I’ve been lurking around for a bit, but finally posting because I’m tired of struggling with my sleep. I have lifetime, chronic insomnia, but I think I finally have a medication regimen that helps me get through the night. But I’m still waking up exhausted. My wife says I’ve been exhibiting the signs of sleep apnea–gasping and what not–and I’m pretty sure she’s right. Here’s the problem: I was tested for apnea about five years ago and was told I was on the border and prescribed a CPAP. I used it for a week. It had a paradoxical effect. I would nod off to sleep but wake up gasping, feeling like I was drowning. Then came the nightmare: I started to have cluster headaches every night. For folks who don’t know, cluster headaches are commonly referred to as “suicide headaches” because they’re so painful–I’ve never in my life considered self harm, but if I’d had access to a knife I think I might have blinded myself to try to relieve the pain. I stopped using the CPAP and while they largely went away, I had developed a PTSD response to the idea of using a CPAP. If prescribed one, I will not use it.
But I have to treat my apnea because my wife and I want to have kids in the next couple of years, but I don’t want to bring a child into the world if I feel like I’ll be constantly too tired to be a good father (and I know all the attendant medical side effects if I don’t get this treated). I’m getting really desperate at this point, because I know I have to move beyond this period in my life. So: do any of you treat your sleep apnea without using a CPAP? Is it possible? If so, what’re my options? I’ve got an appointment with an ENT, but I’d really like to know my options going in. Thank you all so much!