“Don’t worry Marcia, I don’t ever fall asleep in cars,”
I said after traveling from Maine to Michigan for the first time. Exhausted from waking up at 3 am in Fryeburg, and sore from jamming my legs into the seat in front of me on the plane, I fell asleep next to Marcia in the back seat of the SUV.
My boyfriend’s parents had travelled 2.5 hours to pick us up in Detroit for our visit home over Christmas. I greeted them by letting my head fall into my jacket-pillow and snoring (adorably, I’m sure) for the first two hours of our visit.
Falling asleep hasn’t always been easy for me. I have struggled with anxiety for most of my adult life. My brain preferred to stay awake at night thinking of every horrible thing that could happen to the people I love, stressing about my actions that day, etc. At the worst of times I felt like I was falling backwards through the sky, hopelessly spiraling to the ground, without any resources to pull me out of the free-fall.
I tried seeing a counselor. I tried talking to my doctor. I tried medication.
After a year on medication I finally decided that the side effects of waking up drenched in sweat during the night was not worth the benefits. Withdrawals from stopping the medication gave me headaches and dizziness. I never wanted to take meds again after that experience, but meds were all my doctor was offering me. I started to accept that I would always just have to deal with my anxiety.
Then I met a chiropractor. Not just any chiropractor, but one specializing in balancing brain function. I had been adjusted by chiropractors before, but this time was different. I was finally able to understand the complete picture of my anxiety. He explained how my brain was performing in a state of “fight or flight,” all the time. While this probably helped me be a hyperaware rafting guide in the summer days, I wasn’t able to turn it off in moments when I should have been in a relaxed state, like trying to fall asleep.
As a science teacher, I really need to understand the “why” of things, and he explained in-depth how my brainwave patterns differed from someone without anxiety issues, and how his adjustment techniques would help my brain learn to produce the right brainwaves when I needed them.
I’m finally at a point where my anxiety is under control. I can even surrender to sleeping inside a moving vehicle (instead of exercising my fright-induced, backseat driving antics). Getting adjusted and following other healthy advice from my chiropractor has transformed my life. I am thriving instead of just surviving each day.
If you, or someone you love, have had experiences like mine I highly suggest checking out his website.
There is hope!