A term I did not coin, “painsomnia” is nothing new. It means “I can’t sleep because I’m in enough pain that my brain can’t shut down for the night”.
Tonight is one such night. Everything hurts, especially my left heel, which my doctor is still trying to figure out what it is about.
How to deal with it? Well, for starters, I have taken my pain medications as prescribed. This usually helps, but tonight, it’s not enough. It doesn’t help that I had a seemingly random anxiety attack, and now I’m anxious about getting anxious… But let’s address the issues one by one.
I can’t escape pain. Nothing that has been prescribed actually helps it enough. I have gotten to it to a certain extent, but pain levels fluctuate. I have better days and I have worse days. Tonight falls under worse. To a certain extent, I have already accepted that I will be in pain the rest of my life. This helps, because now I don’t have to focus on how to reduce the pain, but rather on how to manage it. Tonight, I’m managing it by taking my mind away from it for a bit.
Since my anxiety attacks are somewhat random, I can get anxious about possibly getting anxious. I know it sounds a bit weird, but trust me, having anxiety attacks in public can be a bit embarrassing, thus creating further anxiety. So how do I deal with that? Well, breathing mindfully. That is, turning all my attention to my breathing patterns and consciously slowing down my breathing, making sure it’s not shallow.
Distraction is a good way to reduce pain, because your brain gets engaged in other things other than just the pain, ultimately reducing it. And breathing slowly and fully, and mindfully can help bring anxiety levels down. This mindful breathing also creates a distraction, so boom! Two birds with one stone.