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Katie McGinnis

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  1. Hey everyone. I'm a 22-year-old female. I've had bouts of insomnia since my birth. I don't want to go too heavily into my personal medical history, but from birth to about three-years-old, I slept an average of two hours a night and never take naps. It about killed my mother. Doctors wanted to put me on Ritalin; she refused. It got slightly better as I grew older, but I've basically managed my entire life on 4-6 hours of sleep a night. I'll go to bed at a regular time, but can stay awake for two-four hours with racing and cyclical thoughts. I thought this was normal until I turned fifteen. My family brought me to a doctor who specialized in sleep medicine, but he basically said that I'd grow out of it and to stop worrying. Well. This isn't as bad when I can sleep in-- when I sleep in I can easily get eight to ten hours. And at present my schedule allows me to do this, but I'm well aware it's a temporary situation and I'll soon be in an environment where I'll have to be up and ready at 8AM. So I'm looking at 4-5 hours of sleep, again. I've tried everything under the sun to get past this-- proper sleep hygiene, over the counter sleep aids, herbal tea, moderation of caffeine (my idea of a splurge is a cup of Earl Grey or a coke), prescription medicines with "sleepiness" as a side effect, and even alcohol. They can and often do make me nauseatingly sleepy, but they do not shut up my mind and it really doesn't matter how tired I am if my mind is racing. I've noticed sometimes my mind doesn't race for as long-- sometimes I can fall asleep in an hour. That's really my goal-- to be able to fall asleep in an hour on every night. I've been prescribed ambien. Ambien works, but doctors give me a hard time whenever I need a refill. A psychiatrist recommended a sleep study, and I was on board until I realized the price. I have insurance, but even with insurance, I'm looking at a $1,000+ sleep study, which I can't afford. When I brought up the fact I probably wouldn't get much "sleeping" done, the doctor at the consultation said that I would take an ambien to fall asleep. That seems really counterproductive to me, as the entire point of the study is to demonstrate my brainwaves aren't normal and won't let me sleep. I guess, I'm searching for advice, similar stories, etc. Or just words of comfort.
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