Is it normal to be unable to fall asleep until total exhaustion?

My parents said I was impossible to put to bed since I was a baby. To this day the insomnia has progressed to the point of being unmanageable. It does not matter what time I wake up the morning before. It does not matter what time I need to wake up the next day. Activity level has no effect. Proper sleep hygiene makes things worse; my mind makes more noise when there isn’t at least mundane TV droning in the background. Unmedicated I have been known to stay awake for up to 4 days. I’ve tried every medication for insomnia you could name. A dentist injected me with a cocktail of fentanyl and modafinil as anesthesia and I remained conscious. These days I am barely hanging on. I have begged family and friends for unwanted pharms. At this point I am nearly 24 hours without sleep despite taking a full dose of olanzapine (heavy sedating antipsychotic) and mirtazapine (heavily sedating anxiolytic) and 4 Xanax. This cannot be normal. But I hope someone may have had a similar experience and can share advice. Seen many psychs and docs to no avail. It’s not that I’m not sleepy— I’m so sleepy it hurts— I just cannot allow myself to rest. I know this isn’t normal. But is this at least one other person’s normal?

Is It Normal?
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  • Not sure but I have been pretty much the same lately. I lie awake until early morning when I probably pass out because really I am very tired but I absolutely cannot sleep.

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    • I have been the same as well. I was like this when I was younger then it stopped and now it started again. For me it might be due to intense stress.

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  • I sort of have the same but not as bad. Even when I’m tired, I will lie there for about three hours physically unable to fall asleep then I will wake up again in the early morning.

    You could be building up a tolerance/resistance to the medication. Try having a few weeks off from it and then go back to taking lower doses of the pills.

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  • Do u exercise? Do u have mental problems like anxiety, depression or psychosis? Are u severely stressed?

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    • I exercise quite a bit, up to 9mi walking a day with public transit and all. I’ve been diagnosed with several things, primarily PTSD. Not to get gruesome but it was a non-life-threatening incident, awful as it was.

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      • Those are some very sedating meds you are taking especially olanzapine. 5mg olanzapine knocks me out for 12 hours. Are u really taking full 20 mg dose of olanzapine?

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        • I am, and I cycle it with other medications so as not to take it more than once per week (don’t want to build tolerance). The first time I took it I was knocked cold for two straight days. Recently they’re like sugar pills.

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  • Not sure if there’s a rule against using this as some form of blog, I’m just rambling in a place I know I can record this. Olanzapine, hydroxyzine, propranolol, and mirtazapine today. Staying true to taking no one medication more than two days in a row as much as possible (except propranolol, which is prescribed daily). Exercised hard doing yard work. Still feel like my bed is pins and needles, can’t stay still in my room or in my skin. Everyone I know goes to sleep so easily. Nothing productive to do. Too exhausted to concentrate on much. Agonizing. Seeing doc next week. There has to be something. Electroconvulsive therapy? If anyone out there has beaten insomnia please share your story.

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  • Next cocktail: fasted and took 10mg ambien to no effect, think I’m up to 40mg ambien now. Tacked on hydroxyzine and Seroquel XR. Feeling like Bob Ross “there’s no medication mixture accidents, they’re just happy little catalysts”. Then the painting goes left undone as I’ve been waiting for effect to help me sleep since 3 hours ago

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  • Tonight’s cocktail is 75mg doxepin, 2mg Xanax (that’s two days in a row now, gotta lay off it for at least a few days), 40mg propranolol, 30mg mirtazapine, and 100mg Seroquel. Waiting out the hours is becoming more unbearable with each passing day. Fasting tomorrow to take ambien on an empty stomach, meeting with the doctor Wednesday morning. Same doc I’ve been seeing for this problem for 4 years now. Fingers crossed there could be something we haven’t tried.

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