Sticking With CPAP
I’m 1 of the moderators on SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net. Often, I come across quite a few comments from individuals saying they gave up on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. This becomes a tricky subject for me because I gave up on CPAP therapy when I first started.
My sleep apnea diagnosis came when I was 17. This diagnosis is on top of the spinal muscular atrophy diagnosis that I was born with. Living with spinal muscular atrophy was already a challenge. Adding another diagnosis at that age wasn’t something I really wanted to deal with.
Delaying CPAP usage has been a huge regret of mine. The regret stems from the fact that I wasn’t operating at my best. Sleep apnea caused a lot of issues for me when I wasn’t using CPAP. I would imagine the same holds true for those of you who also gave up on CPAP. I’m here to tell you why I recommitted to CPAP therapy and have stuck with it for over 20 years.
The number 1 reason is my overall health. Sleep is 1 of those funny things that most people don’t consciously associate with good health.
This statement recently caught my attention:
When you don't get enough sleep, your brain begins to feed on its own neurons.
I don’t know about you but when I hear statements like that it gives me the motivation to use my CPAP religiously. After experiencing years of daytime drowsiness and not being able to fully concentrate I knew it was time to take my sleep apnea diagnosis seriously.
CPAP therapy takes time
There are learning curves when it comes to anything in life. Think about everything that you excel at in your own life. Now try to remember back to the beginning. Maybe it’s a job, driving a car, playing a sport, or an exercise regime. No one starts out being the best at something right off the bat. It takes time and practice. The same can be said for CPAP therapy.
Making a mental committment
When starting anything new we need to mentally prepare. If you are like me and were resistant to CPAP from the get-go, then most likely you will fail. That philosophy translates to all aspects of our lives.
Making healthy choices isn’t always easy. However for me once I mentally committed to using CPAP it became easier. It’s just like exercising on a daily basis or choosing to eat healthier. The hardest part is always starting.
Don't give up
Becoming comfortable with CPAP is a different timeline for each of us. For some of us, it can happen easily and others struggle for months. CPAP has been a part of my nightly routine for well over 20 years. I can’t remember exactly how long it took me but it was about 3 months before it became comfortable.
There were a lot of restless nights in the beginning; however, every night I kept putting it on. Eventually, that worked for me. Don’t give up!
Did you struggle to stick with your CPAP therapy too? Please share a comment below.
Do you feel stigmatized by sleep apnea?