My life has been good. God has blessed me abundantly. I have memories of a very happy, stable childhood. No abuse, no traumatic events, no car accidents, or chronic illness. I accepted Christ into my life at a very young age. My parents had a stable marriage and provided a loving Christian home. I have one sibling, an older brother, who I got along with fairly well. I actually really enjoyed life in my adolescent and teen years. I went to a private, Christian school and was highly involved in the many different extracurricular activities the school had to offer. I got good grades. I was captain of the high school basketball team and captain of the cheer-leading squad. I sang in the school choir, small ensemble groups, and played in a hand-bell choir. My school’s music groups were very competitive and won many awards. I took piano and voice lessons and played piano and sang for church and school activities. I was in church 2-3 times each week. I had a lot of great friends. I dated some, but no major boyfriends or breakups. I consider my high school years some of the happiest times in my life. I loved life.
In hindsight, there was only one tiny little thing that could have given me a clue about my future illness. I didn’t sleep well. I don’t remember exactly when it happened – probably somewhere around 14-15 years old. I often had trouble falling asleep. I would also wake up a lot throughout the night and have trouble falling asleep again. I thought it was because I was a light sleeper. I can remember the frustration of not being able to fall asleep even when I was exhausted. There were some nights that I NEVER fell asleep at all. I would lay in the bed and try so hard, but my body just would NOT go to sleep. I remember my alarm going off for school at 6:30AM and I still hadn’t fallen asleep. I remember the tears of frustration, the tossing and turning, the restless legs – and then I just went to school as if that was normal. I know at some point I talked with my parents about it, but I don’t remember them making a big deal about it. I don’t even think I made a big deal about it. Why didn’t I think this was abnormal? It never occurred to me to ask a doctor about it. I tried all the normal things like same bedtime routine, melatonin, tylenol pm, warm milk, hot bath, etc… none of which helped at all. I continued with the these poor sleep patterns all through high school.
So, this leads to the big question. Was poor sleep a contributing factor to my getting CFS/FM or was I in the beginning stages of CFS/FM and that was what was causing poor sleep? Which came first the chicken or the egg?