“I didn’t realize how much I was suffering”: how insomnia impacted my life

Daisy Maskell is a renowned radio host for the British radio station Kiss FM.

Daisy Maskell is a renowned radio host for the British radio station Kiss FM.

Daisy Maskell, DJ of the British radio station Kiss FM, has faced his silent night world since childhood. Insomnia kept her awake during the hours when others were asleep.

In a new BBC Three documentary, “Daisy Maskell: Me and Insomnia,” Daisy takes a deeper look at that sleep disorder that has plagued her since she was 9 years old and how she made a surprise recovery.

“He said that insomnia was an advantage in my work”

The term insomnia was Googled in 2020 more than ever before, according to one study, while another indicated that the number of insomniacs in the UK increased from one in six to one in four during the pandemic. As Daisy says: “This documentary is very timely.”

The increase in people talking about insomnia was a reason for Daisy to start thinking more about her own problem, and led to the production of the film.

“I have suffered for so long… it has definitely changed during my teenage years,” she says.

“I used to have a hard time staying asleep, so I woke up very early, and when I reached my teens I had more trouble trying to sleep. When i was at school, I couldn’t sleep during the week, but fell exhausted on the weekend“.

“When you enter adulthood and take on more responsibilities, you no longer have that space. I was walking with an empty tank without being able to recover the lost sleep because I had other commitments ”.

Sometimes the exhaustion of not being able to sleep led Daisy to cancel plans, increasing her sense of isolation.

Daisy Maskell, DJ of the British radio station Kiss FM
“I always had more trouble with mental effects and mental health side effects,” says Daisy.

“You can experience very physical effects of insomnia, but I always had more problems with the mental effects and the side effects on my mental health,” he says. “That made me not want to see anyone and cancel plans”

As a morning show host, it could be a funny situation or maybe a perfect one, it depends on how you look at it, and Daisy says that the nature of his job caused him not to pay much attention to his condition in the past.

“I took over the morning show at the beginning of 2019. We gave press conferences and interviews around the position I took on, and now I’m embarrassed in hindsight because I used my insomnia and the fact that I couldn’t sleep as an advantage to take over the reins. program, ”he remembers.

“I did not give it enough importance, I did not recognize the ways in which I was suffering. Definitely used it to my advantage. The kind of job he had entered meant surviving on minimal sleep. “

“You can’t excuse yourself for illness when you’ve had a bad night”

A woman in bed with insomnia
Insomniacs suffer in a silent night world.
Getty Images

Another reason she downplayed her insomnia, she says, was because of the narrative and stereotypes surrounding the condition.

“One of my great hopes with this film is to raise awareness of the stigma that surrounds sleep disorders,” says Daisy.

“Insomnia is generally associated with a lifestyle factor, so o you’re staying up late at parties, spending a lot of time on social media, or playing games (in the computer) -that’s something I’ve definitely experienced, people blaming me and my lifestyle. Not only does that not validate my problems, but it also prevents me from finding help. I have not wanted to go to a doctor or therapist for fear that they will reach the same conclusion ”.

“Every time you Google sleep problems you get a number of sleep tips that can range from lighting a candle to sprinkling the pillow, and that’s fine, it can create a relaxed atmosphere, but that wasn’t helping me and when I prescribed it was more frustrating than anything else. “

Although Daisy claims her boss was “great” the time her sheets got stuck and she was late for the studio, other jobs may be less understanding.

“You can’t call your boss and say ‘I can’t come in today because I had a bad night sleeping,’” he says. “The factors associated with that are lazinesslike when teenagers don’t get up. It’s horrible, you feel like you can’t communicate with anyone even if you’re suffering ”.

In the documentary, Daisy hangs out with other insomniacs who have gone through the same misunderstanding that frightens her. Ruan, a student who shared with his tutor how insomnia affected his work at the university, describes – somewhat incredulously – the tutor’s suggestion to drink some whiskey.

“Childhood trauma continues into adulthood”

A sad boy hears an argument from his parents in the background
Sleep problems can be rooted in childhood trauma.
Getty Images

During the filming of the documentary, Daisy realized that her insomnia was ingrained in other parts of your psyche.

“I always felt as if my insomnia was the product of something else, or that it was a trauma that presented itself with the inability to sleep, but I filed it away in the corner of my mind,” says Daisy.

The trauma you mention was the divorce of his parents, which occurred around the time she developed insomnia. On the show, he visits a psychiatrist, and his suspicion is finally confirmed.

Although not everyone who suffers from insomnia has had serious mental problems, Daisy – a chronic victim – says:

“It vindicated me and gave me a renewed air that a professional doctor thought in the same way as me. Also, the diagnosis of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) shocked me. You don’t realize that you carry the same brain all your life, and the things that affect you in your childhood continue into adulthood if left untreated. “

There are other factors that also come into play. Daisy reveals her problems with an eating disorder, and an MRI indicates that when her brain is at rest is 30% more active than the average person, which means they have a harder time relaxing.

For the first time, she was able to analyze her insomnia within the full context of her physical and mental health, and it was that, while also finding solidarity from other insomniacs, that has helped her sleep since completing the documentary.

“We were looking at it as a theme of what came first: the chicken or the egg? linked to mental health, ”he says. “Everyone has a different trigger that can affect their sleep.”

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