Pastor, I can’t sleep

March 25, 2020

Dear Pastor,

I am a 16-year-old girl who lives in St Mary and attends an institution there. I read your column whenever I can.

I would really like your advice on a particular problem that I am experiencing. I think that I have a sleeping disorder. I'll go to sleep between the normal hours of 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and wake up between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m..

However, at these wee hours, I realise that my brain is fresh and I am able to complete tasks and assignments without any complications. I don't think this is normal for someone my age.

Lately, I have noticed that this is getting more extreme. My brain is tired, but my eyes refuse to shut. Consequently, I don't even fall asleep until the next day and I am lackadaisical and not hungry for the rest of the day.

I think that this is caused by stress. With the onset of CXC, problems at home, and the outbreak of the coronavirus, I think that I am stressing subconsciously.

This is because these aren't issues that I discuss. I'd really value your opinion on what to do and I'd like to know if this situation is at all normal.


Dear L.M,

First of all, I want you to know that I appreciate your letter. You are an intelligent young woman. You expressed yourself very well in your letter.

I want you to understand that what you are experiencing is not abnormal in the life of an adolescent. What would be abnormal is if you were not experiencing a certain level of stress.

When athletes are preparing to compete in a race, they experience certain amount of stress. That is normal.

High school teenagers experience stress especially when they are facing certain examinations.

When they are preparing to go to college, they find life to be very stressful, especially if their parents are not in a position to pay their tuition, or if the colleges that they want to attend did not accept them.

Fatigue and tiredness

You have not been eating well. That is most likely due from stress. The matter of fatigue and tiredness are stress related.

Some teenagers, especially girls, find themselves not wanting to associate with other girls. If a teenager becomes irritable and he or she feels that nobody likes him or her, and crazy thoughts go through his or her mind, then it is time for that person to seek professional help.

I have said the above because I want you to realise that not all stress is bad. When a person is facing examinations as I said before, it is very normal to experience a certain amount of stress. Regardless how brilliant he or she is, there are some anxious moments.

Even certain pains that you may experience are caused by stress. That is why when exams are finished, students organise big parties to let off steam.

If you find yourself having constant headaches and other pains, you should consult a physician. I will be praying for you and I wish you well.


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