I just caught up with my sister, Tania, for a coffee at her uni campus, and was immediately struck by the massive bags under her eyes. I cracked a joke that she’d been partying too hard, but she told me that she’d actually been having heaps of trouble sleeping for the past couple of weeks, to the point that she’d describe it as insomnia.
Sounds awful to me! Tania said she’d first noticed it after submitting a particularly gruelling maths assessment for her engineering course, which she’d been unusually worried about. The stress symptoms have persisted, even though she’s already gotten the marks back for that test. On top of that, the insomnia has started to degrade her overall mental and physical health – she seems to be at the end of her tether!
I asked her if she’d been to a GP. She said she had, and that she’d been referred to a psychologist at the uni, but that she’d prefer a referral to a psychologist in Mornington since she’s going to visit our parents there on her break in a couple of weeks. She reckons she has too much on at the moment. Seems like self-defeating reasoning to me – how is she going to get anything done if she’s exhausted all the time?
In my view, Tania probably thinks it’s normal to not be sleeping. I remember that, when I was at uni, it was de rigueur to go around in a zombie-like state. But chucking an all-nighter to finish an important assignment or staying out til 6am at a party is different to genuinely not being able to sleep due to anxiety, especially if this is in an ongoing capacity.
I have a friend who knows a psychiatrist in the Mornington area – I’m not sure if a psychiatrist is in order in this situation (seeing as Tania was referred to a psychologist) but maybe I could look into the options. I’d like to assist Tania in getting her mental health support, not to mention a good night’s sleep.