Just wanted to post another little update about my insomnia, since it's been a while since I wrote anything about it.
I went back to my doctor at the beginning of December, since it seemed like the melatonin pills had stopped working for me, and I was still having bad nights (or taking prescription sleeping pills) fairly regularly. My doctor had told me that if the melatonin didn't work for me, then he would prescribe a low-dose anti-depressant that was also commonly used to treat insomnia, since its main side effect was drowsiness. It was not an easy decision to go on the medication (especially since I wasn't actually depressed!), but I felt like I had tried everything else and it just wasn't working for me. In fact, it seemed like the harder I tried to relax and sleep, the more stressed I became. I just needed a break from it all. I was figuratively and literally tired, and I was just tired of being tired.
I've been on the anti-depressant for nearly a month now, and it's been pretty good. I still have the occasional night when it takes me a little longer to fall asleep, but it's maybe an hour or so of lying awake, so it's much more manageable than before. It made the Christmas season much more enjoyable, since I wasn't constantly worried about not sleeping and not having enough energy to make through the busy days. I'm feeling more like myself again. I'm still continuing with several of the things I was doing beforehand to relax and sleep better - avoiding alcohol and caffeine, exercising 4-5 times a week, and trying to eat better (okay, I kind of failed on that one over Christmas, but can you blame me??), but I've given up on some of the other things, since I was only doing them because they were supposed to help me relax, not because I actually found them relaxing (i.e. drinking camomile tea before bed, taking baths, aromatherapy). I've also stopped going to counseling. I went for 3 sessions, but ultimately, I just found it to be one more thing that was making me stressed - trying to fit the sessions into our busy schedule, lining up babysitting for the kids, once needing to find someone to drive me to my session because I hadn't slept well the night before and didn't feel comfortable driving myself (did you know that being severely sleep-deprived and driving can be similar to driving drunk?), the cost of the sessions (not cheap, and also not covered by our insurance). While I'm still a believer in the benefit of counseling, this time it just wasn't working for me so I decided to stop.
I'm not sure how long I'll be on this medication (I forgot to ask my doctor, but I'm going back soon for a follow-up, so I'll ask then), but for now I'm happy with the decision I've made and where I'm at. Is it ideal? No, not necessarily. Perhaps it's just a "band-aid fix" (at some point I may need to deal with this again to properly resolve it), but it's what I needed right now. It's what my family needed. So I think it was the right decision for me.