Adding to my quest for the good life, a good night's sleep.
No, this isn't about the "fall-back" time change yesterday. It's about my journey over the last three years to find that elusive good night's sleep. In light of all the recent news on America's sleep deprivation problems, looks like I haven't been alone. Profits on prescription sleeping meds soared to $3 billion this year (http://maricopacountyhomeshows.com/category/lifestyle/mattress-firm.html), and up until this past July I was contributing to those revenues to the big drug manufacturers.
2011 has been my banner year for going drug-free. Not entirely by choice, but because my body chemistry doesn't mesh well with medicines. The worst part is coming off these heavily addictive chemicals. Be prepared to suffer is all I can say to anyone who chooses to go prescription drug-free.
The longer you take the meds, the worse the coming-off symptoms. The first drug I weaned off of, an antidepressant, actually listed "death" as one of the side effects of discontinuing it. That's good news for the drug industry; what a way to stop innocent people from quitting your drugs. It's like being held at gunpoint. I managed to do it, though, by sheer determination and my belief that the human mind is capable of incredible accomplishments.
After months of getting myself off that first drug, the sleeping med I'd been prescribed began fighting against me. I had to do the same thing, but this time I visited a local osteopath I'd seen in the past, and coming off this last drug wasn't as bad, using the protocol he gave me. I was prepared for months of sleepless nights, up to 48-hour stretches of lying in bed staring at the ceiling, because on the sleeping pills, if your prescription ran out or you left home without them, that's what happened. That's how addicted your body and mind become.
Off the pills, in just a few nights, my body began returning to its previous, before-drug state. I'd fall asleep for a few hours and then wake up. After a few weeks, I began falling back to sleep when I woke up. Every night is different at this point, depending on my mental state. If I can control my thoughts and get my brain to relax sufficiently, I have a pretty restful night.
And that's the point. It takes your input. It's different than just popping a pill and drifting into unconsciousness. You have to "learn" about your body, your mind. What a concept.
The good part is that sleep without drugs is so good. Natural sleep feels great. I'd forgotten what it was like.
I'm not advising anyone here to stop taking your drugs. That's a personal decision I made for myself with the help of a medical practitioner, lots of research, and natural alternatives.
As thinking, alive human beings, we need to be in control of our bodies and minds. We should be vigilant about taking care of ourselves first, before we turn our lives over to someone else. We should know ourselves better than anyone and work at listening to what our bodies and minds try to tell us. Those subtle messages we're usually too busy to pay attention to. I think we jump too fast and too impatiently into the grinder. I know I did.