Posted on January 21, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 20 of 34 in the series Craig

Sleep Post TBI: Craig Part Twenty 

Craig discusses his problems with sleep post TBI.  His sleepless nights make for being tired all of the time.  It also caused problems in his marriage.

Sleep Post TBI, Sleep Deprivation

Let’s talk about sleep post TBI . When did you first identify that you were having trouble with sleep post TBI?

Oh, probably the first, when I got home stayed up a week without sleeping. I didn’t realize I was even tired really, but uh, I guess I was pretty dingy I guess how that would be described.   And of course keeping my wife up all night was a good realization that I wasn’t sleeping, and hallucinations.  I remember about six weeks because I was starting to hallucinate, see things move, towels breathing.

Is that from sleep, sleep post TBI, deprivation?

Yeah, that’s what they think and that’s when they put me on Lunesta at that point.  But I remember the first couple of times it was wonderful.  I slept and felt pretty good but within a month it stopped working. I’d take one and I’d sleep an hour or two and then, they put me on Sonoma I think is another one and then that worked for a little bit.

Then they found an old-class drug, I’m trying to remember the name of it,   something they don’t even use.  They used it in the institutions and then it, and that worked for months.  But I got addicted to them believe it or not.

I used to look forward to getting home so I could take my sleeping pill. I wasn’t really sleeping on  them but it sedated my brain.

That was when I thought, this is, this is what my mom does, she’s an addict. That’s when I decided that was not the route I was going to go and, started exercising a little bit, just wearing myself out so that I would sleep.  Having my brain empty when I go to bed is important.

How do you empty your brain to sleep post TBI?

Sometimes it’s hard but, not having any loose ends.  Putting things, I call it parking lot, put  them in a parking lot,  knowing that, and I have to write  them down.  That’s actually for me it’s a visual parking lot.  I have a home office and so I have a visual parking lot, and on that parking lot if I can put it up there. I’m going to get back out tomorrow, and I just know unless it’s anything with my kids,  obviously it won’t go in the parking lot but it can wait.

I just really have had to learned that it can wait.   I’m doing 16 hours a day and that can wait tomorrow, it’s hard though,  because there’s so much need out there.

What does your typical parking lot of thoughts look like at night?

It is full right now. I’ve been kind of busy, a few things out of the ordinary, and so it’s pretty full.  I have probably 40, 50 projects pending. I have a part-time assistant that I’m just gracious that she hasn’t quit.  She just checks a couple of emails and that’s all she’s able to do in a day is check my emails.

So I’m picturing you walk in and you see this rainbow full of sticky notes.  Is that what it looks like?

Well, yeah.  It’s corkboard.  We don’t have a dining room in the office.  Half of my bedroom is the office so, I got printers.  We put out a lot of material. So we’ll be watching TV and I’ll be working, printing stuff or wherever it’s got to go and we’ve adapted.  And so this last year has been really hard on my kids because of our growth.


Next in Part Twenty One – Difficulty Dealing with Work Compromises after TBI


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447