This post has to do mainly with anxiety, but it stems from my IBS.About a year and a half ago, I became unable to sleep in bed because of how severe my acid reflux and stomach pains were. Sleeping at a desk became normal for me, and still is. I have tried to start sleeping in bed again, but the thought that I will get sick if I sleep on a bed makes me very anxious. My brain has made me associate beds with being sick, and I know it’s stupid, but it brings me lots of worry. If I try to lay down or sit up in a bed, I get shaky and just end up sleeping at my desk again.I know this is a very specific anxiety that I have, but does anyone have any suggestions of what I could do to try to rid myself of this? I’m worried that I may develop DVT from sitting for 8 hours every night, so I want to be able to sleep in bed again to prevent this.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Anxiety (Including GAD)
While it sounds like this has turned into an irrational level of anxiety, sometimes approaching fixing things with rationality can still help. I have struggled with similar anxieties surrounding my physical health and I think that the thing that would help me most in this situation is prioritizing controlling the reflux in any way possible. Ie, tons of research, talking to doctors, trying all different approaches, etc. However, it does sound like you could also benefit from general maintenance tactics to keep anxiety lower like therapy, medication, and regularly practicing mindfulness techniques.
Thank you so much for the advice! I have been looking into therapy as it’s been years since I’ve seen a therapist. Once I’m able to afford it, I’m definitely going to see one. I do agree that it has become an irrational fear. I know that the simple act of sleeping in bed isn’t going to make me sick, but my trauma from being so sick while in bed has caused my brain to associate the two.
I’ve been able to calm down my reflux with medication! But my brain still thinks that if I sleep in bed I’ll get sick again.
A therapist may be able to help you work through a structured plan to gradually expose yourself but don’t rush or force it.
Could you bring your desk chair over by your bed for a few nights in order to start getting used to the bed again? Maybe resting your head on the bed but keeping your body on the chair?
I also agree with the others that a therapist would really help. They would have the resources and plans to truly help.
Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve tried to sit on my bed and lay my head on my desk before, and I was okay. My bed is on the floor and not on a frame, so I can’t do it the other way around. XD But I was fine when I did it!
I think that's an understandable concern!! Especially when it comes to something that can make you sick so easily. If you are able to, working with a therapist on the mental/emotional aspect of it, while (if you haven't already) consulting your doctor for other things to try to help in the physical aspect. Prilosec worked wonders for my mom so maybe see what your doctor has to say about it? When you sleep at your desk do you lean forward on your desk or lean back into your chair? If you tend to lean back, there are angled pillows you can get that allow you to be in a bit more of a leaned back position instead of completely flat? And the same could be done for leaning forwards with a thick yoga bolster (I know I've fallen asleep many times on mine 🥴).
I’ve slept leaning back a few times, but I mainly opt to sleep leaning forward. I put 3 pillows on my best and lay my head on them. I also put a pillow behind my back and one between my stomach and the desk.
I’ve tried sleeping up straight in bed, and while it’s a little better, I still get anxious to a certain degree. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a therapist who can help me work on this anxiety!
My first thought is hypnotherapy. It can work wonders. Especially since it's just an association you need to reverse. Worth a shot..?
I’ve been looking into that! I’ve been trying to see if I can find someone in my area who’s good, but sadly I live far from the big cities in my state.
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