Anitra dancing

How I dealt with my insomnia and lived to tell the tale

Below is the letter I sent to the folks at PopCap Games, who make, among others, the very popular games Bejeweled and Bookworm, for many platforms. I had made a great discovery about taming my insomnia (YMMV), and they were part of the solution. Many of you know I have been insomnia my entire life.

The VP of PR wrote to me, suggesting I might be useful in a study of theirs. On Bejeweled3, they worked actively to make what had been the Endless version of Bejeweled2, now the Zen mode, into something that players could use to achieve stress-reduction and relaxation. Don't know how it would work for getting to sleep.

PopCap's games are not clearly gender-specific, although there may be a dearth of female characters in games where the characters have genders. I suppose the bookworm in the iPhone version might be male--the bowtie being the only indicator, but Bejeweled has no characters. They do seem to be working to be more inclusive of the neurologically atypical.


I love the new features on Bejeweled3 that assist with relaxation, and even sleep. I haven't bought the game or played for free yet, because I need it on my iPhone to use it for sleep aid. I don't sleep with my computer in the same room.

I use Bejeweled (and Bookworm) on my iPhone exclusively these days. I call them my patience-keepers: if I have my phone charged, I can play one of the games until whoever I'm waiting for (and sometimes it's the light to change) is ready to help me.

However, I am a lifelong insomniac, for whom the main family of sleep meds, the benzodiazepienes, do anything BUT help me sleep. No folk cure or OTC med has ever worked--except when I need it not to work. I gave up trying artificial means to get to sleep--level of exercise, relaxation exercises, diet, blood sugar stats, how physically tired I was, how sleepy i was. If my brain didn't want me to sleep, I didn't sleep.

I came to realize that I needed to turn my active brain off, so that words and thinky-thoughts were not in the picture, keeping my brain from shutting down. So I tried reproducing instrumental music in my mind--that worked sometimes, but I was often to distracted to focus.

At one point I was on a medication that had a strong sedative effect, and I got great *restful* sleep then, until the med stopped doing what it was meant to do. Labor Day weekend of 2001 was the first time I'd had restful sleep in over 25 years.

While I was using Twitter, I found a blog/forum called InsomniaLand. The man who runs the blog wanted to gather insomniacs together to share experiences, possible cures/aids, and he would keep us up on the latest articles and research on our problem. Now if there were such a thing for *migraines*, I know dozens of friends who would be there faster than I could tell them about it.

I knew I had to do something non-verbal, but until two months ago, I hadn't found anything that worked, and worked *consistently*. My bedside lamp wasn't working, and I hadn't been able to get it fixed for about a month. This meant no reading a book before sleep. I recharge my phone by my bed each night, because it is also my alarm clock for getting my son up & off to school.

I'd get into bed late, my husband already asleep, get snuggled down in my comforter, with or without a dog up against me. I'd play Bejeweled2 until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, and I was almost dropping the phone.

Night after night I did this and I realized that I was falling asleep after 5-15 minutes, instead of nearly an hour. Every night. If I was sitting up, no sleepy; lying down, bundled up, ready for sleep on my side, snooze. Consistently. If I woke up and didn't drop back immediately, as often happens, I play Bejeweled2 a while and drop off.

It's not a drug. It doesn't engage my "active brain". I can't put into words at all easily what is happening as I play the game--same as me trying to describe or reproduce music. I just don't have the vocabulary for music, or read it, or play by ear, or anything of that nature. Watching the pretty colors line up is not a verbal activity.

I can now get to sleep easily enough, thanks to Bejeweled2. This is the first breakthrough I've had since that med I was on between 2001 and 2003, and I can't tell you how grateful I am. I still need to work on quality of sleep, but I have a hunch that Bejeweled3 is going to influence that change.

I've told the Insomnialand community, as well as my endocrinologist, about what has changed for me.

Please thank the entire development and testing team for me. I never thought I was going to be able to get to sleep quickly, consistently, ever.
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Anitra dancing

A little late for his birthday, but what the heck

He always started with this, except for the last sets in Santa Monica. I don't think she was worth it, if what I've heard is true.

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Stan wasn't the most attractive man in the world, just looking at him. When he started to sing or talk, well, I miss him. It's so ironic, Stan mostly bald, Garnet with his wonderful long hair and widow's peak. Now that man is handsome--yes, the hair is part of it. They are both grand and loyal men.

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Merry Dancers

APOD does it again

I've never seen an aurora, in spite of having been north enough for a week or so in 1987. This reminds me of being in Albuquerque as a child for two years, when they had some of the lightest snowfall they'd had in years. We leave, and they get heaps of snow that winter. Ain't no justice.

Auroras are hard to photograph. Watch this a little under 3 min.

Anitra dancing

(no subject)

Is anyone having issues with their customized style & theme having changed definition today?

Mine, Punquin Elegant, with Classic Desktop, in lovely teal surroundings, has been changed somehow to a sea-green header (chosen that way), black borders (chose no borders, much less any particular color), and white elsewhere, instead of my lovely teal. It's not right. Feels stark.

Any ideas? I have tried changing it, and then putting my preferences right again, but no go.
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volcano & lightning

Possible remedies for migraineurs

PLEASE feel free to send this to any migraineur you might know, or to post it in your own journal--I don't need credit for it.

In case you haven't heard about risk factors for migraines, aside from genetics: 25% of migraineurs are bipolar, 25% of bipolars are migraineurs. Ain't that fun? That's part of how I was dx'd with bipolar disorder.

I heard about this use for botox earlier today on the radio, and looked it up online, for more info. These injections would be done by a neurologist rather than by a plastic surgeon, who normally give botox injections.

I can't find any information more current than 2004 on the dentist who developed a gel for calming some nerves back in your jaw area. He does seem to have received FDA approval for it, though.

BTW, feel free to pass this along to migraineurs you might know.

Here's an article from Bloomberg

Allergan Says U.S. FDA Approved Botox as Treatment for Chronic Migraines
By Molly Peterson - Oct 15, 2010 4:16 PM PT

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An advert to the side of this article offered Migraine Surgery.
A plastic surgeon in SF, CA offers it--but I am sure there are others elsewhere!--and this is the website:

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A NYT article on the procedure:

Since getting to NYT online can often be a problem, here's the article

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An article with not date appears in the Health division of the paper's archives

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blue amber Brigid's cross

Don't break your child

I think both my parents are resoponsible for breaking my sister. She never felt loved by either of them growing up.
This dad has something to say on the subject, and I agree with his ideas.

If you are thinking about having children, if you have a young one already, and you had no good role models growing up, find parenting classes or find a counselor who can help you break that chain, so your child(ren) will have a better childhood than you did.

I thank mdlbear for pointing me to this.
Glastonbury Tor

Spirit Day

Originally posted by neo_prodigy at Spirit Day

It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)

REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.

purple phalaenopsis in full blossom

Simon Says: Murder Is Being Done

from ysabetwordsmith:

she pointed me to this blog at dreamwidth:

It starts off:
Tyler Clementi was murdered.

Seth Walsh was murdered.

Asher Brown was murdered.

Billy Lucas was murdered.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District condones murder by maintaining a "neutral" policy toward GLBTIQ students that tacitly condones their abuse.

Classmates gaybashed an 11-year-old male cheerleader, breaking his arm.

A Michigan assistant attorney general engages in a deranged campaign of blogging hate speech against a college student.

People keep calling it bullying, which minimizes and infantilizes it.

I call it murder.
I call it abuse.
I call it assault and battery.
I call it harassment.
I call it stalking.
I call it slander, libel, defamation, terrorism.

And these stories and articles don't even go into the abuse heaped upon the heads of those who don't feel that killing themselves is the only way to escape it.
For coverage of the events leading up to Tyler Clementi's death, see
This talks briefly about other teens who've been "bullied to death"

There are a mish-mash of ineffectively enforced laws on bullying, cyber bullying, criminal harrassment, and invasion of privacy throughout the US (I don't know the details for other countries), but prosecution usually happens only after someone has died.

I hope, that in Tyler Clementi's case at least, that the two students who perpetrated this harrassment-by-Internet-video & defamation, are prosecuted to the full extent of the laws existing in New Jersey, and sued for wrongful death and accessories to murder (if not stronger) by the Clementi family.

This needs to be elevated to a Federal law. Too many gay teens have gone to their deaths recently--that is, the ones we've heard of. Are they merely the tip of the iceberg?

Read it, please. Speak out where you can. Work to change the laws, if you can, by writing your elected representatives. If you don't know who they are or how to contact them, your state's Secretary of State or League of Women Voters will be happy to help you find that information.
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Chalice Well Pool II

Hope for Fibromyalgia sufferers?

Low-Dose Naltrexone reduces the symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Naltrexone is also called Revia by its manufacturer, DuPont Pharma.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: A pilot study.
Pain Medicine (2009)
Jarred W. Younger and Sean C. Mackey

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If you are in California, you may qualify to participate in a different Fibromyalgia study. Go to this page

This page offers information on current research studies by Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab

PS A friend informed me:
You might want to let the you readers know that they might want to check out Nimodipine--it reportedly helps with the brain fog of CFIDS.
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