Once upon a time…I stopped sleeping like a normal person. I was around 12 years old. And by the time I was 15, I was hardly sleeping at all. I spent more and more time in bed, trying to get some rest, but I rarely slept.
Fast forward 12 years, and I was still in the same boat. Fast forward to February of this year and I found myself sleeping even less…until a whole month passed where I had hardly slept a wink. My body had given out some time before, and now it was my brain’s turn. That’s when I ended up hospitalized for a week.
While sleep deprivation has been one the biggest causes of all my health complications this whole time, I got into the habit of not making a big deal about it after years of people calling my sleeping problems a spiritual issue when it was actually a physical one. I was told countless times that if I trusted God better, surrendered to God more, and read the Bible and prayed more, I would sleep. Sometimes the verse “God gives his beloved sleep” was quoted against me as “proof” that if God wasn’t giving me sleep then I must be in sin. It was just so condemning, hurtful, and untrue. God always did love me, so deciding simply to not talk about my insomnia made the trial a lot easier to bear.
But it was a really, really, really lonely road.
I tried diets, herbs, medicine, and every lifestyle change in the book that people (and doctors) said helped with sleep. But success was never consistent, if there was even any success at all. It was exhausting on every level, and super, insanely hard. Especially because the less I slept, the more my body got plagued with head-to-foot, debilitating chronic pain. And the more pain I was in, the harder it was to sleep. It was a vicious cycle.
When I ended up hospitalized, I was drugged up so that all I did for a couple days was sleep, eat, talk briefly to doctors and nurses, and sleep some more. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life…I had no idea what I was missing all these years!! I couldn’t believe people slept almost every night of their lives and took it for granted…sleep was magic!
After a couple days of sleep I was feeling like myself again. I asked the doctors what happened to make me temporarily lose my mind and they said it was all sleep deprivation. They asked me a bunch of questions, like when did I stop sleeping, was I abused, did I experience trauma, etc., and got to the bottom of everything. They explained that the trauma, abuse, and severe stress throughout my life injured and exhausted my body to the point of depleting some of the critical hormones and chemicals that the human body and brain needs to function, one of which probably ran out when I was as young as 11 years old. How I made it this long without a mind and body collapse actually could be considered a miracle, and I can’t tell you how many doctors, patients, and health professionals have been telling me that I am an anomaly, an inspiration, and the kind of success story that leaves them not even knowing what to say. I guess that’s the power of God for you 🙂
The medicine I received from the doctors in March is a man-made version of a natural chemical that our bodies need to survive and function, and I truly believe that God used that medicine to save my life…and give me sweet, sweet sleep! It is amazing and humbling to wake up each day knowing that I would probably not still be here if we didn’t have the kind of advanced medical treatment that we have today. I’m just so thankful for Walker’s amazing health insurance, for such a wonderful hospital as John Muir, and for all the doctors who’ve dedicated the last who-knows-how-many-years of their life to helping people. And I’m so thankful for anyone who prayed for me…even once. God has been using your prayers, and while I am not well yet, every day I am getting better ❤ (thanks to this and another HUGE answer to prayer that I’ll write about as soon as I can!)