When “Jim” contacted me, he was pretty frustrated and upset. For the past couple of months he had been on a roller coaster ride of stress, insomnia, and sleeping pills. While the sleeping pills knocked him out most nights, he was afraid of becoming addicted and spent several nights each week not taking them. On those nights he might not sleep at all, and this was, of course, very disturbing. Then it happened that even on the nights he did take medication, he was no longer getting the knock-out conk-out effect that is so alluring for insomniacs, and sometimes not even sleeping at all. This is the point where Jim called me.
During our first appointment we focused on the stressful events that had precipitated this last three month bout of insomnia. Jim had been falsely accused of doing something at work and for about two months he was very afraid of being fired. By the third month, however, his name had been cleared, he had been given a good Christmas bonus, and everything at the office was back to normal. Yet he could not sleep. Even over the holidays where he was home from work with his wife and two children, he still could not sleep. It seems his nervous system had gotten stuck in a stress pattern, so we tapped on specific, anxiety-producing stressful events during the preceding two months. By the end of the session, Jim’s anxiety around the whole situation was much lower. We began a medication tapering program, reducing his Ambien to half the dose.
Our second appointment was a few days later and Jim had experienced a great couple of days. He had slept really well on his half of Ambien and was in good spirits. In this session we focused on the events surrounding a previous intense period of insomnia – about 15 years ago. Jim’s first vivid memory of not sleeping at all was when he was on a fishing trip with a friend. He was sleeping on his back and every time he would drift off to sleep, he would experience a choking sensation and felt like he couldn’t breathe. He was in a panic and was unable to sleep the whole night. We used Matrix Reimprinting for this horrible night, and Jim was able to tell his younger self that he was NOT going to die from this, that in fact, he just had to roll over on his side and that choking sensation would no longer happen. He changed the picture by taking his younger self for a good walk, breathing some cool, refreshing air, and then returning to his bed, lying on his side and getting some sleep.
The second part of this session focused around his mother’s death. On the last day of her life, Jim had been on his way to see her, but instead of going there directly, took a detour, which delayed him several hours. By the time he arrived, she had passed. Although she had been ill for many months, nobody had foreseen her death would be that day. Yet Jim still carried guilt around his choice to make a detour, a choice which cost him missing the last moments with his mother. We tapped on his guilt and sadness and he left with an assignment to continue processing these feelings.
Jim had a big week at work coming up, where he was in charge of a major event, so we decided to see how he did, and if all went well on ½ Ambien, he was to go down to ¼ by the end of the week.
The end of the week brought good news and bad news. Jim had done GREAT with his busy week of work taking the ½ Ambien. He was sleeping well, feeling good, and the week of work was very successful. The previous night, however, he had gotten into a long, drawn-out argument with his wife late into the night and he hadn’t slept much at all. He felt depressed and tired, like he had back-tracked. I assured him he was making good progress and this was the perfect day for an appointment. We went through the argument with a fine-toothed comb, tapping on all moments evoking anger, sadness, or anxiety. At the end of the session, Jim felt much better, and had a plan for smoothing things over with his wife.
A few days later we met again and Jim was in great spirits. He had made up with his wife and had experienced great sleep on ¼ Ambien for three nights in a row. We used that appointment to tackle a long-held, deep-seated fear that he would get Alzheimer’s like his father and aunt. As we worked through all the threads of this fear, Jim began to have big cognitive shifts. First he acknowledged that he had a fantastic present life: wonderful wife and children, great career, and overall solid good health. As we were tapping he realized that he no longer wished to cloud this wonderful present with fears of a future that might not ever happen. He made a powerful decision to start letting this fear go. Then, as we worked further he made another realization – people with Alzheimer’s don’t even know they have Alzheimer’s! They think life is just fine! Our final tapping statement went something like this:
Even though it is very scary to watch someone you love deteriorate with Alzheimer’s and it is very scary to think about getting it yourself, actually having it might not be so bad. If this worst thing happened and I actually got Alzheimer’s I might even be happy. I am now choosing to release this dark fear of the future and focus on the beautiful picture that is my present.
Five days later Jim let me know that he had slept solidly through the night without medication for the first time in two months! In just over two weeks he had gone from not sleeping well on his full dose of Ambien to sleeping great with no Ambien at all. It was time to put those sleeping pills to rest!