I’m currently on approximately 12 hours sleep in 36 hours.  I have a chest infection which makes me cough which in turn causes Reilly to have a meltdown.  To say I am pissed off is a massive understatement.

Reilly takes melatonin, theres a bit of mixed reaction to it, some parents see it as drugging your child and that it’s actually a little bit selfish.  I on the other hand will stop you right there.  When my health visitor passed me in the street after not seeing her for quite a few months about  1 year ago I looked like something from The Walking Dead.  Reilly would never fall asleep before midnight and would wake at around 3-4am, not his fault it’s common in children with autism. I was exhausted and frustrated and could not see any light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.  When she recommended it I felt a little glimmer of hope.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that kicks in when it starts to get dark and will make you feel a but sleepy.  It’s not a sleeping tablet, it helps you fall asleep and it works lots of the time but not all the time but when you are at a stage in your life where you think anything over 4 hours sleep is a bonus its time to reevaluate and look at your options.

Sleep deprivation is wicked. It affects your relationships, you become a vile cow who hates everyone especially those who think they are tired because their child woke up for a drink, it affects your well being – your immune system suffers and it makes you feel like a depressed anxious failure. For your child it affects their learning, their mood, their growth and ability to function properly.  So we all agree sleep is essential.

I wouldn’t be without his melatonin now I take the bad nights on the chin along with the ones where he needs a break from it (it can’t be administered every night) and I try and enjoy the good ones where he’s snoring at 9pm and I can’t decided whether to stay upstairs with him and have an early night or run downstairs and have cups of tea and watch crap on the telly, it’s usually the latter. Me time equally as important as sleep.

Last week Reilly was changed over from his normal liquid melatonin (very expensive) to the tablet form and it doesn’t agree with him! Good god he’s wild!  He is waking at 2am every morning and is really aggressive. Scratching me, pulling my hair, screaming, throwing things.  This happens till about 7am when he falls back asleep for a couple of hours.  Needless to say I’ve requested the liquid melatonin back and hopefully have it in my tired paws by tomorrow.

I cannot stand how angry, impatient and generally crap I am with no sleep, everyone suffers because of it, added to that the constant melting down because of my coughing and the fact that an SEN parent isn’t allowed to be ill or tired because the day doesn’t stand still for us, couple of hours in bed – not a chance!  It cracks on at it’s normal speed leaving you frazzled in it’s wake praying for a better night.

Keep everything crossed for me tonight as Reilly will be tablet free I’d rather go another 24 hours on 4 hours sleep than see him like the wild child of late.

ps if anyone heard me last night I was just reading from this book.  I promise! 

Go the Fuck to Sleep from Julien Devlin on Vimeo.