Torment, Suffering, and Suicide

Over a year ago I fell onto the hardest time in my life.
Poorly dealing with work stress and stress at home lead to anxiety which interrupted my sleeping.
Severly interrupting my sleep.

Then I started to become afraid of whether or not I could sleep at night. This fear would feed back into my anxiety which would further impact my sleep.

It was just out of control. Such a simple action (or non-action) being interrupted by an overactive, intensly fearful brain.

I’ve gone through a few hardships in my life. Nothing compared to this. My mom even died when I was pretty young. I feel bad and selfish saying this…but this was worse than that.

Some might thing, “so you didn’t get great sleep? so what?”

All I can say is that it was (and at times still is) unending torment.

When you’re in the throes of a moment like this it seems unending. A body ravaged with anxiety that can’t even escape from it in order to sleep alittle while. And, when attempting to lay down and sleep you’re mind starts racing, body starts tensing up and sweating profusely, and the only thought in your mind is how broken beyond repair you are.

I’ve seen counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists… they were all clueless. Some more so than others. It’s not like a broken bone. With that there’s no disagreement as to how to mend it. But with anxiety/depression; if you have 5 different mental health specialists you’re getting 5 different ways to go about and remedy it.

I was on sleeping, anti-anxiety, anti-depression pills like mad. They did close to nothing if not made the situation a bit worse.

I was lower than low. There was no comfort in life. I begged and pleaded with God to lift this burdern but I didn’t get any (apparent) help.

I felt alone, lost, and alien.
I would never have thought of killing myself prior to this. One of the few thoughts that would comfort me was me just dying and being gone. And I have a wife I love and a young child I love too! But, even thinking about them couldn’t turn this ship around.

I hope God is forgiving. I have to believe he is. Because there were some moments I was so low that if I had the energy and the means to do it… I probably would have killed myself.
When I think of Robin Williams my heart breaks.

I’m a pretty devout Catholic and I’ve felt the meaninglessness of it all, the intense unrelenting despair. The torment that affords you no place to hide.

And still… I fall back into that pit. It provides no assurance to remind yourself that you once were out of this hole. It distorts your perception of it.

The thought, “why can’t I just doze off like I used to” can arise in my mind and then my stomach starts to churn, my eyes start to sting, my body starts to sweat. Torment that doesn’t relent.

The only thing that has helped me through this has been acceptance. Accepting that this is just the way it is. And trying to get back to living my life.
But I’m tired of it. I miss my old self. This broken body haunted by a fearful specter of my mind… I don’t feel at home in my own skin anymore… certainly not in this world anymore.

I have feint glimpses of the life that used to be mine… and I’m thankful for that.

I don’t understand why God doesn’t just pull me out of this mire. I get angry at Him at times. I want pity from him… to just make this end. I’d do it for Him if the roles were reveresed.

Have you seen an actual sleep specialist?

I suffered from many of the same problems. My physician suggested a hypnotherapist. It worked! Getting a new bed helped a little too.

Praying for you Doug.

More than a few.

They pretty much offer the same advice: drink warm milk, limit internet use towards end of the day, keep room cool, …
just the same ol’ sleep hygiene advice that I never once had to follow in my life prior to this.

My sleep didn’t get impacted because I wasn’t drinking enough warm milk or because I watched the TV late into the evening. Heck, I used to fall asleep watching TV.

They either offer the sleep hygiene advice, test you for sleep apnea, or offer you sleeping pills.

And none of it helped.

This frustration isn’t directed at you for offering the advice. It’s just general frustration with the entire thing.

Have you been following the advice?

Praying to St. Dymphna for your health & recovery.

As another posted suggested, you need to see a sleep specialist. Many things can cause sleep disorders and they need specific treatment. This could find the relieve you are looking for.

I have been where you are. I slept no more than on hour per day, for two years. I was exhausted, became depressed and needed medication for the resulting depression. I also had to change my line of work.

These are difficult times for sure, but the right medical investigation and possible solution can make a great difference. Getting more than one opinion is always wise too. One of the medical issues related to my sleep issues was actually missed for years. But once discovered and properly treated, I am finally sleeping more normally. Don’t give up.

A good therapist would not suggest warm milk. But there is truth to avoiding electronics at least one hour prior to retiring. Perhaps you have not found the right therapist yet. I know that’s not helpful now

I have been where you are. It is indeed frustrating to the point of ‘bad thoughts.’ It took five years to regain sleep ‘normalcy’ after a traumatic event. And sleep hygeine changes over the years, be it age, stress, or indeed traumatic events. Keep trying the usuals, test new ones…

Meanwhile, continue to find the right therapist and/or doctor for YOU. Sleep is precious. It can also be a symptom.

My prayers are with you. For your calm, your sleep, and the strength to keep searching for the answers.


I suggest this because I had a similar problem: I couldn’t get to sleep because I was thinking too much. If I woke up, I’d start thinking, and my thoughts kept me awake. Sometimes it was worry, but sometimes it was planning or who knows what. Incessant thinking!!

What worked for me was to get a little MP3 player with soft ear buds, put books on tape onto it, and listen to it on very low volume when I went to bed. The only difficulty is you want something without a bunch of music at the end of the recording, because that will wake you up. If you get CDs from the library, it is easy to rip them to MP3 on your computer. I use a version of the FairStars CD Ripper that they offer for free online. Erase the files when you take the book back, and it doesn’t violate copyright laws in either the letter or the spirit.

What this did for me was to give my brain a distraction. With a nice interesting book being read to me by someone with a pleasant voice, my thinking was distracted. I paid attention to that, and then I went to sleep. The only problem is that you have to find a time to listen to the whole CD, because of course you want to know how it turns out.

If you ever find that you fall asleep in front of a movie or the TV but can’t get to sleep when you’re in bed in a quiet room, this might work for you.

There isn’t one answer to this kind of question, though, because people are so different in how they think and how brains respond to different things. Psychiatry is still a branch of medicine that it is in its early infancy. (This may be just as well in the big picture, but that is another conversation…)

It doesn’t work.
It does nothing to combat the underlying anxiety. Drinking warm milk, putting lavender drops on pillows, taking a warm bath, not watching the news, no eating after 6pm…

It’s not like this whole situation began because of a lack of warm milk, lavender scented dispensers, warm baths… or any of that stuff.

All doing that stuff that is increased the anxiety, “ohhh, is this enough lavender or too much”. “how warm is warm milk supposed to be”, on and on. It’s just not the stuff that has anything to do with an underlying anxiety that is fueling this.

You know… I’m coming across as a jerk.

And I sincerely don’t mean to.
I just don’t have a peaceful mind anymore. That’s an understatement.

I don’t even know what I was hoping to accomplish by posting this. I just don’t know.

I’ve had moments of peace that just randomly grace themselves into my life… but then they flicker out. I’m glad to even have those. Early on I would never have those.

I just want to be normal again. I’m a 36 year old husk of my former self.

Hi. Sorry to interrupt this late into a discussion but I noticed the subject matter and thought of a few things that apparently don’t help sleep. Sometimes, eradicating things is the best way before thinking of news things that one can do:

  1. The flicker of computer screens and TVs can wake the brain up and make it harder to sleep (as mentioned).

  2. Coffee and tea after a certain time. And too much tea and coffee can build up during the day so by night time it can be a problem.

  3. Carbohydrates being ate (such as potatoes), and generally eating too late in the evening ,can give one excess energy. Also, heat from the oven can make the temperature in the house hotter.

Things one can do:

To get to sleep - not just for this reason though - saying a longer set -prayer can make people feel sleepy. Contemplation is great, meditating on the rosary. And one is then falling asleep in prayer. Talk about being guided into sleep!

Also, having the window open during the day can make it fresher at night in the room. And one thing that REALLY helps is having tidy bed linen and not having things all over the floor.

One last thing. To relax - at some point before or after maybe any set prayers you say, like the rosary perhaps, you could say the mantra: “Come, Holy Spirit”. One only needs to say it once but it is helpful to keep saying it calmly every now and then while In relaxed posture for ten minutes or so. This way you are just relaxing in God’s hands. This is a miracle for nerves and anxiety as well as letting the Holy Spirit work with your heart. Say this in your head with eyes closed and let God do the rest: peace, peace, peace.

Be very cautious about taking medication; the doctors actually know far less about them than they appear to, and particularly anti-depressants can induce thoughts of suicide and other very bad side-effects.

That being said, generally trust your doctors and the specialists, but don’t shy away from researching medications. I don’t know what to suggest except perhaps a change of scene; a holiday or temporary move to the country.

Think of yourself as a pilot flying on instruments. It is exhausting! Be gentle with yourself.

I don’t think you’re coming across as a jerk. If you don’t get as much sleep, you can’t do as much. You’re not going to feel very good. You are going to feel frustrated, you’re going to feel tired, you’re going to want to just find an exit–who wouldn’t? You have combat fatigue. Do not think for a second that Our Lord does not understand the torment you are going through. God understands.

You have tried a lot of things to break the anxiety-and-sleep-deprivation cycle, and you haven’t hit on anything that works yet. Hang in there, and above all give yourself credit for being willing to try. Making an effort when you’re trying to fix a problem that wears you out is hard to do.

I hesitate to offer anything other than the book on tape advice, because I don’t want to lay anything else on top of you. What I would offer is to not put the book on tape on in order to get to sleep. Just get comfortable and listen to the book. You can even listen to an audiobook version of a book you have already read and liked, because it is different to have a book read to you than to read it. It is sort of like a foot rub, only for your mind. You have nothing to do but soak it in. If you liked the book “Screwtape Letters,” for instance, I highly recommend the version read by John Cleese. If you don’t sleep, well, you got off your feet and rested. You were distracted for awhile. You spent some time with nothing to accomplish, not even sleep. That is something. If it is a little oasis, it is a start. If it doesn’t work, it is one more thing you have tried. Give yourself credit for every thing you’ve tried.

This strays into the realm of medical advice. We are forbidden to go there.

Lol it’s just my natural paranoia kicking in, feel free to ignore that bit about medication. :stuck_out_tongue:

Does anyone know how to delete threads?

I assume you mean you want to delete some of your posts, not the entire thread.

Ask the moderator. The moderators can do essentially anything, once they deem it appropriate. If you want to withdraw one of your own posts, I think they’ll do that for you. If you started a thread and want it deleted later, I think they can do that, too.

Being someone who has suffered from anxiety/insomnia, I highly recommend trying acupuncture and/or massage. Sounds strange, but that turned my sleeping patterns around drastically, and I’ve been sleeping much better since then. Just my two cents. God bless you. You’re in my prayers.

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