Diary of an online dating junkie teendating books

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She told me she'd been taking Ambien—and that it had changed her life. That night, for the first time in years, I fell asleep instantly, awash in the kind of deep, dreamy slumber I hadn't experienced since childhood. Convinced I'd discovered the Fountain of Sleep, I called my doctor that same day to ask for my own prescription.

The next time I saw her, she handed me one of her pills. He gave me 20 five-milligram doses, which I was to take for "occasional sleeplessness." For the first few weeks, I was especially cautious, breaking the pills in half and restricting my use to Sunday nights only. M., I couldn't stand it anymore—I would pop a pill, drifting off for an hour and a half until my alarm sounded.

One morning I wandered into the kitchen to make coffee and discovered a pot of soup over an open flame on the stove. Several times I had tried to quit by using sheer willpower: Usually by day three I gave in.

"F—k it," I would say aloud, twisting the cap off the bottle with force and tossing the pills into my mouth.

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During those endless stretches of time, I watched TV, called friends in California, whimpered, wept, beat my pillow, flipped through tabloids and surfed the Internet.

But before long it took more than my usual dose to ensure I was out cold, so I upped my "airplane Ambien" to nearly 20 milligrams, quadruple the amount I was supposed to be taking.

Once, I woke up to find a flight attendant bent over me, listening to my heart.

Nor did I say a word to the therapist I'd been seeing for more than a year. According to a February 2008 report by IMS Health, a pharmaceutical-industry research firm, pharmacists filled more than 54 million prescriptions for sleep drugs in 2007. In 2005 pharmaceutical companies netted more than .7 billion from prescription medications for insomnia—and with so many ads for sleeping pills routinely featured on television, those numbers continue to rise.

After all, there were so many more vital things to discuss: job pressures, difficulties I was having with friends, dating woes. A typical sleep-aid ad shows an attractive couple waking up in the morning, beatific smiles on their faces.

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