health

Hannah went to the doctor with insomnia. His 'solution' was both insulting and absurd.

It’s a pretty common stereotype that uni students don’t get much sleep. But after six months of suddenly struggling to get four hours a night, waking up constantly, and hours (so many hours) of lying in the dark trying to fall asleep, I decided to go and see my doctor.

I wasn’t necessarily looking for medication, I really just wanted some advice. Just something, either something I’m doing wrong, or something I can do to stop lying in bed for hours every single night.

I had no idea that I’d be leaving the doctor’s office, not just sans prescription, but questioning my life, my value, and basically my entire existence.

I explained my issues to the doctor; the hours of lying awake even when I’m physically exhausted, waking up at least once an hour, my smart watch regularly rating my sleep quality at below 15 per cent, feeling like a zombie most of the day.

I explained how I knew about sleep hygiene; only going to bed to sleep, not drinking caffeine after 3pm, not eating too late, limiting screen time after 9pm (well, trying… not really). He took it all in, nodding, and I really thought he’d have a good answer.

Then he dropped this…

“The reason you can’t sleep is that your life has no meaning.”

Excuse me?

“I can tell you’re spending hours thinking about how your life has no meaning. What you need to do is have a baby. That’s what’ll give your life some meaning. That’ll help you sleep.”

treatment for insomnia
Ummm... excuse me? (Image: Supplied)
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He actually repeated himself, to make sure I well and truly understood that my life is meaningless, but that a baby was, without a doubt, the cure to my insomnia.

If, as my doctor believes, I was having trouble coping with the lack of meaning in life before, it was a thousand times worse that night. I need a baby to give me life any meaning at at all? What about my grades? What about when I volunteer at a dog shelter?

Plus, I'm still at uni! I lost my phone and my laptop charger in the past week! I'm not ready for a baby! Plus, isn't pregnancy kind of uncomfortable? Don't babies wake up a lot during the night? How is having a baby going to cure my insomnia?

Listen: How to answer "When are you having babies?". Post continues below.

When I mentioned the whole thing to my colleagues, (half looking for some validation that my life did in fact have meaning) I was shocked to find that I was not alone in questionable doctor experiences.

Women who had their concerns laughed out of the office, guys who had their chronic pain dismissed as "all in their head", doctors who are so rushed they're not even interested in listening to your problems.

After this experience, I think it's definitely time to find a good doctor. I'm probably at a stage where managing my health should mean something more than seeing whichever doctor is available at the clinic closest to my house, or even whatever bulk billing doctor is nearest uni or work when I need an emergency prescription refill.

In the meantime, I'll be forgoing my "prescribed pregnancy", and starting the search for a doctor I can trust.

What's the strangest advice you've ever received from your GP? Let us know in the comments below...

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