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Exercise ... Do more, do less, do nothing? What worked for you?

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xyz

i love my exercise.

two years ago, i used to have panic attack every morning until my DBT therapist told me to start jogging.

this is what our ancestor used to do. they used to run in face of fear.

so i ran and ran . slowly at first and then i added millage. now i run every morning while my family is still asleep.

the day when i don't run, my anxiety lasts a long longer in the morning.

it also gives me confidence that i can endure physical discomfort.

so when i feel a sense of panic attack, i just tell myself "no big deal, it is just time for a run" - after 15minutes of running, my heart palpitation fades away.

i am also tapering valium with the lexapro and i notice that when i don't run several days in a row. my body starts to ache. i think the daily dose of endorphin helps ease the muscle pain that come with the benzo taper.

i am trying to add lifting now, see how it will go.

 

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JackieDecides
3 hours ago, xyz said:

i love my exercise.

it's great you've found something that helps you!

 

I find it is really helping me to exercise but I wasn't able to do very much last summer while in active withdrawal. I wish I had tried yoga then but I pretty much just did walking, and not very strenuously. 

 

now I am up to 15 minutes a day of cardio and hope to increase: for about 2 weeks I had to make myself do it but now I am starting to enjoy doing it.

 

I plan to try very hard not to stop, again, as I have started and stopped many times before.🙄

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Orangeblossom77

I'm finding swimming helpful with the wound up feeling, it can be relaxing, also walking as well. It will be easier in the Spring perhaps when the flowers are out, and the dark days are passing. 

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Happy2Heal

my therapist pushes aerobic exercise but I've tried it and it brings on a very sleepless night for me (and I only did a tiny bit of aerobic exercise, EARLY in the day!)


I tried again today (it's been a few months since my last attempt)
It will be interesting to see if it affects my sleep again.

 

everyone is unique, I think we need to figure out what works for us by trial and error.

I know for most of WD/recovery, I've felt best with a gentle daily walk, and since I don't drive, I can usually get that in most days lol

 

I keep reading about how good exercise is for brain health so it frustrates me that working out messes up my sleep. 😕

 

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MRothbard

I'd like to hear how your sleep goes, Happy. I've reinstated some excercise at this point but I'm careful to not overdo it. If I do my anxiety goes up and sleep is very difficult.

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Happy2Heal
14 hours ago, MRothbard said:

I'd like to hear how your sleep goes, Happy. I've reinstated some excercise at this point but I'm careful to not overdo it. If I do my anxiety goes up and sleep is very difficult.

 

ok here's my report after doing several short intervals of aerobic exercise early in the day yesterday:

Unfortunately, because of the past experience with exercise and insomnia, I went to bed with anxiety over what might happen, so I had a hard time falling asleep! this is a problem I haven't had much- For most of the past oh, 18mos  or more? I have had no trouble falling asleep- it's staying asleep that's been the issue. I can almost always fall asleep and sleep deeply for at least 90 mins, sometimes more, every night. After that, I wake up several times and have varying amnts of difficulty getting back to sleep. Overall, I get what I feel is enough sleep and don't generally feel tired during the day. 
So, I did eventually fall asleep but it took a couple of hours. Once asleep, the rest of my night was pretty typical.

Overall, I don't think the exercise was a major factor, I really think it was more my anxiety over how it *might* affect my sleep.

This is the main problem I have with tracking things like diet, exercise and sleep- if I am thinking about them and how things might go, I am more apt to get anxious about results.

But if I'm totally oblivious to how these factors affect how I feel, etc, I am not going to know what's helping and what isn't. Again, at least for me,  it seems to be a delicate balancing act.

I am finding this to be the case in many areas of my life.  :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JackieDecides
On 1/12/2019 at 6:06 AM, Happy2Heal said:

Overall, I don't think the exercise was a major factor, I really think it was more my anxiety over how it *might* affect my sleep.

 

I know exactly what you mean!  I had pretty bad insomnia awhile ago (I think this was my "10 month wave" or at least part of it) and was helped a lot by reading Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep.  but that is exactly what happens to me, I go to sleep just fine but when I wake up I sometimes can't get back to sleep and then I start worrying about that. I'm not back to what's passing for normal yet, which I think of as 8 to 8 1/2 hours like I used to sleep, but only get about 6 hours maximum. it's so much better though, I'm not complaining.

 

anyway, I understand how it is and I hope 

On 1/12/2019 at 6:06 AM, Happy2Heal said:

This is the main problem I have with tracking things like diet, exercise and sleep- if I am thinking about them and how things might go, I am more apt to get anxious about results.

But if I'm totally oblivious to how these factors affect how I feel, etc, I am not going to know what's helping and what isn't

 

 life is complicated and too hard! 😊

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Happy2Heal
46 minutes ago, JackieDecides said:

I know exactly what you mean!  I had pretty bad insomnia awhile ago (I think this was my "10 month wave" or at least part of it) and was helped a lot by reading Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep.  but that is exactly what happens to me, I go to sleep just fine but when I wake up I sometimes can't get back to sleep and then I start worrying about that. I'm not back to what's passing for normal yet, which I think of as 8 to 8 1/2 hours like I used to sleep, but only get about 6 hours maximum. it's so much better though, I'm not complaining.

 

thanks for the recommendation, I'll see if I can get that book at the library. I understand it's a workbook format so they may not carry it, but after buying several books on insomnia, and getting very little help from most of them, I'm not eager to spend more money unless I know what's really in the book, lol

I really think I have ptsd from that full year (plus)of terrible insomnia, it wasn't really the not sleeping so much as the panic/terror/anxiety that I had during those hours I was awake. it's a long day when you only sleep for 90 mins from say 11 pm to 12:30 am and then spend the rest of the night in utter terror, listening to the same relaxation tapes over and over and over again. 

but I got thru it. now to deal with the lingering after effects, I guess.

I move the furniture around in my bedroom and will try sleeping in different places and that helps. Fewer memory triggers, you know? I think I would probably sleep fantastically in a new environment, but I can't afford an airBnB or hotel room and it's an odd request to make of friends or even family. "Can I sleep over tonight?" actually, 2 years ago almost to the day, I DID make that request of several friends and one family member, I was in such a dark n desperate place. One super kind young couple not only agreed, they drove all the way to my place to get me (they live about 30-45 mins away depending on traffic) I'll never forget that and what it meant to me. I did sleep a bit better there, too. 

 

54 minutes ago, JackieDecides said:

life is complicated and too hard! 😊

I know, right? hahaha some days it sure seems it.

Problem right now is with the cold weather and not being able to get out as much as I'd like, I'm bored and having trouble finding things to occupy my mind and fill my time when I'm home. One can only spend some much time on line or even reading. I used to sew but that doesn't interest me much any more.

I need to find new hobbies!

 

 

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Happy2Heal
On 1/11/2019 at 6:39 PM, MRothbard said:

I'd like to hear how your sleep goes, Happy. I've reinstated some excercise at this point but I'm careful to not overdo it. If I do my anxiety goes up and sleep is very difficult.

 

 

well here's how it's gone so far- aerobic exercise, even if very brief (I'm talking under 5 mins!!) and done early in the day (before 1pm) seems to affect my ability to get sleep.

And I'm over 14 mos "post zero" ADs

weird!
I was in a great mood yesterday and last night, went to bed without any anxiety or dread about not being able to sleep but I was wide awake til around 3:30 am.

The good news is, I didn't mind. and even better, I seem to have slept deeply once I fell asleep and didn't wake up til about 7:15 or so.

I don't feel at all sleep deprived.

 

the interesting thing is that my mood is definitely brighter than on days when I don't do much of anything physical, so I think I am going to continue to experiment with short bursts of aerobic exercise on good days and see how it goes.

Right now it would only be a problem if I couldn't sleep and really *needed* the sleep, or if say, it ramped up anxiety (which it did not)

 

 

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MRothbard

Thanks.

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hennie86

After SSRI withdrawal, polypharmacy and benzos (still tapering) I have not been able to exercise a lot. I used to be a person who went to gym, liked to run and I loved all kinds of exercise. I had more muscle mass (now its basically gone) Those exercise hobbies have not been an option after I got insomnia during Lexapro wd few years ago. Insomnia and akathisia have been critical points, where my exercise intolerance started, then came the  exhaustion, fatigue... Recovering problems from exercise.. I have had a list of many many symptoms and it has been a struggle and my condition has some similarities with chronic fatigue syndrome but luckily I am able to do some things, not just lay in bed. When I was at my worst, I was so weak, I felt like I could not get from bed and go for a walk. It was after finally my akathisia started to stabilize. I felt like my motor skills were lost, probably because of the meds I used, because of all withdrawals and med changes I went through when already damaged with meds. I had also trauma from akathisia and I had a time when I had to spent a lot of time of the day of pacing around because I could not sit still. When akathisia subsided, it was difficult to start moving again. All exercise seemed and sensations in my legs seemed to just make my inner restlessness worse and make paresthesia inside my legs worse. My CNS did not like from exercise.

 

In one point when I finally started to stabilize (sleep improved and akathisia was better) and had just one med left, that I am still tapering, I started to feel a little bit better. I tried to change my diet, and started to eat really healthy. It took some time when I felt like I had a little bit more energy. It was really important to avoid things I am sensitive to and eat enough. I had lost a lot of weight despite I did eat.

 

Then I started to make little walks. They became a habit. It was important for me to go outside regularly. I just walked just a little. I noticed it made a positive difference and it has been really important to me, all my time I have spent tapering off benzos. I am sure it has helped me to recover even though I am far from recovered.

 

I was so motivated in that point, I tried to increase exercise gradually. Unfortunately my body and CNS did not like about it. I managed to increase exercise to some point, but then I got to vicious cycle of crashes. The more I exercised, the more broken my sleep was and I did not recover from exercise. I started to wake up to adrenal surges and feeling like crap during nights. I tried to exercise more, lifting small weights and so on. I noticed I dont tolerate weight training or too hard aerobic training.  I noticed that if I kept exercise in some level, I was stable and my sleep is better. A little bit of walking is really good for my sleep, Basically my exercise is some walking and some yoga movements, little bit of riding a bike during summer. If I do more I can handle, I crash. My sleep deteriorates, I start to feel increasing symptoms, heart palpitations, I start to feel like I cant breath, I feel wired but tired and relaxing is difficult, I start to have paresthesias and muscle issues and stiffness and pain . Also inner restlessness gets worse. During worst waves I am not able to get out of bed for days because I have so bad fatigue.

 

I have been in physiotherapy, and basically I was not able to do the exercises that were meant to help with back pain. Now I am in different kind of physiotherapy where I make basically relaxation techniques, some really gentle exercise and little yoga exercises and it has been beneficial for me. I would not be able to go to any exercise classes that last for an hour or so.

 

I have many times tried to increase exercise  when I have better days and finally just thought the same thoughts. It is not worth it. I have activity tracker and I basically know how much of walking and exercises are too much.  I hope in some point I am able to do more exercise but time for it is not now. When I notice I have done too much walking and so on, I cut exercising a little bit for some days. Listening to the body is important.

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Gridley

I do better with very mild exercise, mostly walking outside.  A few days ago, against my better judgment, I did a bunch of pushups and was rewarded with a surge of anxiety.  We in WD operate under a different set of rules from everybody else.

 

I read somewhere that a bit of exercise of the large leg muscles is helpful for sleep, so I do some gentle squats.  It does seem to help a bit.

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Happy2Heal
1 hour ago, Gridley said:

I read somewhere that a bit of exercise of the large leg muscles is helpful for sleep, so I do some gentle squats.  It does seem to help a bit.

that's interesting, I'll keep that in mind.

 

do you do these later in the day, near bedtime?
I have found that too much activity of any kind too close to bedtime can keep me awake. I need a relaxing routine at night.

at least now, in the summer it seems to be different, but I get out more and am usually more physically tired anyway.

In the winter I'm stuck indoors a lot and just don't do enough to tire myself out physically.

 

 

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Gridley
12 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

that's interesting, I'll keep that in mind.


do you do these later in the day, near bedtime?
 

 

I do them about 5 pm, no later.

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Happy2Heal

well there's no doubt about it, anytime I do more than a few minutes of cardio type exercise, I have trouble falling asleep the same night

 

otherwise I feel better overall, so I don't understand why it's affecting my sleep pattern

 

normally I am barely able to stay awake much past 10 or 11 (I plan to be in bed by 11 at the latest)

but I did 5 mins of walking on a treadmill at 3.5 mph with a fairly steep incline

yes that's it! 5 mins!!!

and  I was wide awake til well after 3:30

 

pffffffffffft

It was around 10 am when I did the treadmill.

Maybe if I am able to push that to an earlier time, it won't keep me awake.......I don't know

 

walking on a treadmill or doing anything vigorous first thing in the morning doesn't appeal to me, at least not in the winter, hahaha

 

anyone else have this issue with exercise and sleep?

 

one good thing is that I believe I slept pretty well for those hours from 3:30ish til just before 7 am

I don't recall waking up at all, and normally I wake about every 2 hrs (usually need to use the bathroom)

 

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freespirit

Yes, I had this issue as well. There were 2 things that made a difference to be able to exercise and still sleep at night. One is starting very slowly ie. you might want to ditch the incline and even lower the speed. Secondly, I realized that for every increase in something stimulating whether it was exercise, starting a new job, watching tv or movies...I needed to add even more in the way of relaxation into my day. It could be sitting or walking meditation, resting a couple of times during the day, taking a magnesium bath, etc. Once things were balanced, I could gradually increase exercise and usually, add a bit more relaxation in. I found it was best to do the calming practices throughout the day...and not just wait til evening. It made me look at all the things that could potentially be stimulating to a compromised nervous system and I eliminated or cut back on ones that did not bring much reward (ie spending time with people I found difficult to be with or mindless TV). Hope that helps.

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JackieDecides
12 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

one good thing is that I believe I slept pretty well for those hours from 3:30ish til just before 7 am

I don't recall waking up at all, and normally I wake about every 2 hrs

 

well, that's encouraging, anyway. I hope some of the suggestions freespirit gave you help, because I think exercise is so necessary. 

 

start much slower! no incline. 3 minutes?  good luck!

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Kronos18

Is it normal to experience intense withdrawal while exercising?for example after i run headaches are intense, derealization is intense, also vertigo

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On 7/28/2011 at 8:06 PM, Altostrata said:

Just wanted to note about exercise:

 

Exercise can increase the release of cortisol, the stress and alerting hormone. Exertion may well make you feel lousy.

 

Walking is the form of exercise that least causes increases in cortisol. But if you do it strenuously and in the evening, you may well wake yourself up with some alerting hormone.

 

So don't overdo it, especially in the evening.

Okay, that answers my question ! My anxiety has been lots worse lately.

I have been back swimming about 1/3 mile in laps twice a week. 

Also doubled my b vitamins last week. Just in case, thought I would check the exercise.

(Also read the b vitamin discussion) Stopped b’s until further notice to see.

Hope it has been the b vitamins. 

Sure feels great to get out in the sunshine and swim again!🏊‍♀️

Thanks, Altostrata. Hope you’re doing well.

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rafatennis

Hello group, I wanted to get some general feedback on activity levels during tapering. I did a 7% drop on my clonazepam on March 4th, I typically lift weights 3-4 times per week but recognized after a week it was causing some unpleasant symptoms so I stopped and went to walking which went ok for about 3-4 weeks then symptoms worsened. When I say symptoms its been significant headaches, central nervous overactivity, pins and needles primarily in my back, higher anxiety, malaise and difficulty focusing or concentrating. I have walked a handful of times in the last 4 weeks usually with a negative reaction in my system. I am working at a home office but I'm working so is it best to just stay as inactive as possible until I balance out. Any suggestions? Thanks

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On 4/29/2019 at 1:09 PM, Tweet said:

Okay, that answers my question ! My anxiety has been lots worse lately.

I have been back swimming about 1/3 mile in laps twice a week. 

Also doubled my b vitamins last week. Just in case, thought I would check the exercise.

(Also read the b vitamin discussion) Stopped b’s until further notice to see.

Hope it has been the b vitamins. 

Sure feels great to get out in the sunshine and swim again!🏊‍♀️

Thanks, Altostrata. Hope you’re doing well.

Okay, here is my report after another week of exercise. The pluses outweigh the minuses. I am swimming laps for 45 min. Twice a week. Other days mild walking, stretching. The initial anxiety has subsided. I will continue to swim and walk. I just feel so much better after that good cardio workout!

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eboyd

Exercise is a huge part of my life.  Not only do I enjoy it, it is my job and it is one I am very passionate about.  I am finally able to tolerate lifting again and higher intensity workouts as long as I am not in a wave.  I can tell immediately if I am overloading my CNS.    If I am in a wave, the most I do is Yin type yoga in the sauna to relax, work on my mobility, and to hopefully drop down deeper into a parasympathetic state after the sauna.  When the waves are bad I use vibration technology to help muscle stiffness and pain that comes with the waves and just rest.  I do listen to my body, but I also challenge it when I am feeling well enough to do so.  If I were not as physically and mentally strong as I was at the beginning I would never have made it through this far.  Now I realize a wave is going to hit regardless of what I do so I just enjoy the windows until they are gone.  My last window lasted 2 weeks and I was able to workout the entire time.

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12 hours ago, eboyd said:

Exercise is a huge part of my life.  Not only do I enjoy it, it is my job and it is one I am very passionate about.  I am finally able to tolerate lifting again and higher intensity workouts as long as I am not in a wave.  I can tell immediately if I am overloading my CNS.    If I am in a wave, the most I do is Yin type yoga in the sauna to relax, work on my mobility, and to hopefully drop down deeper into a parasympathetic state after the sauna.  When the waves are bad I use vibration technology to help muscle stiffness and pain that comes with the waves and just rest.  I do listen to my body, but I also challenge it when I am feeling well enough to do so.  If I were not as physically and mentally strong as I was at the beginning I would never have made it through this far.  Now I realize a wave is going to hit regardless of what I do so I just enjoy the windows until they are gone.  My last window lasted 2 weeks and I was able to workout the entire time.

Good for you, keeping up with the exercise. It is one small area where we can have some control over things and feel somewhat empowered, even if we do have to work around those waves. I think it helps my mind to clear, as well. Sometimes I actually cry in my goggles as I swim, but most often I feel SO much better after getting that heart rate up. 

That sauna idea has got me thinking now.....🙂

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Just FYI still swimming vigorous laps 2 times a week.

Yes, the anxiety is a bit worse but hard to tell whether it is the swimming or just the lovely paws symptoms.

And the extra b vitamins WERE irritating the anxiety. 

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ChessieCat
7 hours ago, Tweet said:

That sauna idea has got me thinking now.

 

SA's discussion:  sauna

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Asi1309

Can someone who went cold Turkey give me some rough estimate on when would my body will be able to tolerate physical activity?

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Hi. I went cold turkey starting May-June 2018. My only drug was Prozac.

I have continued walking and calisthenics throughout my withdrawal. In about March I  began vigorous lap swimming twice weekly. 20 laps per session. Felt so good!

It ramped up the anxiety for the next 6 weeks, but overall I knew it was helping me so I did not give in.

Now, here in July it is a big stress-reliever and mood elevator, so there is no stopping now. I feel like it is part of why I am improving at a more rapid pace.

I do it in the morning partially because mornings are still hell  and it gets me out of that.

Looks like you have been through alot of your own hell already but never forget it can be done. 

I have been trying more group type exercise, too, so I can feel normal for awhile yet still duck out of I am having a hard time.

(Haven't ducked out yet but it's nice to know that I can!😉)

Start slow and don't overdo.

You are coming off meds I have no experience with.

Big waves to you and I pray for the peace of Israel.

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Also, Noah Elkrief videos on YouTube helped me and still help me with anxiety and panic attacks.

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eboyd

It took months before I could even start exercising again.  I love to lift, but even a light barbell was overloading my CNS.  You really have to listen to your body.  You might only be able to tolerate Yin yoga right now which is okay because you are doing something good for your body and you are focusing on breathing and staying calm and relaxed.  Even light aerobic activity periodically throughout the day will be beneficial.  It really takes time and a lot of patience.  Support is also great because sometimes it feels hopeless, but it isn't.  

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Asi1309
2 hours ago, Tweet said:

Hi. I went cold turkey starting May-June 2018. My only drug was Prozac.

I have continued walking and calisthenics throughout my withdrawal. In about March I  began vigorous lap swimming twice weekly. 20 laps per session. Felt so good!

It ramped up the anxiety for the next 6 weeks, but overall I knew it was helping me so I did not give in.

Now, here in July it is a big stress-reliever and mood elevator, so there is no stopping now. I feel like it is part of why I am improving at a more rapid pace.

I do it in the morning partially because mornings are still hell  and it gets me out of that.

Looks like you have been through alot of your own hell already but never forget it can be done. 

I have been trying more group type exercise, too, so I can feel normal for awhile yet still duck out of I am having a hard time.

(Haven't ducked out yet but it's nice to know that I can!😉)

Start slow and don't overdo.

You are coming off meds I have no experience with.

Big waves to you and I pray for the peace of Israel.

Thank you,  but it really frustrating because my body wants me to exercise so bad by my cns is so fragile and delicate I just want to go all in and just go for a long run, it feels like I'm on a brink of a heart attack from been inactive, but it's just ruin my ability to sleep even doing minor physical stuff...

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Asi1309
2 hours ago, eboyd said:

It took months before I could even start exercising again.  I love to lift, but even a light barbell was overloading my CNS.  You really have to listen to your body.  You might only be able to tolerate Yin yoga right now which is okay because you are doing something good for your body and you are focusing on breathing and staying calm and relaxed.  Even light aerobic activity periodically throughout the day will be beneficial.  It really takes time and a lot of patience.  Support is also great because sometimes it feels hopeless, but it isn't.  

Did you find it hard to sleep from being inactive, it's really scary as It feels I'm gonna die been inactive like that.

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eboyd

I had insomnia no matter what I did.  Sometimes I would overdo my workout and that would cause insomnia too.  These days, insomnia is rare.  So that is nice.

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