Like a great many sufferers of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), I didn’t realize I had a ‘syndrome’ at first. All I knew was, night after night, as soon as my head hit the pillow, my legs would start their need to stretch, and the fight was on.
My Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) began for me about eight years ago when I got out of rehab for alcohol abuse. I don’t remember having a problem with it while in rehab, but when I got home and started to restructure my life as a sober person, night time became a nightmare for me.
As soon as my head hit the pillow my legs would need to stretch. It was a real need. I think the only way that I can describe this need to a non – sufferer is to relate it, much like the need to use the bathroom. When you have to go, you have to go and you can hold it for only so long. Well, that is what my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) was doing to me, but it was going on all night long. My legs would need to stretch, so I would stretch and stretch as far as I possibly could, but it was never enough; kind of like an itch that is never relieved.
Though this problem happened to me mostly at night time, there were times during the day that I would have problems, and it was usually when I had to sit quiet and still for any length of time; which was usually when I was in church. I must have been squirming quite a bit because I started to notice that people would look at me, like maybe I was tweaking or something.
I was going nuts. I had to do something about it, but what? How do I get help for something that I didn’t know what it is? I wasn’t sleeping, I was up and down all night long and I couldn’t sit still for any length of time, making me constantly tired and very irritable.
To my credit I shared my problem at my next group meeting, and I’m glad I did because several of the people there knew exactly what I was talking about. During break one of the ladies came up to me and suggested that I might have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), and it would probably be a good idea if I talked to my doctor about it.
To make a long story short, though I had never heard of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), I saw my doctor a couple of days later, and he indeed verified Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). He also explained to me that this was a very common problem with people in various types of recovery, not just alcohol. He also explained to me that it was called a syndrome because that was when a group of symptoms come together and cause an ailment, and usually, once treated I shouldn’t have much of a problem with it.
Between the two of us, I think we came up with a really good treatment:
I took a yoga class just so I could learn some yoga stretches, and to learn how to truly relax.
I have a warm bath and cup of hot chocolate before bed (I don’t do warm milk)
I take 50 mg of 5 – HTP daily. He said this helps to build serotonin levels in the brain for well – being and relaxation.
It took about 3 weeks or so before I could feel much of an improvement, but when I did, it was like the difference between night and day.
I don’t have nearly the bouts of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) that I had in the beginning, and for that I am truly grateful.
I can actually sit now for a period of time and look as calm and relaxed as the .person next to me, and most nights I sleep all night through. I’m a whole new person. And when I hear of someone suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) my heart really goes out to them.