3 Days ‘til My 50th Birthday – What I Did Today & How I Feel

by Jacque Gonzales

With 3 days until my 50th birthday, I had set out to color my gray hair, and a million other things that desperately need to be done at home (like finding out when the tree cutter will be able to move the downed tree across our driveway)…and what did I accomplish today???

Absolutely nothing.

So I feel awful that I didn’t make any progress today…but I promised myself that I would not look at set backs as a total failure and then completely give up. I can’t. I won’t.

Part of the reason I got nothing accomplished today – AND the reason most of my blogs go up so late at night, is that I haven’t been able to sleep. I’m already a night owl, always have been. With the pandemic and everything going on in the world my sleep has been severely altered. It’s easy to tell me to not watch or read the news, but that’s not going to happen. My entire career involved news in one way or another. From my radio career, I often compiled and read the news on-air during morning shows – and in television I always wanted to be conscious of what was going on in the world so I wasn’t on-air with a giant grin on my face and making jokes if something major had happened.

The last couple months I’ve been wide awake until the sun comes up. I end up sleeping during the day – and all my time seems to have been wasted. I’ve taken sleeping pills before – and they didn’t work. Anxiety medication – nope. Melatonin – nothing. Advil PM or Tylenol PM – sometimes worked a little – but not it feels that my system has adjusted to them – so I’ve stopped.

I know that exercise would help me sleep better – but my energy level is so pathetically low it’s discouraging. I’ve always had low energy – and so did my mother, sister, and nieces. I have always thought that we all have to have something in common that causes it. But no doctors have ever figured it out.

Another HUGE factor in my sleepless nights – my overall health. Last year when my mother and my mother-in-law both passed in March – I was overloaded with stress – and during that time I started to forget to take my daily medication. Eventually, I had forgotten long enough (a couple of weeks) that I knew I couldn’t just start it back up. So I stopped all my medication cold turkey. That was the worst thing I could have possibly done.

As many of you know from my blog about having C-PTSD – I’ve been on antidepressants since I was 19 years old. Anxiety medication started in the last 15 years. Antidepressants must be tapered off under a doctors supervision – NEVER cold turkey like I did.

There was so much going on during between the two funerals that I didn’t notice things that were starting to happen to my health. Within 2 months I had gained 40 pounds, my heart rate increased, I was eating only a couple times a day – if that. My face developed an uneven skin tone – with patchy areas of melasma. Massive hot flashes were happening every day, and pain in my hands and feet like I had instantly developed arthritis in my fingers and toes.

I finally called my doctors and told them what I did. They were very concerned about the awful side effects I was experiencing of stopping the medication without tapering them. But at that time, the last thing I wanted to do was to go back on them…so I didn’t. By August, 5 months later, I called them both back – I was feeling extremely despondent – and knew it was time to go back on the medication.

Things are better, but not great. My weight has come down 10 pounds, but I’m still up 30 pounds. Peri-menopause has returned in all its glory … and oh yea, my psychiatrist retired – so now I need to find a new doctor during a pandemic.

So tomorrow is a new day … and I’ll try again.

And completely off topic … out of now where … lilies are growing in our yard?!?! We didn’t plant any bulbs … so I’m stumped on how they just showed up! It’s just one stalk!

Socially-distanced hugs to all of you!

💜 Jacque

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AW August 12, 2020 - 12:39 PM

Thanks so much for sharing. (I’m a night owl, too! … and 57! I share that in hopes that it will make you happy to be “only” 50. 🙂 LOL!) All the very best to you – day by day, as they say! 🙂 And HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Trevia August 11, 2020 - 10:57 PM

Hi Jacque
It is so refreshing to have someone in the public eye be transparent.
Thank you for sharing your struggle.
I feel like I could of written this.
I have PTSD,fibromyalgia and Lyme.
I had to stop working 12 years ago.
I consider myself to be a “very young“ 57 yrs old.
I have no children or siblings. I am married.(20yrs)
I lost my mom(we were extremely close)in February unexpectedly (not virus)
Less than 4 months later my furbaby of 13 yrs passed quick and unexpectedly.
The silence in my home is deafening.
I try to take everything day by day.
I understand all too well the struggle.
Stay safe and take care.🙏💕

Chris Davis August 11, 2020 - 1:08 PM

Jacque, I’ve lived with chronic nasal congestion/post nasal drip for many decades. Even nasal surgery didn’t stop the problem. The only thing that helps to dry it up is diphenhydramine, an OTC medication which causes drowsiness in many people, including me. You can buy a bottle of 100 (store brand) for around $5.00 in Walmart. When I use it, I start with 1/4 pill. If I take 1/2 or more I’m asleep very quickly, a side-effect I endure because it helps with the congestion. However, the 1/4 pill usually does the trick for me. Only your doctor could tell if this would work with your current medications.

Here’s what Wikipedia says: Because of its sedative properties, diphenhydramine is widely used in nonprescription sleep aids for insomnia.

Hope this helps. Have a fabulous 50th birthday!

Dan Shannon August 11, 2020 - 11:55 AM

Jacque, have you tried hypnotherapy??

Darlene rose August 11, 2020 - 8:52 AM

I’m a person who has had trouble sleeping for years. It really started during menopause. I had sleep apnea had to sleep with a cpap.the Dr said my sleep apnea was severe but what are you going to do? Sorry you’re having so much trouble sleeping Jacque and you’re right nothing helps. Try some nice long walks with your daughter, I understand energy levels are low but try a little walk, then longer.you can’t stay cooped up forever,please try the walks you’ll feel better. Just want to wish you a happy 50th and God bless you and family.

MJAnderson August 11, 2020 - 7:36 AM

Jacque – I am experiencing the same difficulty of not being able to sleep. Unfortunately, I am unable to sleep during the day too. I have the same problem with the low energy – probably from not sleeping. I have been resisting help from medication but I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. I may discuss with them again. Hang in there and thank you for sharing your experience – we are the same age too – so I know the feeling there as well.

Adela zielinski August 11, 2020 - 6:22 AM

Jacque, you are not alone. These last few months have been very frustrating and trying times for many of us. I have experienced pretty much everything you have.
Anger, depression, weigh gain and total sleep disorder. One day I’m up at 3 am and the next day I sleep until 10. Not knowing when this will end makes it that much worse. Lately I’ve trying to look for that little light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t always see it but I keep looking for it.
You’ll see that turning 50 isn’t as bad as you might think. My last “big” one was 70 and the good thing is I am still alive !!
I hope you start feeling better soon and be back to your old self. I miss you on QVC. Take care and Happy Early Birthday in case I miss the real one.

Barbara Thibeault August 11, 2020 - 12:54 AM

I sleep very little…I know where you are coming from…If I get in bed by2 am, that is early…This pandemic has helped no one but the politicians…I am so sorry you lost both Moms…That is so very sad….I remember when you were pregnant with your daughter…She must be quite a young lady…. I hope you are feeling better soon…


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