Dr Irshaad Ebrahim
22nd April 2021
I have suffered from the illness of chronic insomnia for over 40 years. All my life, doctors and therapists have dismissed my insomnia as a ‘modern day scourge’ or something related to trauma, or lifestyle. Or even worse, just a woman who is depressed.
Whilst I have experienced all of the above, none of these are the reason why I cannot sleep. All these years coping with over-the-counter drugs to no avail. Anti-depressants to no avail. Lifestyle changes, yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioural therapy over and over again.
Finally, at the end of my tether, I was able to consult a wonderful private GP Dr Dunne, who referred me to the London Sleep Centre at Harley street.
My initial introduction was a questionnaire and a complete review of my history with Petra, a therapist. This was mentally challenging as I had done it so many times before. This was nothing new, but a much more empathetic and understanding ear. She was lovely.
Whilst having the therapy, I was under the care of Professor Williams. I told him that after many years of seeing doctors I was looking for something new. I needed him to understand how soul-destroying my insomnia was after years of suffering. I was at my end and needed more research into my problem. I broke down as for the first time in 40 years a healthcare professional fully understood my problem. This was a euphoric moment in my life.
I had several assessments with overnight tests and wrist monitors for several days.
Professor Williams recognised my insomnia as chronic and prescribed a combination of Trazadone, Melatonin and Zolpidem. Previously I had only ever had Zolpidem sleeping tablets. The new combination changed my life. From that day forward I was sleeping for several hours a night undisturbed for the first time in decades.
Dr Ebrahim took over my care about 18 months ago. He recognised that under the new medication I was a changed woman. After lengthy discussions, and further tests, he explained that long-term medication was probably the best solution for my form of insomnia. Whilst not ideal, and I dream of one day sleeping naturally, which is the greatest gift nature has bestowed on us, I have to accept, just as if I had diabetes, I will take the medication. Until there is a miracle cure for my form of insomnia, I want to say that I gain great peace knowing that I have the long-term support and understanding of Dr Ebrahim and my new therapist Heather Darwall-Smith.
There needs to be greater recognition and understanding that insomnia, for some people, is a long-term illness and does not just affect the person, but their entire family. The knock-on impact on my family, who have previously seen me suffer for years on end, has been incredible. I now live a life that is full and active.
So, if you are suffering - please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Ebrahim and his team. You will find the help you need.
Thank you. Dr Ebrahim for being there for me and your continuing support.
X Julie Fishwick