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Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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I was diagnosed with Bipol recently. I am 55 years old and

Resolved Question:

I was diagnosed with Bipol recently. I am 55 years old and my main problem is that I cannot sleep. I will go weeks without sleeping. This is a daily stuggle. I have seeked professional help but for some reason sleeping tablets don.t word. The only medication that work for sleep for me is something like Zanor, etc. This is not freely available. Herbal medication does not help. Is there something else I can use to sleep?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Sarah replied 3 years ago.

Sarah :

Hi there, are you ready to chat?

Sarah :

I am happy to chat with you about sleep if you are interested?

Sarah :

Could you tell me what is happening for you when you go to bed - what is stopping you from falling asleep?

Sarah :

You only have to pay for my answer if you feel that my answers have been valuable. I can be more specific if you join me and give me some details.

Sarah :

are you there?

Sarah :

Bipolar and sleep problems often go together. You might want to have a look at this web page that someone has written about this issue - http://www.thensome.com/stormybrain/sleep.htm If you have many thoughts at night and your brain is very active, it might be worth taking a look at EMDR therapy, that allows the client to process away emotional memories, so that they are not so 'real' and consuming. Bipolar is not something that would stop you from doing EMDR. You can find more info about EMDR at www.emdr.com Without gaining some info from you, it is difficult to tell if this would be relevant.

Sarah :

Hi there, thanks for joining me. Does any of the above sound like it might be helpful?

Sarah :

It is a sign that EMDR might be useful for you if you have negative memories from the past that are so real when you think of them that they seem like they were yesterday - you can almost touch them because they have so much detail. Does this sound like it might be what you are experiencing and what may be stopping you from sleeping?

Customer :

Hi Sarah

Sarah :

Hi

Sarah :

If you can press reply every now and then, I can read what you are typing as you go along - thanks.

Customer :

I do not know what endr is. Yes my brain is active at night - I read up to 3 books per night. No sleep at night is the norm for me.

Sarah :

Do you have negative memories that seem as if they were yesterday, that maybe you are avoiding thinking abut, or that you spend lots of time thinking about? If this is so, I will explain about EMDR. If not, I will suggest something else. What do you think?

Customer :

I do have negative memories - but I can ban them from my thoughts easily

Sarah :

Are they very 'real' and vivid if you think of them?

Customer :

Yes - real enough.

Sarah :

Do they bring about negative emotions?

Customer :

Yes

Sarah :

Are they something that you try to forget?

Customer :

Yes

Sarah :

OK, so that leads me to believe that it is possible for your brain to have created a situation whereby it tries to stay active in order to stop these thoughts from coming through.

Sarah :

If you fall asleep, there is the 'danger' that you may dream about the memory, which is what the brain naturally tries to do in order to process the memory away.

Sarah :

So the brain (subconscious mind) does what it feels is best to keep you from this 'danger' - that is to keep you awake - then you can't dream.

Customer :

Maybe - I do have a strong personality and use to be a bank manager with lot of stress.

Sarah :

Are we talking about something here that you might describe as a traumatic experience?

Customer :

I recently had a few traumatic experiences and I had to take early retirment as a result of my health. I have a lung problem as well.

Sarah :

OK, thanks for that info. Did you have sleep issues before the incidents?

Customer :

Yes - I had sleep problems even as a child.

Sarah :

OK. Was there any fear or worry as a child that stopped you from relaxing at bedtime?

Customer :

No

Sarah :

OK, so to recap, you stay awake at night, you have had some traumatic experiences recently that you try not to think about but sleep has not come easily since you were a child.

Customer :

Yes, correct

Sarah :

How much do you feel that the incidents are linked to not sleeping - it could be that they aren't linked at all.

Customer :

I don't think they are the reason for not sleeping. I suspect there is a medical reason for this. I can sleep if I take

Customer :

2 Zanor .5mg tablets at a time - but by then I am so tired that I sleep for 48 hours.

Sarah :

OK, I just needed to check out if there needs any clearing before I look at helping you in a different way. Do you find time/are you able to relax in the daytime?

Sarah :

I understand that there are issues with bipolar and sleeping, as found by others with this condition. I wonder if you are able to allow your brain to relax so that sleep can find you - it is impossible for any of us to force sleep, because this creates an anxiety.

Customer :

I swim a lot and walk - but I wake up very tired and not in the mood for anything. I do take Vit B and Pharmaton.

Sarah :

Exercise is good, as you will know. Waking up feeling very tired suggests that the sleep was not of good quality (we talk about quality and quantity with sleep), but maybe this is because you are exhausted and sleeping rather than gently relaxed.

Sarah :

I am going to suggest to you that you seek out a local hypnotherapist - have you ever tried this - is it something you wold consider if I explain more?

Sarah :

The reason I suggest this is because hypnosis is a very relaxed state that we all fall through every time we fall asleep and each time we awaken. It is the natural state that we enter before we fall asleep.

Customer :

I have tried this - but it didn't work.

Sarah :

OK - what was it about it that didn't work?

Customer :

I could not get to the state where I fall asleep. We tried many times and many appointments but no sleep.

Sarah :

Were you able to reach a state of relaxation? I wouldn't expect you to fall asleep during a session - it would be more likely to work at home in the comfort of your own place.

Customer :

No not really.

Customer :

I cannot remember a time when I was not stressed.

Sarah :

OK. Maybe it is the medical profession who can help you best, XXXXX XXXXX think it is worth exploring the complimentary world because this can often help. I could suggest that you try a different hypnotherapist and see if their style of work suits you better, or maybe they could help you to change some of your beliefs about how you sleep. I am not saying that you don't have a problem with sleep, as it obviosuly does not come easily, but when we say 'I can't sleep' we are actually fuelling the belief. Try telling yourself that you are going to sleep well tonight and that you will find it just a little more easy than usual to relax. This is about programming your brain to expect something different.

Sarah :

where do you feel your stress?

Sarah :

Do you hold it in a part of your body do you think?

Customer :

Yes - my neck and back and my face is also stressed.

Sarah :

You could try a CraniSacral therapist, who will help you to let go of the tensions in your face, neck and back. This might help you to feel more relaxed - it is simply impossible for us to hold all of the tensions from the modern world within us and to feel great all of the time. I went to one last week and she released some tensions from my knees- it was great.

Customer :

OK

Sarah :

it allows you to release the tensions that have built up over time. I have let go of much of my mental stress through therapies that I have learned, but she said my body was crying out to catch up - so I picked up an injury because my body was physically carrying the tensions.

Sarah :

I'm sorry, but I have to fetch my child from school now. I hope I have given you some hope that that there are people who care, if nothing else. You could pick up more info online about this therapy. I do understand that bipolar is chemical based, but I do believe that complimentary therapies can help too.

Sarah :

Don't give up, I wish you all the best with this.

Customer :

I am not 100% happy with the reply but will accept to finalise matters. I have found positive help in the meantime.

Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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