Category Archives: Sleep Disorderly Conduct

The Sleepy Games

My sleep disorder decided to erupt in the past week–this is the worst it’s been in years. So, I decided to take it easy this weekend. Aside from a couples “Stock the Bar” shower and hanging with an old friend, I’ve mostly been running, reading, sleeping or doing some writing that I was too tired to do during the week.

Justin has finally met the Sleep-Deprived Stephie that I’ve warned him about since we first met, and I have to say, he handled it like a champ. Even though sleep deprivation makes me irritable, irrational, anxious, and basically mentally deficient, I’m trying very hard to warn him about my mood swings as they come and to educate him (and basically remind myself) about what is actually happening to me.

Chronic Sleep Deprivation is an invisible disability–meaning, people don’t understand it because they can’t see it, so they just think you’re being a crybaby or an asshole or an idiot in general. There are plenty of people from my past who were affected by it who, to this day, don’t realize that sleep deprivation is why I acted that way. My mom still rolls her eyes when I say that I’m tired. Rachael still jokes about the anxiety attacks I used to have, and doesn’t understand how offensive it is. I can’t even imagine the things my ex-boyfriend says about me.

I’m trying very hard to approach it with awareness this time around, so that Justin doesn’t become one of those people. I’m also apologizing for it every 10 seconds, which I realize is totally annoying, but there are people I never got to explain and apologize to, like my dad, and I never want to do that again.

One good thing about this weekend is that I’ve read almost the entire Hunger Games trilogy, and it’s AWESOME! I just finished running 5 miles, so I plan on doing nothing but reading the last book for the rest of the evening.

 

 

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A Sequence In Time Repeated

“Many things–such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly–are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”

-C. S. Lewis

Today marks one year since I’ve taken a sleeping pill, or at least a prescription one anyway. I still take melatonin and the occasional Benadryl, but no Ativan and more importantly, no Ambien. For someone like me, this is huge.

I was addicted to Ambien for over 5 years. It started right around the time I went through an awful break-up, so it immediately became an escape for me. I was was prescribed Ambien because I was diagnosed with chronic insomnia, but I still couldn’t sleep because I was treating a condition that I didn’t have. What I really had was a little-known condition called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. That means Ambien doesn’t affect me the same way it affects other people. I usually stayed awake for a few hours after taking it. Continue reading

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All Hands On Roof

Jane told me I needed to update this blog. Hay Jane! I haven’t updated because I’m still transferring entries (64 months down, 13 to go!), and quite frankly, I am sick of myself.

A HUGE milestone happened, though – three months without prescription sleeping pills! I even lowered my melatonin dose from 5mg to 3mg and it hasn’t been a problem. I go to bed around 11 almost every night, sometimes even earlier. Sleeping is a problem I have dealt with my entire life, and now that it’s practically solved, I’m not sure how I should be reacting to this. I will say that initially, a week without sleeping pills seemed more impossible than quitting smoking. I’m extremely proud of myself.

HOWEVER, I’ve been watching The Walking Dead and woof; I need to put that on hold until I’m no longer sleeping in a huge dark basement. I should stick to the Vampire Diaries and Hellcats that I’m used to. Bleeuugh. It’s less the zombies and more the suspense that bugs me; I’m half bored (because obviously the guy will escape everything) and half anxious. I know I’m supposed to like this show because zombies are so in, but I’ve been there done that girlfriends.

I like how I’m more afraid of zombies in the basement of the house where I grew up than I am of moving downtown, where someone totally got murdered at my front door last week. (I go in through the back and I don’t fight over girls/drugs in nightclubs at 3am; I should be safe.)

Justin and I are buying our fun shag rug this week and picking up carpet from his mom when we visit her over Thanksgiving. Then he gets to built me a dream closet, and then I’m ready to move in after Christmas! I’m so excited!

I’m still doing my food log and I’m definitely eating better. I’ve been doing my Insanity workouts, though not every day. It’s just getting to be too much, and after 3 months with minimal weight loss, I don’t really have the motivation that I used to to put my body through Insanity hell. I might do these once or twice a week in the future.

I need to get back into workouts that feel more like therapy, like running and weight lifting. The new Girl Talk album is out and that is pure running juice, so you can bet your ass that I’ll be pounding pavement as soon as I download it. And at some point I want to do P90X (the workouts AND the diet), but that sucker is 3 months long. Next year, for sure.

Other stuff has happened, too, but those are either my friends’ stories or work related, so it’s not my place to write about them. Overall, I’m happy at the moment which means I’m pretty boring.

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Mustache Dreams

To dream that you have a mustache when you don’t really have one, signifies that you are hiding an aspect of yourself. You are putting on a disguise or showing a different aspect of your personality.

To dream that you shave off your mustache, denotes that you are revealing your true self. You no longer have to hide under some disguise or some shield. Alternatively, the dream means that you are trying to reestablish your reputation, by renouncing your previous activities.

If you are a woman and dream that you have a mustache, then it indicates that you are expressing your power through your words and your verbal expression.

In addition to the heavy, long-winded blogging I’ve been doing lately, I’ve also been speaking to a lot of customer service people, filling out suggestion/complaint forms, and requesting a new non-free therapist (which apparently I’m not allowed to do without serious drama, St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute? Ugh). In other words, I’ve been much more formidable than usual. Today, it’s starting to pay off.

Last night I dreamt I had this huge, thick, orange mustache and I kept trying to shave it – like The Peanut Butter Solution, except on a freakishly-large upper lip. I would probably call a Dream Dictionary “lame” except this is eerily correct and you know what? Dream Dictionaries usually are.

My dad used to have a lot of dreams, because he slept a lot I guess, and I would look up his stuff all the time to see how I could help him. For example, he dreamt about being kidnapped, which means that he felt trapped. Everything was pretty consistent with someone who had been bedridden for a year, so I trust the Dictionary these days.

Also, anybody remember the Crawling Spider? (God, I used to be a spaz.)

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Filed under Dream On, Sleep Disorderly Conduct

Riding the Righteous Bummer*

I’ve been seriously depressed this week, and I’m trying very hard to keep track of the parts that feel like mourning, like stress, like sleeplessness, etc. There are some waves that are overwhelming and they aren’t specifically about him. To me, that means depression, and that means I need more sunshine, sleep, exercise and Vitamin B.

It is so important to understand your bad moods and negative emotions. Once you know what’s wrong, you’re halfway back to happy even if you don’t know how to fix it. It’s also important for the sake of your loved ones. I try to be aware of when I’m tired or upset at someone else so I don’t take it out on my mom. I ALWAYS warn Justin when I’m PMSing, though I think he found an iPhone app that sends him an alert.

10-15 years ago, when my “insomnia” was uncontrollable, I was terrible to be around. I would cry at the drop of a hat. I was full of anxiety. Road rage to the max. Everyone annoyed me. When something small but stressful happened, like losing my car keys, I would explode. It truly felt like my world was ending.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was simply sleep deprived – to a point that was life threatening. I knew that I lacked sleep but I didn’t realize the magnitude of how important it was. I mistook being tired for so many other emotions, and I was totally lost in anxiety and anger that, in a way, didn’t exist.

Last year, I went through this phase were I was really angry with people from my past like Rachael and Brian – the people who were closest to me at that time. I was mad because I’ve made so many strides emotionally, but they still tend to talk to me like I’m fragile, like I’m going to explode or collapse into tears at any second. I used to think this was condescending, that they underestimated me.

But you know what? That’s exactly who I was back them. I’ve started to understand that it’s my fault that they treat me that way. And since we’re not really friends anymore, it’s okay. The people I’m still friends with from then, like Liz and Ty, they know. Liz and I tell each other, “I’m so proud of you,” all the time. I love that.

Justin said that when he and my dad had a long talk last month, my dad said that I changed so much in the last 10 years and he was so proud of me. That made me cry a lot. But it was okay, because I knew why I was crying.

But this? This heavy, constant Eeyore cloud that’s been following me all week? That’s depression, sister, and not the chemical kind that I can’t control. It’s simply my body telling me I need TLC. Sunshine, exercise, Vitamin B and sleep.

You are in charge of your own happiness. Once you realize that, it’s always within reach. Never, ever forget that. (And, stay positive.)

*via my hero-since-always, Lynda Barry

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Oh My My, Oh Hell Yes, I’ve Got A Case Of DSPS

A while ago, Ra was hanging out with this guy who totally creeped me out. I used to call her and lecture her about why she needed to stay away from him. Point #215: this guy has been to Iraq five times. I wanted to tell her that he probably has raging Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD.

But what came out, in a horrified “mom-voice” shriek with a dash of Missouri twang, was “Raaaa! He could have PSDS!!” Say it out loud. You will probably giggle as much as she did. It just sounds silly. Well…

I finally sucked it up and went to an actual Sleep Institute today, and guess what: I don’t have insomnia. I actually have something called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Yes, DSPS. It means my circadian rhythm (body clock) runs about five hours later than yours – like living with permanent jet lag. There are things I can do to keep it in check, but I have to be really disciplined about bedtimes, light therapy, melatonin, etc.

Apparently, the majority of DSPS cases are initially misdiagnosed as chronic or onset insomnia. I actually studied DSPS in college and was fairly informed about all sleep disorders, but I had always assumed that DSPS was a temporary condition, or just a fancy nickname for jet lag itself. I didn’t believe the doctor at first but the DSPS Wikipedia page seriously reads like my diary. And while the diagnosis sucks, you’ve already heard me complain about trying virtually every insomnia treatment. At least now I know why none of them worked and I can go to bed a little more hopeful.

Ra is in town for the first time in years. This is the girl I honed all my bad habits with. She has a son now. Maybe between her baby and my new self-discipline, we can stay out of trouble this week. Either way, it’s bound to get interesting. I can’t wait to tell her I have DSPS.

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The Science of Stephie

I’ve officially tried everything for my insomnia – pills, vitamins, herbs, a new mattress, auricular therepy, actual therapy, sleep hygiene, sleepy tea, staying up all night to reset my clock, waking up extra-early to run, sleep regression therapy, amino acids, cold medicine, etc…

… and nothing works. Absolutely nothing works. I have spent $500 of Visa’s money on stuff that doesn’t work this month alone. (Please don’t suggest things in the comment section – although I don’t know how to sleep, I am technically an expert at the topic and I am too tired to explain why none of your ideas will work for me.)

It’s seriously a miracle that I can compose a complete sentence with the amount of sleep I’ve gotten this week. I truly fear for my life when I have to drive a car. I can’t even talk to people. I can’t think. I can’t function. I’m on auto-pilot and it takes all my energy to not cry.

The only thing that works is chasing an Ativan or Ambien (or if it’s a bad day, both) with a few beers. So I guess my liver is fucked and I am too. It was nice knowing you (meaning, I don’t know when I will have the energy to hang out again. It probably won’t kill me til I’m fourty, or whenever things start getting good).

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