Steroids actually make me go to sleep to my great surprise – initially. During the day when I want to do things, I am curled up with an audiobook that comes and goes as I drift. It makes for an interesting narrative. “They were looking into each other's eyes and now they are rodding the drains?”
But come night, I am alight. My body is wired and the cat complains. So how to calm down enough to sleep, bearing in mind I gave been prescribed temazepam, which isn't making much difference. Thoughts come in, disconnected and inconsequential: supper tomorrow, lists, appointments, remember …. On and on, they dart in, never finished, never parked. Well, I thought, let's lick this. It may work other times as well. Insomnia is a major complaint and most people say turning off thinking is the problem.
Get rid of the cascade of irrelevant thoughts. Mindfulness has taught me to observe my thoughts, though I don't think they envisioned this frenzy. I retreat into my self, that quiet place that I believe is me. And from that vantage point just watch the thoughts swirl like falling leaves. Gradually, they quiet.
Next my body, which is alert and buzzing. I try a technique learned years ago from Eli Bay*. He allowed me to use it in my stress workshops, so I feel it's OK to share here. Very simply, imagine your body filled with orange light and all your stress as black filings floating around in it. Gather them all together and let them all together with the orange light flow out of your fingers. Refill your whole body with relaxing, calm blue light. Or otherwise imagine all your worries gather in the palms of your hands, feel them get warm – and let them go.
Then I moved on to progressive relaxation, working up from my feet, imagining them heavy and warm, my image is “filled with warm sand.” And finally imagined warm honey flowing through my body. Not sure why as I don't like the taste. But it didn't take long and it did work till I woke at 12.30 and dozed listening to an audiobook the rest of the night.
Today, despite lack of sleep, I am energetic and get a huge amount done, which is really useful as the next two days will be deep bone pain from my Monday chemo injection, which takes a few days to hit.
The steroids aren't as bad as I was warned. According to my chemo primer, I could be burping, farting and hiccuping while bouncing off the walls with mood swings. Mike has been watching expectantly and it has really been rather dull.
*The Relaxation Response – Eli Bay. Courses, tapes etc. – link