RIFA is a Year 12 student based in London. Here, she talks about the struggles of insomnia, how it impacts her mental health, and the importance of asking for help.

Insomnia is when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even when you want to. It can make you feel tired during the day, affect your mood, and make it hard to focus on things. It’s a sleep problem that messes up your energy. It feels like an unending night, a restless cycle from which you can’t break free. You are always stuck in a loop, where time stretches out and sleep slips away; the hours drag on, and the minutes seem to go nowhere. 

Your bed, once a place of comfort, becomes your grave in hell where you toss and turn, searching for that elusive rest. The nights blur into each other, like watercolors bleeding into a melancholic masterpiece; the first light of morning peeks through the curtains, bringing a mix of tiredness and frustration. 

Desperation clings to you like a layer of filth, a constant reminder of insomnia’s foul presence. The nights become a theater of despair, a grimy struggle for something that always remains just out of reach. It’s not a poetic dance with the night; it’s a repulsive crawl through the muck of sleeplessness, leaving you feeling drained and tainted. It’s hard to explain the feeling of being caught in this cycle. It’s like trying to grasp something just out of reach, always slipping through your fingers. You watch the clock tick by, knowing that sleep should come, but it stays just beyond your grasp. Even though the world wakes up, you’re still trapped in wakefulness, moving through the day in a haze of exhaustion, stranded in a fog of fatigue. It is a struggle to stay focused, to find energy, when sleep feels like a distant dream.

However, insomnia isn’t just a solitary concern; it’s a thread that connects with various aspects of my well-being, creating a complex web of challenges that I’ve come to understand intimately. Among these threads is anxiety, a powerful force that shapes my nights and days in profound ways. Anxiety and insomnia, I’ve realized, have formed an alliance. They fuel each other’s fire. Sleeplessness intensifies the relentless chatter of anxious thoughts, while anxiety’s grip makes it almost impossible to find the serenity needed to slip into sleep’s embrace. 

Anxiety is a storm that brews within, churning up a whirlwind of worries and fears, the voice that never stops whispering doubts and uncertainties, even when the world is quiet. When insomnia joins forces with anxiety, the two amplify each other, creating a perfect storm of restlessness. Fueled by sleeplessness, anxiety gains strength as the night wears on. The more I struggle to sleep, the more anxious I become, creating a cruel loop that feeds on itself. The night is an arena where anxiety and insomnia wage a relentless war for dominance.

Amid this ongoing battle, I’ve come to realize that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but an act of strength. Just as anxiety and insomnia form a formidable alliance, there is also strength in seeking support and understanding from those around me. Talking about my struggles has allowed me to connect with others who share similar experiences, remind me that I’m not alone in this fight, and know that I can reach out for help, whether it’s through therapy, lifestyle changes, or other strategies to improve my sleep and manage anxiety. 

Talking about my struggles has allowed me to 
connect with others who share similar experiences, 
remind me that I’m not alone in this fight, 
and know that I can reach out for help, 
whether it’s through therapy, lifestyle changes, 
or other strategies to improve my sleep and manage anxiety. 

While the nights might still feel long and arduous, and the grip of anxiety might persist, there is a path forward – a journey toward better sleep, improved mental well-being, and a brighter outlook. It’s a journey I’m committed to undertaking, step by step, night by night, as I work to break free from the cycle and reclaim restful nights and peaceful days.



Rifa is a Year 12 student from London, who is passionate about creating space for young people to talk about their mental health. Her goals are to smash the stigma around mental challenges so they get the attention they deserve, and prov... Read More