decisions I ever made. Although I don't like taking medication, it is necessary in some instances. I exercised regularly back then and ate well, but I still couldn't sleep. So, I am grateful for my Serequel, even though I wish I didn't need it.

I am not a doctor and I am in no way giving you medical advice. But sleep deprivation is a serious matter, and I understand fully how much it can affect your entire life. Talk to your Priest of course, and don't be afraid to check yourself into the hospital if you need to. That's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of wisdom. Better to put things on hold for a couple of days in order to get some help rather than trying to press on valiantly and end up destroying your health or your sanity.

"Lord have mercy."


Selam
 

PrincessMommy

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I 2nd the thyroid check.  Although hyptothyroidism is less common in men (especially young men) than in women, it's certainly a good place to start.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Anemia would make you tired and weak.  Have your hemoglobin levels checked.

..also make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D.
 

KBN1

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Requisite disclaimer: I'm not a doctor.  There.

Getting the thyroid checked would be a good move along with your testosterone levels.  Getting an accurate reading of your T3 and T4 levels rather than just TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels can help detect more subtle thyroid problems.  On a related note, do you happen to consume soy?

Do you spend time on your computer or watch TV right before going to bed?  The wavelengths of blue light that is emitted from screens suppresses the release of melatonin from the pineal gland and can mess up your circadian rhythm of sleep.  Blue light should be avoided for at least 2 hours before sleep.  There is a great free program called Flux that automatically changes the color content of your computer screen based on the time of day.

Also, how you feel when you wake up has a lot to do with what stage of sleep you are in right before you wake.  Most peoples sleep cycle is about 90 minutes.  If you try to wake up during the later stage of Non-REM, or during REM sleep it can leave you feeling non-rested.  I have noticed I feel much better in the morning if I sleep in increments of 90 minutes.  5 hours of sleep and I feel pretty horrible, but with 6 hours, while not ideal, I feel pretty good.  Likewise, I feel much better with 7.5 hours than I do with 8 hours.  It would be an easy thing to experiment with.

Best of luck in finding answers.
 

Marc1152

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I havent read all the replies but your sleep cylce is important to time right.

Here is a calculator to figure out the best time for you to go to bed so you don't wake up in the middle of a cycle and feel terrible.

http://sleepyti.me/ 
 

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See a doctor.And I think you should practice some more sports or outdoor activities.You need to put the blood into circulation and the "muscles" in movement and oxygenate your brain, lead a healthy life, physically , psychologically and spiritually.
 

HabteSelassie

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Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Azul said:
See a doctor.And I think you should practice some more sports or outdoor activities.You need to put the blood into circulation and the "muscles" in movement and oxygenate your brain, lead a healthy life, physically , psychologically and spiritually.
Exercise is crucial.  Our post-modern society has become lazy by default, everything we do is mental rather than overtly physical.  Our tasks and roles as humans has realistically shifted more towards brain power than brawn.  However, the body is retaliating.  Why are there 100,000,000 prescriptions currently for anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, or even anti-psychotic medication? Our neurochemistry is rebelling against our current lifestyles.  That being said, exercise, body movement, elevated heart rate, is crucial for life.  If our lifestyles don't afford daily opportunities for such activities, we need to incorporate them by force into our routines.  The alternative is the cry and complain and self-medicate until we die, which is inevitable regardless.  Might as well enjoy the trip in this body by using it then..

This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion.


Twirling round with this familiar parable.
Spinning, weaving round each new experience.
Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing.

This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.
Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal.
All this pain is an illusion.
stay blessed,
habte selassie
 
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