A rough night

You know how you feel when you wake up after a night on the tiles and getting home at 3am and crawling into bed and watching the room spin slowly out of control till you pass out?

That’s me, today, without the fun of the night on the tiles.

I went to bed at a sensible time, and found I couldn’t get to sleep. I might have dozed for an hour or so before waking with a heaviness in my chest and a pain all down my left arm. It got worse and I decided to get up and see if I could do something about it. I did what I usually do, and turned on the computer and googled various symptoms and came to no firm conclusion about what was wrong. I get chest pains from time to time when I am very stressed and anxious and have had my heart checked out. I’m relatively low risk for heart disease: age, gender, being a non smoker, non drinker, taker of regular exercise, healthy diet all in my favour. Only thing not in my favour is being a bit overweight. I did the mental maths and thought on balance it was almost certainly a form of panic attack, and maybe muscle strain.

So I surfed and wrote and flipped onto Facebook and found a friend up at 2am and chatted for a while. I wrote some more, I made hot milk with honey and when I was sure I wasn’t going to suddenly die in my sleep, I went back to bed at about 4am.

I had a cup of tea with my husband when he got up at 7am and went back to sleep for a while until the cat woke me up, followed shortly by husband with a tray of coffee and an apple turnover. I feel a bit fragile this morning but hopefully it’s going to pass.

What’s worrying me is not my heart, but my nerves. How did I let myself get into such a stupid state that I convinced myself I might have been having a heart attack? Surely the best explanation for my pain was having played tennis against a much younger opponent at work yesterday, and having acquitted myself quite well(ie I didn’t lose!) must surely have over used certain muscles without realising it?

I can see I am going to have to give myself a pretty stern talking-to….

22 thoughts on “A rough night

  1. I’m just glad you’re alright, and it’s easy to see how such feelings when you wake up to them, could be misconstrued.


  2. insomnia…i’m still up writing…it’s 4.30 am…almost…hey…
    at least we have our writing!!! thank god!!! we have it!!! what happens without it is a totally different world..a black world!!! remember it’s a blessing!

    blessings of peace,


  3. Perhaps talking to “you” is the problem? Who is going to love you, if not “you”? And continuous disapproval from you is going to make “you” anxious? Merely a “gut reaction” thought and not to be discussed between you and “you”.


  4. I have nothing to offer as advice as I’ve been through a similar state many times and haven’t been able to help myself very much. I would describe the feeling in my chest not as heaviness, but rather as tightness, as if there was a hoop around my chest preventing me from breathing. The pain is sharp and starts at the front a bit above the breasts, but then goes right to my back, at the level of the shoulder blade, and is so strong that for a few seconds I can’t take a breath.
    The first time it happened, I really thought I was having a heart attack. Then I knew it was just nerves. The only thing that helped a bit was my own inner voice telling me to calm down and everything would be all right. I guess the way to really help ourselves is to change our perceptions of the world completely. But this is easier said than done.
    Please look after yourself!


    • Thanks Shiona.
      I am trying to have a quiet day today. My husband is working from home today(just a coincidence, as he had an optician’s appointment) so we’re able to have coffee together.
      I do try to listen to that inner voice but sometimes the other noise drowns it out.


    • You’re funny!!! I was 44 last birthday and felt every one of them playing a 16 year old yesterday. Nice kid, I taught him last summer and he was disappointed I wasn’t teaching this week.
      take care.
      and thanks.


  5. Tennis? Wow!
    If I did that I’d groan and toss and turn; and I won’t be able to sleep for a week! (Pardon my English – I plead my caricaturist status.)
    Sorry…I was busy and didn’t log in until about noon your time. How are you feeling now?


  6. ….. one doesn’t have to start by liking or even loving, oneself. I have often wandered, uncalled, into that place where I am not anxious, or frightened, just terrified, in the dead hours of the night; the pounding heart, the sweat on the palms that somehow seems to defy gravity by crawling up my arms and emerging on my brow and my back.
    Activity has sometimes worked; walking has sometimes worked; Diazepam is pretty reliable, but feels like a failure. Being held by someone who is your “soulmate” and can truly empathise always works, but….
    I now have a portable mp3 player by the bed. It has “brainwave entrapment” tracks on it. I swear every time that it will not help but give it a try. I am usually asleep within half an hour. But I don’t think it works for all. What it did for me was interfere with my disliking myself so much, which was a first step.


  7. Hi Viv,
    Funnily enough one of my best friends was telling me today that she is feeling really under the weather. She described it as feeling like a really bad hangover and had a pain in her upper arm, just below her shoulder. She was also feeling quite sick. Her mother has just had the same bug – very similar symptoms so maybe what you had is just a nasty bug that’s going around? I hope you feel better soon!


    • Thanks Bethan. I may be a bit under par, but I am begining to think the tennis was the trigger. Time will tell as the day goes on. I plan a hot bath and a massage with some good relaxing oils later.
      Mind you, working with kids all the time does mean I have to try and keep my immune system in tip top condition to fight off all the viruses and bacteria and bugs; so far I haven’t picked up headlice but I remain vigilant!


  8. Hi Viv,
    I wish I had some advice or anything helpful to offer but all I can say is that I’m truly glad you’re okay.
    When I wake up in the middle of the night or can’t go to sleep at all, somehow everything seems more horrifying than they actually are and I’m pretty fragile at that stage so I get scared pretty easy… Maybe it’s the darkness or the lack of sleep playing thinks to our brains but when its morning again, I usually ask myself why I worried so much…
    I’m so glad that you’re okay and hopefully a few days to relax will do the trick…


    • thanks Lua.
      It’s an odd thing but sometimes a bad night is a good thing; I ended up chatting online with a friend who made me laugh, and who was kind. And at 3am, that’s no bad thing.


    • I expect no sympathy from you Jonathan.
      Anyway, it ought to be added that it now seems to be mandatory that we particpate in any of the activities we are taking the students on so i suspect that muggins here will end up doing more as less people are prepared to risk life limb and general health to satisfy this stupid requirement. Or we might have a few real heart attacks from older and less fit members of staff….


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