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I'm very sorry for your loss. My condolences!

I've had issues with a restless mind wandering so much that I cannot sleep. It's... weird. (I've had insomnia-like problems for years. My pet didn't die... but a lot of issues concerning my family and how depressed I feel compared to them. I try not to take it personally but... y'know how it is...)

I can give you some advice and tips that I have tried; hopefully one of them might work.

I have used both Bigelow and Celestial Seasonings brand sleepytime/bedtime herbal tea. I believe the Celestial Seasonings brand has Valerian in it. Valerian subdues you into a state of drowsiness. This has worked but only if I try to sleep within 5 minutes of drinking the tea, and only if I drank the tea quickly instead of sipping slowly. It makes your urine smell pretty harsh the next day and Valerian isn't that good for your liver so I would not suggest making a cup of tea with 3 bags in it as I have tried to do to solve my sleep issues.
The other teas of the bedtime or sleepytime variety are herbal and soothing and relaxing. Try it because it might help - tea is like a hug in a cup.
There's also another Celestial Seasonings tea that I like called Tension Tamer. It. Is. AWESOME. It has Eleuthero in it and it makes my tensions, stress, worries just melt away! Like... have you ever had surgery and they gave you an anesthetic so that you wouldn't feel anything... and right after the medicine, you felt fuzzy and kinda goofy before you fell asleep to go under the knife? This tea makes you feel like that - funny and goofy and kinda fuzzy. But it doesn't make you sleepy like the sleepytime tea. I mention this tea because it make help you deal with some stress that's making you unable to sleep.
I can name a million other herbs now, to use as tea, but you probably don't have as simple access to them as you would just going to the grocery store and buying a box of Celestial Seasonings pre-mixed herbal teas.

Now I've also tried the milk and honey trick. I used agave syrup instead of honey because it tastes less overpowering and less sickening and it has a nice texture. Heat up a mug of milk and add about a tablespoon(ish) to your milk and mix to dissolve. Drink this and savor it like you'd enjoy hot cocoa on a rainy day. I usually read a book while sitting in bed so that when the drowsy hits, I can switch off the lamp, close my book, and sleep.

My father, a pharmacist, has told me to take tylenol before bed. I didn't believe him but it WORKED! (again, like the Valerian being hard on your liver, I wouldn't over do this because tylenol is also hard on your liver.) Apparently sometimes you can't go to sleep because your brain is still busy processing pain signals that keep your neurons firing. That was my dad's explanation anything. (I didn't believe him at first for a lot of things... 'til he turned out to be right. The only reason he's not a doctor is because the college was filling quotas and they wouldn't take his kind of people. He's smart enough to be a freakin' neuro surgeon, so I'd listen.) Unfortunately, you what this means - no more cutting if you're going to want to stop those pain signals from keeping your brain awake. I know it can release pain when you do it, but then your body puts all of that energy into healing it, etc. Best give your body a rest - you've been through quite a bit, it sounds like.

Sometimes these physical methods don't help so I have to try more mental methods for my wandering brain.

Most of the time I read books when my mind wanders. Books and books and books and books! Anything that you find interesting. And check out a dry boring book from those interests (at the library) so you can try to read it before bed. (You should be sitting in bed while reading.) Before you know it your eyelids will get heavy and you'll want to be cozier and cozier in those blankets...

Often I will try to watch an episode of Adventure Time or How I Met Your Mother or something funny! It helps to laugh, release those endorphins, and it picks up your heart a little bit. It doesn't solve everything, but it helps you feel like you're problems aren't so bad and that you can possibly work through them.
However, my doctor told me to avoid computer screens and TV screens and most electronics 1/2 an hour to 1 hour before bed. Apparently the light from the screen messes with the hormones that your brain releases to tell you when it's awake time and when it's night time/sleepy time.

Sometimes that doesn't even work, so I pop in a relaxation CD and it takes me through a narration or visualizing all of my body parts from the toes up, slowly little by little - it gets so boring that I'm asleep by the time we get to the knees. Some relaxation CDs tell you to visualize your breath. http://www.calm.com/ also has guided and unguided white-noise relaxation exercises.

You can do yoga breathing too, as the whistling noise is much like the roar of the ocean and it can lull you to sleep.

Better yet, I also suggest doing exercise during the day. Even if it's yoga/pilates, or just some weight lifting. Cardio may be the best. It will release those endorphines and it makes you tired enough for bed when bedtime rolls around. Just don't exercise for 1-2 hours before you need to sleep too.

Sometimes, when even that doesn't help, I go outside from a night time walk to breath the night air and you can hear all of the bugs and all of the sounds! I don't know where you live, but I live in zone 4 (I'm referring to plant growing climate regions here) and the creatures positively roar together in a symphony around 10pm. It's kinda hypnotic. It's like you can't even hear any other thoughts than the most basic thoughts of breathing, blinking, and "wow this is kinda cool."

If you're still having sleep issues, I may know of more tips - it all depends on the person and what sorta things they can handle/do. PM me if you need more ideas or if you just wanna talk about stuff to get it off your chest. (Often the getting it off my chest helps the most - that's why I started growing house plants. But many times, it's the someone telling me "Awww cabbage, don't get down on yourself. No one is perfect, but you're still awesome!" that gets me through the days so... I can understand the need to talk to someone.

Here are my tips on how to sleep through your wandering mind:
Tea, tea, tea - these teas that I list are like the closest thing to taking meds/substances, without actually doing drugs!
Warm milk & honey
Tylenol or advil before bed
Read a book
Watch a comedy/cartoon
Listen to a relaxation CD, song, or exercise
Do exercise, yoga if not meditation, if not CARDIO
Go for a walk, clear your thoughts; don't suppress - let yourself feel and move on to other thoughts (don't linger)
If you need more tips/someone to talk to PM me. Best of luck! You can make it through this tough time! I believe in you!
 Fading Fantasma's avatar

Dapper Werewolf

Consider volunteering at an animal shelter ?
Suicidal Dustbunny's avatar

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I'm very sorry for your loss!
It's always hard to lose something you loved, whether it be a pet rat, or any other pet.

People have given you some really good advice here, so there's not much else for me to say, but do try and move on. I don't mean just forget you ever had a rat, but maybe get a new pet, not as a replacement, but if a rat helped you before it might make you feel better to have one again... or even voulenteer at an animal shelter or pet store or something.

Remember to stay healthy, losing a pet is hard and it's hard to know what you're going through, but you must still live your life.

I wish you all the best. heart
Mightelove's avatar

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I'm sorry you lost something so dear to you. I don't have any advice, but I am truly sorry and I hope you start to feel better soon. Take care of yourself, please.
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Thank you all so much for your advice and support on this.

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