Take Two of These and … Stay Up All Night

There’s a lot I wanted to write about today.

I wanted to tell you about the weekend we had, devoted to nothing but hockey. How we went to games, and Ryan played in games, and in between we watched more games on television — together. And how at his games he skated hard, and was aggressive, and tried his best. How when his team lost twice, he handled it well. How he stayed for the thank-you party for his coaches even though he didn’t want to, and behaved appropriately. How his teammates accept him.

I wanted to tell you how he watched his beloved San Jose Sharks lose, again, and stopped himself before he melted down. And then did it again the next day when they dropped another heart-breaker.

I wanted to tell you about the wonderful connections I’ve made since starting this blog just a few weeks ago, about people who have reached out to tell me how their child has a similar hockey obsession and how comforting that is.

But all that will have to wait, because my household is not functioning very well today.

My child barely slept last night. Like, at all.

Way too much time staring at this last night.

Sleep has always been an issue for Ryan. He typically goes to bed early, and easily, but wakes frequently during the night and is up for good well before 5 or 6 a.m. We have tried everything: blackout shades, melatonin, white noise, lullabies, weighted blankets, calming routines, earlier bedtimes, later bedtimes.

At this point, we’ve just accepted it as part of life.

What isn’t, and shouldn’t, be part of life is what we’ve been dealing with lately.

After years of resisting, we made the difficult decision to treat Ryan’s anxiety and ADHD with meds last fall. The tipping point was his increasing difficulty attending in school.

Having braced ourselves for this, we were at least hoping to see some positive results while we watched for side effects like a hawk. Instead, through several months and now three different prescriptions, we have found only frustration. Either his ADHD worsened or he became an insomniac.

Each of the meds has required a slow ramp-up and then a wind-down before switching, making the process even slower. Yesterday was the first day we increased the dosage of his latest prescription. Ryan had an up and down day, but not altogether atypical — until bedtime.

We were nervous because interrupted sleep is a listed side effect of this particular med. Still, Ryan seemed ready to go to sleep at his normal time. Wound up, sure, but he often is at bedtime and still manages to get to sleep quickly. We put him to bed, following the carefully scripted routine.

A half-hour went by — he was still mumbling to himself. We checked on him, and repeated the routine. After an hour, we let him try in our bedroom. An hour later, it was back to his room. An hour later, I got in bed next to him. An hour later, he came downstairs to try on the couch. An hour later it was back to his room. An hour later, he was still up.

It was now after 2 a.m.

He must have fallen asleep at some point. Veronica and I finally did. He was up for good shortly after 5.

So today will be a day we alter everything, remove every possible meltdown trigger, and hope for the best.

It’s not a day I feel like writing about recent triumphs.

It’s a day I want someone, in Jess’s words, to “fix it.”

It’s a day when a non-religious person like myself will find the serenity prayer rolling around my head. I know I need help to find some patience today.

Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe it will be a day to tell some of the stories I don’t feel like sharing today.


12 thoughts on “Take Two of These and … Stay Up All Night

  1. We have many nights like that around here so I can truly empathize. I will be thinking of all of you today and praying you through the hours. You are not alone. Hang in there.


  2. 😦 My boy has sleep issues, also. Like you, we’ve kinda accepted it and try to work around it. We haven’t started the meds yet, but I’m sure it’s on the horizon, waiting for us. Once he enters puberty, I fear the now palpable anxiety will make meds an unwanted necessity. While all these stories of families struggling with the tweaking process of introducing medications are upsetting, they also help prepare me. I entered onto this autism path with no information and I was quickly overwhelmed. Hearing about how taxing the process is will help me and my boy. Knowing the size of the mountain ahead helps me prepare for the climb. Thank you for taking the time to write today.


  3. Sleep issues are such a hassle. The successes you wrote about are pretty friggin’ awesome though.

    We tried Lily on ADHD meds for about six months. They just weren’t for her. She lost too much weight, and she was already too light to begin with. It also messed up her sleep and her potty training. . . it was just a “perfect” storm.

    Everything I’ve ever heard is that meds (no judgement from me one way or another, frankly) are frustrating. It’s almost a guess and check procedure, and the hope is that eventually Ryan will find the “just right” dose and type of medication, but in the meantime you have to deal with the side effects one after the other, as you find the “best fit”.

    At some point in the future we may try medication with Lily again, but for right now the appetite loss, potty accidents, “coming off” period, and sleep loss were too high a price to pay for the benefits we weren’t really seeing.


  4. Oh man. I have often said the only part of my children’s infancy I didn’t care for was the waking up at night. It takes such a toll on you. I can’t imagine dealing with that still now. That is 1 area where we are incredibly blessed. Both my children fall asleep at around 8:30 every night and don’t budge until around 7am. I’m saying the serenity prayer for you too. I hope tonight is a better one.


  5. Maybe you might want to try having a calming period before bed – no TV, no music, no noise, low lights, maybe just a little reading. The less stimulation, the better. This is something done by hardcore insomniacs to increase their chances of getting into those initial sleep stages.


  6. My son has always had sleep issues as well…as in didn’t sleep through the night until he was 3..years. It was improving, but since we started him on meds for ADHD, it’s bad…and, like you, we have accepted it as a fact of life. I feel your pain..as I sit in the corner of my son’s room, waiting and wishing he’d go to sleep. Hope tonight is better…


  7. Thanks for everyone’s comments, suggestions, and support. Happy to report that sleep was MUCH better on night 2 of the higher dosage. Keeping our fingers crossed for night 3.


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