Saturday, February 6, 2016
"The importance of a good night's rest" is an expression we have all heard. Very few people give it the dire and devastating level of attention it deserves. I'm not a doctor, but I feel pretty confident saying that humans could live longer without food than we could live without sleep.
I have a tendency to attract mentally fragile people (most of whom have been tricked into thinking that I am handling my mental illness well.) Nearly every time a person comes to me with a confession of considering self-harm it is after some time of either no, inadequate, or restless sleep. Even one night of bad sleep can cause a person with mental illness to begin an awful spiral. It might take more "stable" people longer than one night, but they get there as well.
For many, many (like, 40) years I refused to take sleeping aids. I have a real aversion to taking meds and the one that I tried knocked me out so well that there would be no way for a kid to rouse me and even if they did, I wouldn't be any help to them. But, alas, the crazy teaches lessons you might not want to learn.
Recently, I was having more periods of confusion and more thoughts of self-harm and just plain negativity than I could handle. My psych knows that the idea of taking pills is ick to me and is great at accepting that. She found a not-so-scary med (basically super Benadryl) to try just when I had trouble sleeping and it worked beautifully. What happened, though, is that I realized that I always have trouble sleeping, it is just when it became drastic that I was labeling it as a problem. For the last two months I've been taking a small dose every night and, while all my problems haven't magically disappeared, things are much easier to handle. It is also very easy to see when my sleep isn't great because now I have an accurate baseline.
This is a long intro to a story about the repercussions of inadequate sleep.
Wednesday night I stayed up super late binge watching "Lip Sync Battles"... 'cause I'm a wild woman. I had to work Thursday morning and was groggy and more ditzy than normal. Nothing crazy, just tired. Well, that meant that I dozed off Thursday early evening, but then woke up feeling refreshed two hours before I should have gone to bed. Then, of course, I wasn't ready to sleep, so I stayed up too late again and then tossed and turned all night. I had fitful dreams - Paige washing my windshield with a washcloth while we were driving - me forgetting to go to work because I thought it was Saturday (complete with a tearful, blubbering call to my boss) - grocery shopping without enough money - and more that I can't remember.
So, I woke up Friday morning in a panic because I thought, to begin, that I had forgotten to go to work and then couldn't remember what parts of that were a dream and what day it really was. I get in the shower and work out in my mind that it is Friday and I have to be at work and probably didn't call and leave a frightening voicemail for my boss. Then I remember three or four things that I forgot to do at work the night before that need to be done for a party today and so I need to rush to be a little early. I'm beating myself up because we weren't even busy and I don't know why I didn't do them! I get out of the shower with a plan to be a super fast get-readier. Then I realize that I don't have any clean socks that work with my good work shoes, but, have no fear! I have a backup pair of work shoes! Actually, I have one shoe. Dang it, where is the other one. I look everywhere, seriously, everywhere. I finally give up and am just going to wear the ones that will show the "sport" sock markings. Then, I spy the other sneaky little bugger peeking out from under a pair of flopped over boots. Okay, now I'll only be about 5 minutes late when I need to be 15 early. All that's left is to grab the baby and my glasses and head out. Glasses. Glaaasseeesss... **insert your favorite curse words, I probably said them*** I could have sworn that I knew exactly where they were... Frantic searching for 10 minutes and they are nowhere NO WHERE. Fine, now I'm 15 actual minutes late/30 minutes later than I wanted to be. I throw the baby into car and then into the preschool and speed off to work sans glasses. I run in the building and grab the plates and bowls to do the things we forgot the night before only to find that they are already made. It takes me a solid five minutes to figure out what you might have noticed if you have been able to follow this story - that I didn't work Thursday night, I took a nap on the couch. That's right, I forgot the fact that I did not work, therefore did not forget to do the set up. The people who did work did the set up as they should have. Today is Friday...
Sleep. It's a good idea. Tonight I will take a little extra medicinal sleeping help.
Luckily, I am in a place where I can realize that this is fine and I can fix it. It has not made me feel like a worthless piece of excrement who doesn't deserve to waste breath that good people might need. Does that seem ridiculous? Yeah, it should, but it is part of life for crazy me. A day like today could very well have sent me into a spiral that would last days or weeks. Today, I can laugh at it and know that tomorrow will be better.
P.S. The glasses were found tonight, under the pile of clean clothes that I frantically threw around trying to find the dang shoe.