Posted by: Judy | May 25, 2016

I actually do take advice…

ntexas99 suggested I sleep and sleep until I don’t want to sleep any more, or something to that effect. I realized I haven’t in the past for several reasons.

Reason #1: When I was sleeping 14-16 hours a day I only dragged myself out of bed to take care of my dog. I was also terrified of sleeping my life away. I stayed awake as long as I could. Eating is one way to help me stay awake. So my weight problem is tied, in part, to not wanting to sleep my life away. I was shocked by the quote “I can sleep when I’m dead.” In many ways, I already felt like I was dead. As often as I’ve wished for death, I feared disappointing God, leaving something unfinished, not doing my best, not leaving it all on the table. To sleep or not to sleep became a daily battle without me even realizing it.

Reason #2 Deep sleep deprivation is an effective tranquilizer. I was too tired to care what anyone did to me. Anger works in a sprint but fails miserably in a marathon. It’s an energy sapper. I’ve used it in the yard work. I tackle a bit of cat claw; letting the internal fire free gives me the boost of power and strength to yank the miserable stuff free of branches. If there’s some other unpleasant job, the anger keeps me focused until it’s done. Strange but true; practice helps. The dog I care for sometimes has an itchy ear. She wants it rubbed and leans into it. She isn’t a small dog. I let the frustration and anger fuel the strength and energy necessary. This took a lot of practice. Bless my dog. I regretted I hurt her a few times at first when I didn’t realize my own strength. It will be ten years, this year, since she went Home. When I adopt another dog it will again be a big dog, so I don’t accidentally hurt her. She did love the hard rubs. I learned to leash the fury. Rage stays muzzled and chained down when you’re too tired to let it loose.

I’ve reached a point where I’m tired of being tired.

I understand dealing with CPTSD, which has never been officially diagnosed because my counselor didn’t want to put a label on me but when you answer in the affirmative to every question it’s sort of a no brainer. Exhaustion is a part of the problem, and it isn’t about a lack of sleep. CPTSD is an energy sapper… it’s like having a second job where you work 24/7 without any vacations, ever.

I’ve used the sleep deprivation to control my anger mostly at NM and EF. I’ve given up the game of having the kitchen to myself and being treated like a person instead of an extension of them. The only way to be my own person is to maintain a safe distance. Not easy in the same house. I make hamburgers while they’re out, even if it’s 9:00 a.m. That’s lunch. Lunchables are a God send. I grab one around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. for dinner. If I’m still hungry, I have my matzoh and dried fruit and pecans. I keep milk in water bottles, so I only have to grab it out of the fridge. I have whole days when I don’t see NM. It’s astonishing how much stress that eases. She sends emails that I open only long enough to see what it includes. If it’s “harmless” I may or may not read it before I add it to NM’s folder. If it’s emotional blackmail, I stop and put it in the folder without reading. I interact with EF face-to-face more because I choose to than because I have to, which also reduces an amazing amount of stress. Social media has taught me a lot about “Hide” and simply moving on to the next thing.

Last week, ntexas99 suggested I sleep as much as I needed. I made the excuses first. I thought about her advice. I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I slept, a lot. I used my CDs to go to sleep at night. During the day, I’d sleep for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. I was sleeping my life away again.

Do I want to be well?

Mark Divine of SEALFit was asked in an interview I watched on YouTube what the three main points are to reaching maximum fitness. 1. Sleeping. 2. Eating. 3. Training, and not simply the physical part but the mindset.

My health problem is a mind problem. My weight problem is an eating problem. My eating problem is a sleep problem. My sleep problem is a mind problem.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I let myself sleep when I needed to sleep.

Saturday night, I stayed up and read until 1:00 a.m. I used the Delta Sleep System Disk 1. I expected to sleep for 10-11 hours. I slept 8. I didn’t so much wake feeling rested as I couldn’t sleep anymore. My body felt weighted, like it does whenever I use DSS, but this time it didn’t feel like that was a bad thing. It was less like a logy feeling and more like an awareness of my whole body. Tired but at least I didn’t wake up yawning first thing. It took an hour.

Sunday morning, I had a strange dream. I was with one of my heroes and we were traveling. I don’t know by what mode of transportation. I want to say horseback but that’s wishful thinking on my part. We were going somewhere but I didn’t really know where. We traveled through town after town until we reached one that was quite whimsical. Everything was wonderful, serene, but not quite right. Not in a scary way. We were invited to stay. I wanted to but sensed the decision was wrong. Not evil wrong but simply not what was meant for me. The last house wasn’t finished. The rooms were empty. We walked beyond the house to see what lay ahead, and the trees and mountains I knew were there were completely blurred by mist, so blurred I wondered if trees and mountains were actually what was there. There was no way to see what lay ahead. Moving forward meant heading into the mist. We backtracked, a little, but knew it was in the wrong direction.

I woke up and remembered everything clearly.

What if the mist isn’t a mist but a storm? What if the storm is what I must pass through to reach where I need to go?

If I stop in the inviting village, I will never know what lies beyond the storm. I cannot help the increasing sensation that I am meant to travel through the storm.

If I’m to accomplish this, I need to be healthy, as healthy as I can be. If I am to stand on God’s side in the storm, then I need to be healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’ve been working on doing exactly this, but I need to step up my game. God has called me to be a writer. To accomplish what He has asked me to do, I need to be able to devote myself in a healthy way. I lose writing time, sometimes days at a time, when I’m not feeling well. I will be a better writer if I’m not constantly battling the basics of good health.

Interestingly enough, Sunday and Monday night were both restless. Strange dreams. Too warm to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Waking on my back. Tired all day but not able to nap. Last night, I finished this up right before midnight. I was exhausted but dreaded trying to sleep, afraid I’d have another restless night, after only two in a row. The problem is prior knowledge, the memory of night after night after night of no restful sleep.

Two nights in a row of restlessness made for very little writing accomplished. I hate that. I’m not giving up on working around this. I was proud of myself for not buying popcorn or Hostess treats. I thought about endeavoring to have a healthier mindset. More on that tomorrow.

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Responses

  1. I forget the exact science of it, but not getting enough sleep affects cortisol levels which in turn also causes weight gain. Stress also affects cortisol. You’re getting a double ding there, and that’s not even counting whatever calories you’re taking in.

    • Sigh. Yes. Maddening.

  2. I ended up having a very different experience than you, when I let go of my guilt and hesitancy about sleeping whatever hours allowed my body to finally become rested. It’s hard to explain, but I think it comes down to where my mind is situated before I lay down to sleep.

    Before, I was always quietly berating myself for all the things I wasn’t accomplishing because I was “wasting time sleeping”. When I would lay down with that mindset, my sleep never seemed to be restful, and in fact, was often very fitful and wrought with much tossing and turning and disjointed or disturbing dreams. So even though I was spending more time in bed, it wasn’t restful time, and certainly didn’t do anything to alleviate the overall sleep deprivation I typically experienced on a regular basis.

    What changed for me was intentionally altering the pattern about how I thought about those hours spent sleeping. Instead of counting them as wasted time, I had to learn to think of them as coins that I was stashing away in the bank … stacking them one on top of another so that when I stepped back, what I saw was a hefty chunk of energy, all piled up and ready for me to use whatever withdrawals might be needed throughout the day. For me, I somehow learned to change my mindset to counting those hours as a savings plan, rather than as an expense.

    At first, I had to use medicinal ways of gaining extra sleep. Primarily Melatonin (pharmacy aisle by the vitamins), but I also used other methods, such as switching up my routine to take a warm shower before bedtime, or sometimes just setting aside an hour for playing my favorite computer game that required no thought or strategy (match 3 in a row type games). I experimented with various methods of putting myself in “it’s time to rest” mode, and ended up coming up with a routine that worked for me.

    But primary to that was removing the mental barriers. Quite difficult to do, because we are conditioned to expect results, and have little patience for failed attempts at anything – even resting our bodies. It was especially difficult when sometimes those nights ended up being empty hours, and even though I was spending time in bed, I was unable to stack up any energy coins in the savings account. Very frustrating.

    Somewhere along the way, I made the decision to pick a certain amount of time (for me, it was two weeks). I would sleep when my body said sleep, and would attempt to steer those hours towards a regular pattern to integrate with the other parts of my life, but I would remove any feelings of guilt associated with expending those hours on sleeping. By the end of the two weeks, I had some rather odd sleeping patterns established (sometimes staying awake until 3 or 4 a.m., and sometimes sleeping as late as noon). But it did prove something to me. When I let go of my expectations of results (“I will get enough sleep to feel rested”), and just laid my head on the pillow as a sort of experiment in exercising my freedom to be erratic, I found a solution that worked for me.

    Most nights, I’m in bed by about 11pm, and even though I often wake during the night, most nights I sleep until about 6 – 8 a.m. (on my regular nights). Other times, usually weekends, I allow myself to stay up as long as my body wants to be awake (even sometimes all night long), just so long as I lay my head on the pillow at least four hours. I’ve found that overall, averaging out the various erratic bits of sleep, I tend to get by comfortably on only five or six hours of sleep a night, but every so often, I have to throw in a good twelve hours of sleep (usually broken up in several three or four hour periods, running back to back).

    For instance, last night was one of those nights where my body just wasn’t ready to unwind. I was awake until 4 a.m. Awoke at 6:30 to let the dogs out, and went back to bed until 9:30, and back to bed again until about 11:30. So altogether, it was about 7 hours of sleep, but it also meant my day today not starting until almost noon. But I had more or less planned ahead for this, in that all my essential chores and appointments were done, and in essence, this morning was like a lazy Sunday morning for me, even though today is Wednesday. I awoke smiling and energized, even playing with the dogs before having my morning soda. Usually I’m grumpy and creaky in the mornings, but today, I was bouncy and raring to go, thinking about some fun projects I might tackle today, since I have obviously recharged my batteries.

    When I read about your experience, I was encouraged to hear that you’re willing to try new things, and I was sorry to hear that it hasn’t quite hit a home run for you yet. Reading between the lines, it seemed that you lean towards requiring success, even when referring to something as innocuous as sleeping. I can relate to that, because we share that tendency. In my case, it didn’t work for me until I let go of the expectation of success, and basically gave myself permission to fail. By attaching a time frame to the experiment (two weeks), I removed the brutality of constricting confines for those two weeks. Any result was okay, even if it meant hours and hours of spending time in bed only to awake feeling groggy or grumpy or whatever. By erasing the results requirement, it allowed the experiment to fluctuate, and I quite literally was sleeping some rather odd hours. But by the end of the two weeks, I had managed to carve out a workable pattern that worked for me.

    Yes, I surely still sometimes have nights where I toss and turn all night, or awake feeling sleep deprived. I usually muscle through my day anyway (we’re already used to doing that), and then try to plan for one of my “make up” days, such as today. I get my chores and appointments out of the way, and family obligations, and usually even try to be caught up with laundry and other mundane tasks, and I plan for a “mini sleep vacation”. When I go to bed with no attachments at all to what hour I wake up, I tend to repeatedly get the most restful version of sleep possible. My body feels refreshed and vitalized, and my energy coins are plentiful.

    Good for you for trying something different. I encourage you to continue experimenting with variations, until you hopefully land on what works for you. Maybe you will also benefit from removing any attachments to having a successful experiment. Give yourself permission to fail. Again and again and again, until you suddenly arrive at something that works for you. When it works once, try it again. If it keeps working, then build on that. You’ve already done that in many other areas of your life, so it would seem to make sense that you’ll be able to do the same when it comes to sleeping. Try to let go of the frustration that comes with failure, because, in essence, you aren’t failing. You’re simply eliminating another result that didn’t work. Keep eliminating what doesn’t work, until you find what does work.

    Sorry to hear you’re struggling with this, as I truly do understand how sleep deprivation affects all the other areas of your life. When energy resources are low, everything feels heavier and you see lots of roadblocks and bumps in the road. Sending you prayers for restful nights, in whatever form they take, so that your own energy reserves become plentiful, with stacks of energy coins at your disposal. Hugs.

    • This gives me a different perspective. I need to be up early every morning if I’m going to walk. It’s the only time that’s cool, for a little while longer anyway. My frustration is being so tired I can’t think straight but not so tired I can sleep. Sleep deprivation means I can fall asleep pretty much any time… hmmm… am I setting myself up to fail, after a fashion? If sleep deprivation means I’m able to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, do I push myself into deprivation so I’m able to fall asleep easily? Need to think about that one. Last night, I tried rearranging the blankets, and that seemed to help a bit. I’ll see how it goes for the next few nights. Thanks for the insights and encouragement. ((ntexas99))


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