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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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My entire life I've had a sleep disorder. I can't go to bed

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My entire life I've had a sleep disorder. I can't go to bed and sleep, and I can't get up and go to school or work. It's like I've missed the boat, every day of my life. I've tried everything, including some that caused worse problems. Sometimes I'm asleep but ambulating, driving, emailing, etc. I had serious issues under general anesthesia starting when I woke up during surgery when I was 3 years old. When I woke up during gut surgery I held very still and didn't say anything. I was terrified they would be startled and mutilate me in some way. When the topic came up in OR banter I slipped in the fact that I wasn't asleep. They asked me a few questions and determined that I wasn't asleep. The surgeon asked what I wanted them to do, and I instructed him to take his time and complete the surgery. I was unaware that local anesthesia could have been administered. It wasn't like it could get any more painful or anything. Does anybody know what I'm talking about and have any suggestions or information for me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help you today.
I can understand what a frustrating problem this is, especially since it sounds like you've never really gotten a truly good night of sleep in your entire life. You say that you have tried everything, but since I am not sure what "everything" encompasses for you I would make a suggestion that you consult a sleep disorders clinic (and you may very well have tried this already). You might also want to read this information regarding the many different types of sleep disorders to see if you think any of it pertains to your specific situation:
You can search this website to find a sleep disorders clinic near you:
However, due to the information you provided regarding what happened to you when you were three, I'd say it sounds like you might be suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), although we cannot provide a specific diagnosis here and this is just for informational purposes only. You might find this information from the Mayo Clinic helpful, especially if this is a diagnosis that no one has considered before:
In order to confirm any diagnosis, you'd need to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation. They can conduct a thorough investigation as well as recommend a course of treatment (see the Mayo Clinic article on PTSD side tab under treatments for more information).
If you don't already have a psychiatrist, you can ask your GP for a referral or check this website:
Regardless of the diagnosis, there are medications and treatments that can help you.
If you'd like to discuss this more or need more information, please let me know. I hope this information has been helpful to you. Best of luck.
Alicia_MSW and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It never crossed my mind that waking up during surgeries (3 years old on ether was just an example). I've done all these things. I have a CPAP machine I use whenever I'm in bed. I take it with me if I won't be in bed when I fall asleep. The latest hospital full of psychiatrists decided I was the hypo-manic type of bipolar. That's a dramatic shift from the 160 IQ guy with a sleep disorder I was until I turned 45 and my a-hole boss after 20 years with the same employer started to make my sleep a disciplinary issue and wrote a bizarre letter to my doctor.
I'm looking for answers far beyond what you've given. I know how to google, etc. Thanks for trying.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I followed one of your links and learned something I didn't know. I also have REM sleep behavior disorder. The latest most dramatic example from a few nights ago, I had a dream in the first person of being sucked through a jet engine and killed while sleep flying. It triggered adrenaline and shot me straight up in bed knowing immediately what had just happened. I pondered, they say if you dream you die you'll die. Well, I didn't die. So I learned something. But stuff like this keeps happening and it often wakes me up. That's the part that infuriates me. There are idiots out there that think this can be treated with behavioral therapy, and it can't. That makes the "therapy" technically abuse.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
I'm going to opt out to see if another expert can provide you with additional assistance. Best of luck to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't blame you for opting out. Everyone has.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't fault you for opting out. But haven't gotten any other responses.