For many years I’ve struggled with insomnia. I remember this starting back around 2011 when Mari and I first moved to Utah to get the office started. It was tough moving away from my kids, and I’m sure that had something to do with it, plus all the pressure of getting a new office started. Then as the company grew, and office politics crept in, I ended up in a pretty high pressure situation.
At some point it got so bad that I started using medical marijuana to help me get to sleep at night. And when that stopped being effective, I started taking sleeping pills like Ambien. At this point I realized I had to do something different. Around that time Mari happened to meet someone whose husband also struggled with sleep, but it turned out he had sleep apnea. Mari thought that could be my problem as well, since she’d been worrying lately listening to my breathing. Sometimes I’d stop for quite awhile and then restart with a gasp.
Mari’s friend, whose husband had since been sleeping much better, connected us with Dr. Damaris Drewry, who was instrumental in his cure. After talking with Dr. Drewry, I learned that there are actually two types of sleep apnea, although most people only are aware of the first – obstructive sleep apnea. This is where the airway is physically blocked and a CPAP machine is typically prescribed to keep it open via positive pressure. I’d tried a CPAP machine and found it incredibly frustrating to sleep with. When Dr. Drewry explained the second type of sleep apnea, I saw a glimmer of hope. This second type, central sleep apnea, is where the brain stops sending signals to the body to tell it to breathe. This is more neurological and is often based in deep rooted trauma. Some of the questions she asked me were interesting – have you ever held your breath in response to a fearful situation? Have you ever had a near drowning experience? Were you abused or neglected as a child? And so on…
I spent several weeks after that working with Dr. Drewry over the phone. During that time we reviewed experiences in my past that she believed could lead to my central nervous system locking up my breathing at night. PTSD that runs 24 hours a day, basically, keeping me breathing shallowly, and stopping my breathing at night while I sleep. I didn’t realize it early on, but she was teaching me how I could cure myself of the apnea. And sure enough, I’ve been sleeping quite well since the work I did with her back in April of this year. I’ll be forever grateful to her, and I wanted to let others know about my success. If you’ve been struggling with sleep apnea, I think you’d find it worthwhile to learn a little bit about central sleep apnea, and see if Dr. Drewry’s work can benefit you as well.