Anxiety About Going to Sleep

Updated on December 29, 2007
H.S. asks from West Plains, MO
18 answers

I was just wondering if other moms ever experience what I am... I am constantly thinking about the possible bad things that could happen to me. Mostly when I try to sleep, I think about what would happen if something serious happened to me in the middle of the night and my daughter would wake up the next morning and have nobody to take care of her. She could be alone for hours and nobody would ever know it. My fiance works out of state during the week, so it's just me and Haley. I find myself not sleeping and then paying for it the next day because I don't have the energy to do anything. It's more than just at bed time though. I live on a semi-busy rural road and to get to my mail box you have to cross the road. I don't go check the mail during the week because I'm afraid I will get hit by a car and my daughter will be all alone. Why am I doing this to myself? Any advice would be great!

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So What Happened?

Well thanks for all of the advice. I would go see a doctor but I am one of the thousands of people in the US without health insurance! :( Hopefully things will get better, my sister is moving in with me next week! Thank God for sisters!

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J.

answers from Kansas City on

I would suggest going to the doctor and letting him/her know what is going on. I have some of the same issues and was told I have genaralized anxiety disorder - I take a med for it and find I am much better. I also work out and do breathing excercises. I don't think meds are for everyone but lifestyle changes just weren't cutting it for me. You are not alone. Take care

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M.H.

answers from Springfield on

I think a little of this is normal, but it seems like it has gone past that for you. When it starts interfering with daily life it is time to seek help. Talk to your family practioner. My boyfriend has similar issues. He takes Xanax and Ambien before bed. What you are having almost sounds like a panic attack and severe anxiety. In everything we do there is a chance it could go badly, it is the chance we take everyday, not just at bedtime. I hope you get to feeling better soon. I know its hard being a single mom, I am a single mom of 4. It will get better honey, just ask for some help from a professional.
Lots of Hugs and a Merry Christmas to you!

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C.O.

answers from Lawton on

Hi H.. I just wanted to support what was said about post partum. I started having panic attacks over things that I could normally handle. This was 14 months after my son was born. I went to my doctor when I couldn't stand it anymore. He diagnosed me with post partum, which I was completely surprized about since it had been so long since he was born. I had been irritable since I had him, but didn't realize how much I wasn't myself. My doctor put me on Lexapro, but now since I don't have insurance, I have switched to a generic form of Zoloft. It is under $30 a month and I don't have panic attacks anymore. I have returned to my normal self and it feels so good. The symptoms of post partum are different for everyone so I think it is important that you go see your doctor ASAP too and be completely honest with them about what you are feeling. They are not going to take your kid away for worrying about her. I worried a little about that, but my family reassured me that wouldn't happen. Good luck and if you ever need to talk about it, please contact me at [email protected]____.com.

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L.H.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi H.! I can completely relate! I used to lie awake at night and worry about everything that could possible go wrong before I had children and those thoughts only intensified once I became a mommy. I think it partially goes along with the territory.

I would agree with the other response that suggests you seek medical help. I went to a psychiatrist and was put on some medication for a few months. It helped to level things off for me and I have had no more problems since going off the medication. Many people think that once you are on meds for anxiety or depression you will have to be on them for the rest of your life, but that is not the case!

I also started keeping a gratitude journal. Each night as I'm going to sleep I write down 3 good things that happened that day, or 3 things I am greatful for. Then on nights when I am having a hard time going to sleep because my mind is racing, I pull out the journal and read over the things that I have written in it. It helps take my mind away from all the terrible thoughts and helps me relax enough to fall asleep. You could also do this with your little girl as part of your bedtime routine. Ask her to tell you 3 good things that happened that day and you can write them down for her. I'm going to start with my son when he is able to communicate those things to me! Hope this helps!

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D.R.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi H.,

Man, did your post ring true for me. I had a terrible time with this for a period after my son turned one. I would have little visions during the day of bad things happening and how awful it would be for my son, but night time was the worst. I would lie in bed, concocting these horrible ideas and images. It was really sad and exhausting. So, first off, I want you to know you are not alone. I absolutely went through this too. I think a lot of it is just the realization that you are ultimately responsible for this little person, and you love them so desperately that the thought of anything happening to them is just devastating. Your brain is just trying to work through your fears, but it is wearing you down in the meantime.

For myself, I had to really focus hard on controlling my mind at night. That was the first step. When those images came into my mind, I did not indulge them – but shoved them out with thoughts of other things like grocery lists or picturing my son laughing. Anything to move the scary stuff aside. I always visualized it like that too. Shoving the scary stuff over and pulling a different image in. If that didn’t work, then I issued a little request to the universe to watch over my family as we slept to keep us safe (I am not religious, but do believe in a flow to the universe…I guess this is as close as I get to praying). I just asked that if anyone was listening, to please watch out for us. And I would repeat this over and over in my mind until I fell asleep.

Then, during the day, it is the same process just less intense. When the bad stuff comes in, I make a very deliberate decision not to allow it and find a way to distract myself.

I think what you are going through happens to a lot of us. But if you can work toward controlling your mind, and making sure that toxic stuff doesn’t get a chance to pull you in, you will have a good chance of getting past it. My son will be two in January, and for the most part, I don’t have the problems at night that I used to. I think to potential for them is still there, but I worked so hard on controlling those thoughts that my mind just takes care of it for me now. So, it is a lot better.

Hang in there, and remember that you are not alone. It is scary for all of us.

-D.

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K.O.

answers from Kansas City on

I sometimes feel the same way. my husband is at home but I am with my 2 and 4 yr old all by myself all day. When I start thinking these things...faith is all I can give for advice. god will not let haley be by herself and you will be fine...enjoy your little girl and the holidays!

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R.U.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Post Partum mood disorders can surface up to two years after your baby is born. You have described many of the symptoms exactly. Go to your dr ASAP!!

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J.E.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi H.. I have always been like this since highschool and it got worst after I had my daughter, so I completely understand. Plus I was trying to get pregnant again after the first and did not want to get on any medication. Now that I am pregnant my anxiety is completely out of control - so it may only get worst for you. I always just accepted it as how I am, I never thought it would get this out of control. I am on anxiety medication and although it may only help for 20 - 30 min, it's enough for me to relax and fall asleep. Another thing I do is lay in bed and play soltaire on my palm pilot which keeps my mind on the game instead of all of my other thoughts and that helps a lot. Any type of hand held game that takes some paying attention to, will work. There are a lot of good suggestions here, I hope you find something that works for you, it really is different for every person. Seeing and talking to a professional did not work for me, I do like having the medication in case things get too out of control for me, but sometimes you can get that from your doc or online without having to talk to someone on a weekly or monthly basis. Good luck to you and your family and have a merry christmas!

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S.D.

answers from St. Joseph on

Dear H.,
Oh YES, I know how you are feeling. My sons father is a trucker and would be gone for a month at a time. My anxiety over the possibility had me going to neighbors and asking them to watch the house for activity and giving them notes with every contact number I could think of. I was terrified to sleep, to take cold medecine even. The worst was when I was just about where you are and realized I HAD to sleep, so I started taking sleeping pills to combat it... bad idea. You are not alone and this IS normal for someone in your situation. The thing that did it for me was a low powered anxiety medecation. At first just taking it at bedtime so I would be able to sleep, and one my body adjusted (because they can make you a bit sleepy) I was able to take one in the morning to help with the daytime worries. It was worth the world to me. I can relax and enjoy being with my son now. Instead of worrying I now have a plan set up on the EXTREMELY off chance something was to happen. I now realize I am hurting my son more being so stressed out and unable to function, than by him seeing Mommy needs medecine. He likes me better too. Talk to your doctor (yes, your family doctor is perfectly capable of helping with this sort of thing). They will have you fill out a questionaire describing your symptoms and will be able to better asses what you might need. If you stress that you are the sole caregiver of a toddler they will make sure not to give you anything too powerful which may make you too sleepy. Worry is like a drug, the more you worry, the more you think you need to worry. The what if will eventually retatrd your normal function so much that you would no longer be an effective parent. I'm sure once you've talked with your doctor and seen what they have to say, you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Please keep us informed on how you are doing. You are not alone and there are many who have been where you are.

SunnyD

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A.H.

answers from Springfield on

I've been there. It got to the point where I was having panic attacks. I went to my doctor and was prescribed Zoloft. Granted it isn't for everyone, but it certainly worked well for me. I hope this helps!

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K.B.

answers from Kansas City on

I understand, I too have some worries about that but I can't let it get to me every day. I've lived alone with my daughter since she was 2. There are all sorts of things we could spend our days worrying about but we just can't. We can't let fear run our lives. We have to live life, try to be careful and safe and happy and be thankful for the blessings life gives us.

I see you are studying law enforcement. I took some criminal law courses in college and I know that you study some pretty creepy stuff. I'm not sure but I wonder if being immersed in that might be contributing to your mindset.

I agree with Yvi that this goes beyond normal worry though if it is keeping you up every night and is affecting your every day life. It would be great if you could talk to a counselor or maybe even your doctor about it. You may have an anxiety disorder that could even get worse without treatment.

Also, are there some things you could do to minimize your fears? Talk to friends and family members to see if they can check in on you more often? Have a plan in place if for some reason they can't get in touch with you etc. Perhaps develop a will which will provision for who your daughter's gaurdians would be in the rare case that something would happen to you. Also, your daughter is young but I've seen it before. You can teach kids, even Toddlers to dial 911 if mommy is too sick to get up or if mommy doesn't wake up. It sounds kind of crazy but you could try. It may help to ease some of your fears if you know these things are in place.

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S.S.

answers from Wichita on

First of all as I was reading your about you section it says that you are graduating for Law Enforcement, if you are afraid to go to sleep at night or to even cross the street to get the mail, then how are you going to be able to go to work and risk your life there without having these feelings? You may want to make sure that you get this straightened out soon or consider a new line of work, I am not being rude really I am not but you want to think about this. Every parent has these fears but it seems like yours are a little over bearing, do you and your daughter go anywhere during the week? I am thinking that maybe if you would get out more, this might help. You need to go and get the mail, that would be a small step to start with, take your daughter with you and make it something fun u know. Maybe you need some anti-anxiety medicine, I take Paxil, I have a full time job-3 kids in scouts and sports and school, and it helps me tremendously!

Anyway I hope this gives you some ideas, One thing that I have learned is that you can not live life with the fear that something is going to happen to you or your child, it will be a horrible life and you will both miss out on alot. Contact me if you would like I would love to get to know you and help you out!

S.

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M.L.

answers from Rockford on

i think maybe u should talk to your doctor. It sounds like u might have an anxiety problem that may require medication.

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C.H.

answers from Kansas City on

Dear H.,
Yes I can relate. I would do the same thing. Now I pray and asked God to give me peace and I have faith that he will take care of me and my daughter. And then sometimes that not enough, so I just keep repeating my pray until I fall a sleep. I say the Our Father, Pslams 23: I just keep repeating them and before I know I am a sleep and I wake and everything is just fine. Please believe its works. And have faith That your God is watching over you and your family. I hope this helps. May you and your family have A Blessed Christmas and New Year to follow.

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Y.S.

answers from Springfield on

I think you should talk to a professional. I get scared at night too, my husband is stationed in Germany and I've been by myself with 4 little ones for almost four months now, but it doesn't keep me from sleeping. I just wake up at every noise.
Especially the mailbox thing sounds like you have an anxiety problem. That can sometimes get out of control and even now it impacts your life in a very negative way since you don't get enough sleep.
I understand your fears, but not picking up the mail or going to sleep is more than just worrying about getting hurt. I could tell you that it's very unlikely that anything will happen to you but that's probably not gonna make you feel better.
I think there are some deeper issues here and that needs to be looked at by a professional.
The best to you, I hope you get it under control and are able to live a happier, worry free life!

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E.Y.

answers from Topeka on

I know exactly what you are talking about. My husband is overseas, so right now it's pretty much just me and my baby. I have freinds that I see and talk to, but that's sporadic.... sometimes it's everyday for 2 weeks and then I don't see or hear from them for a week or 2. I think worrying about stuff like that is just part of being a mommy. If this is keeping you from getting rest, maybe you should see a doctor. I was having some pretty bad anxiety for a while and now I take Xanax occasionally when the anxiety is bad. I have also forced myself to become more positive.... when you think about bad things happening I feel it just encourages the universe to send bad things your way. So instead of thinking anout getting hit by a car when you go to get your mail, visualize the road being completely clear of traffic. Good luck!

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S.D.

answers from Bloomington on

Ok so I had this problem for quite a while after my girls were born. It wasn't just anxiety about me but also something happening to the girls. I would hardly sleep at night and then be so tired the next day. I finally went to see my doctor. They sent me to a counseler. I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and bi-polar. Chances are you are just experiencing the general anxiety though. The counsler had me write out my list of fears/worries. Needless to say I had six pages of fears/worries. It took me three sessions to let her read the list though, I thought she would read it and think I was crazy and lock me up or take my kids away. (another worry) Once she read it she told me that these were worries that normal people have. The only problem is thst all these worries were coming at me all at once. They gave me the option to continue to go to counsling to try to get to the bottom of it or be put on medication. Well I started off with the counsling then we discovered the bi-polar and I was put on medication. General anxiety dicsorder affects a lot of people and it can be easliy dealt with couseling or medication. And even being on medication doesn't have to be a permanent thing. It can often be corrected after a short while because it corrects the chemical imbalance.
I will stop rambling now and I really hope that this helps. You are not alone but I know it feels like it.

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C.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi H.,

How is your diet...Do you take vitamins? Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables? Drink enough water? Does anxiety and/or depression run in your family? Perhaps you could go see your doctor to discuss your symptoms. I hope you find peace...you and your daughter deserve it. Oh, one more question, how much caffeine do you consume???

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