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Hello everyone,

My problem is that I am having trouble sleeping. I get these extreme panic attacks while trying to fall asleep. This has been going on for the last few weeks. Actually, Iíve been battling this condition off and on since about 1992. Unfortunately the problem is 100% self induced. Actually, itís quite embarrassing to even have to discuss it but Iím getting desperate and need some help. The most recent flare up started when I didnít sleep well for a couple of nights in a row. In the past Iíve been able to handle the problem of not sleeping well one night provided I slept well the next night. When I donít sleep well for a couple nights in a row though I start to obsess about it. I can worry about it all day and then of course it actually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I end up sabotaging myself. For the most part, the six months or so prior to this last flare up I was sleeping great. Normally, when I have trouble sleeping Iíll just turn on the light and radio and lay there and stare up at the ceiling for half an hour which usually bores me to tears which letís me fall asleep.

On an intellectual or conscious level I know that the problem is myself. I know that if I would just relax and not fixate on it I wouldnít have a problem. However I seem to have no ability to convince my subconscious (or however this should be referred too) of this. I can do alright sometimes during the day (meaning not obsessing on it) but as bedtime gets closer my heart starts to pound, my legs get week, I get knots in my stomach. When I lay down and close my eyes I start to glow red hot. I cannot fall asleep this way (I keep the thermostat at 70 degrees and have a fan blowing on me). I would say being hot is the single biggest manifestation of the anxiety and the single biggest reason I canít fall asleep. I become very frustrated and even somewhat violent when I canít fall asleep. I search for the closest thing I can find, usually my poor old remote control, and start hitting myself in the head with it. If it was something real that was causing me to not to be able to sleep, such as an injury or something, I think I could handle it better. Knowing that it is my own stupidity and weakness of character is more than I can bare. Even after I fall asleep and then wake up, say I have to go to the bathroom, the whole damn thing starts again.

Iíve tried to use as little in the way of sleep inducers as I can. Items such as Tylenol PM and Advil PM donít work that well for me anyway and can leave me with a hangover that takes half a day to get over. Nyquil works better than those but that can only be taken at or before bedtime because of the hangover effect. I try not to take anything when I first lye down but often end up taking some form of Benadryl or something like that. Eventually, due too exhaustion, I end up passing out for a few hours which is no where near enough. I went to the doctor who prescribed some Xanax, 1 tablet during the day and 2 a half hour or so before bedtime. Sometimes this has helped and other times did nothing.

So can anyone provide any suggestions or advice. Thanks in advance for your help.

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