Health Magazine

For the After Midnight Crowd

Posted on the 12 July 2011 by Jean Campbell

the after midnight womanIt’s after midnight, you’re tired. You think you can sleep. You get into bed, feeling sleepy, and then without warning you are wide-awake.

After an hour of trying to fall asleep, you give up, get up and begin roaming the house, watching TV, trying to read, or surfing the net trying to turn your head off and escape your thoughts.

Welcome to the After Midnight Crowd!

Maybe you are one of those who can fall asleep for an hour or more but then wake with a bad case of the “What ifs”. If you just learned of your breast cancer, or are currently in treatment, what ifs may include… what if I can’t work during treatment? What if I am too sick from treatments to care for my children? What if my insurance doesn’t cover all my treatment costs; how will I pay for radiation and chemotherapy?  There are dozens more what ifs, depending on your situation. There are always more questions but few good answers that let you get back to sleep.

Welcome to the After Midnight Crowd!

For those of us who’ve completed active treatment, what ifs go something like this…What if I can’t tolerate the medication I need to take to prevent  a recurrence? What if my breast cancer comes back?

Then there are those of us wrestling with endless practical questions about having a life while managing hot flashes, irritability, mood changes, weight gain and coping with the insomnia that are sometimes symptoms of taking medication to prevent a recurrence .

Welcome to the After Midnight Crowd!

If you see yourself in the above descriptions, you are a member in good standing of the After Midnight Crowd. We are a large group who share many of the same fears. During the day, we manage to keep these fears at bay with work and other responsibilities or active treatment. After midnight is when these fears and concerns catch up with us. When we are tired; when it is quiet; when it seems that everyone is able to sleep but us.

I don’t have any magic answers to the “What ifs” but I can tell you what helps me, when every so often I get a few days of being a part of the ‘After Midnight Crowd’.

Writing helps! I don’t mean writing an article or a post, but if you are so inclined, why not?  No, I mean sitting down with pen a paper or using the computer to write down everything that comes into your head. It can be as simple as a list. Just the act of writing it down gives you somewhere to go with your concerns. When you are done, put the list aside. Promise yourself you will read the list tomorrow, after you have slept, and then try to get answers for those concerns that possibly have answers. Then cross those concerns off your list.

Surfing the net can be helpful, if you go to recognized breast cancer sites and not to sites that will only flame your fears about treatment or recurrences.

Given that the After Midnight Crowd is a big club, you can probably find someone to chat with online. Once again, you need to find a reputable site where you can communicate with others who are supportive and into problem solving and not just interested in swapping war stories.

If you have any suggestions on how to be asleep after midnight and not wrestling with the “What ifs”? I will gladly share what you send in a future post. Send to [email protected]

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