I had SA probably all of my life and didn't know because I did not have symptoms that were recognizable to me, so I got therapy late. Others seem to key in on how they feel after therapy, but I never felt bad so I never expected to feel better. There is some of that for me, but you can't fix what's not broken, so I mostly ignore that.
Once in therapy I researched and understood the amazing long list of surprising sinister effects of SA and the equally long and surprising list of essential cures for almost all of them, simply from undergoing xPAP therapy.
Most were unexpected. I just had no idea. But the most surprising positive effect is what finally having restorative sleep has done. I spent decades being continually strangled all night long and never realized it, so I never really got sleep of any quality for most of my life. I didn't feel bad, i was not sleepy nor tired, I did not have insomnia or waking issues, so for me whatever I was experiencing seemed normal.
But among the other terrible things SA can do to you, having SA for me was the equivalent of being given a "stupid pill" every night before bed. I was getting the rest, but I was not getting quality sleep.
Quality sleep allows you to clear the cobwebs. It allows you to index and categorize new information from the previous day. It makes actual new synaptic connections, building pathways that allow you to learn from what happened that day. It allows you to move short-term memory to long-term memory, and to make cognitive associations that you are unable to make when awake. It reinforces what you have experienced that day and associates it with what you already know.
There is a lot of heavy mental construction going on when you get quality sleep. If the sleep is interrupted every minute by trying to survive being strangled, the quality of the sleep is lowered significantly and all of those processes are impaired.
So now, with a low AHI, I seem to have an unexpected new level of awareness that has been like having a veil removed from my eyes. I see things with much more clarity. I understand my own motivations much better, and even the motivations of others. I feel much more clear-headed and almost even smarter, like as if now instead of the "stupid pill" at bedtime, I get a "smart pill" when I wake up.
I can't understate the significance of this. It is like I am a different person, a better person. I feel like my mental processes are finally being allowed to flourish. I make better choices and decisions; I understand things better. It has literally changed my life, and is probably one of the most significant things to ever happen to me.
If you saw Bradley Cooper in the movie Limitless, that is sort of how I feel. Certainly not as dramatic a change and not a superhuman change (and I unfortunately look nothing like him) but a significant change none the less.
I could go on and on about this, maybe I already have, and there are also things being revealed to me in this new state of mind that are not all positive so it is not all roses and some of this is difficult, but I will spare you the details of both sides of this coin, except to say that it has not really changed my mood or level of happiness or contentment, which was mostly OK to start with. It is a bit of a double-edged sword that I am dealing with.
But I am different now, hopefully better in most ways, because of xPAP therapy. And I am actually seeing a therapist to examine what is going on here and to find the best way to take advantage of it and deal with it, so I could not be more serious about what I am experiencing.
Which leads me to my question, which is has this sort of change been apparent to you in your life as well due to xPAP therapy?