I’ve been up all night lately. It blows.
Before my little breakdown a couple weeks ago, where I ran out of work and to the doctor and sent my life spiralling out of control, I slept relatively well.
A lot of the time, I was able to fall asleep within minutes. I’d sometimes wake up in the middle of the night but there was never really any problems with my sleep. I am about 1,000 years old and like to go to bed early (like 9) and am the type who still feels super tired in the morning. The evening is when I’d do my reading, and I typically couldn’t get through more than 10 pages before I was out like a light. I’d half-woken many, many times with my Kindle imprinted to my face.
Since I’ve been on stress leave, though, everything has changed.
It takes me a long time to fall asleep, and most nights I wake up around 3 or 4a, and often can’t get back to sleep at all. I end up being so exhausted that I nap like it’s my job during the daytime.
I’ve dealt with the falling asleep issue by taking prescription drugs (responsibly!) and that seems to be okay, but it certainly hasn’t helped with the waking up part. Hellll no. There are far too many things to go over in my brain for that!
I think about ALL of the things in my life. No particular order, jumping from topic to topic. It’s exhausting, but my brain is totally tuned in and loving every minute of it. My head acts like a little boy who’s just been given a slingshot and runs off to shoot off everything in sight (apparently this little boy lives in the 50s). I usually start by thinking about work. You don’t even need to read all of this to get the picture:
There are things in my office that are still there that I probably should have taken with me when I left. I have artwork on the wall – man would it be totally humiliating if they fired me and I still had to go in there and struggle with a painting and get out the door without anyone seeing me? Maybe I can get Work BFF to sneak some of my stuff out of there for me so there’s less to do when they fire me. Because they totally want to fire me. Should I look for another job right now? I mean, I need to have a back-up plan. What if not one else hires me and I have to go on regular unemployment? That would just be so embarrassing… admitting that I was let go? How do you even get a job that way? “Reason for leaving last job?” How do you even respond? “Oh I was let go because I had too many panic attacks that affected my job, and they got tired of it so they canned me. But that totally won’t happen if you hired me – I swear.” How do I admit that to my friends and family? I can’t tell anyone – they’ll just judge me. I’m going to have to lie about it and keep covering it up for the rest of my life and be careful not to slip up. I would lose so many friends if they caught me lying… but I need to save face. What should I do? If I tell my friends the truth they will just think I am lazy and unreliable. And they’re right. All I do these days is sleep and not work. Isn’t that what laziness really is? What kind of person can’t handle having a job and just going to it? What the hell is wrong with me? Fuck. I’ve destroyed my life. Why did I go on stress leave? I never should have done that. I should have just swallowed my pride and left everything alone. I should have never acted so impulsively.
This morning, for instance, I woke at around 2:30 or 3a, and since I couldn’t sleep I decided to do some blog-reading. After an hour or so of that didn’t put me to sleep (I guess I am just that fascinated by others’ lives!), I figured what the hell. I got up, put on some coffee and made myself some breakfast. Then I plunked myself down in the living room and proceeded to have a Grey’s Anatomy marathon until Boyfriend got up.
Obviously, I recognize that coffee would wake me up even more, but since I have no job right now, I didn’t really care about that. I wanted that comfort. And engaging in an addictive TV show probably didn’t help either. I probably should have tried reading some books instead – but I had thrown in the towel and my goal was no longer falling asleep. In the moment, I just wanted what I wanted.
Part of my loves being awake so early. No one else is up for hours, I have the house to myself. Everything is quiet. I have a couple of cats, and they’re happy to snooze away next to me. It’s a calm, comforting feeling. I think having that experience is a good one.
What’s not good is the 5 hour nap I’ll have – like today. What a waste of sunshine (which I imagine won’t be here much longer, what with Winter coming and all). I accomplished nothing today, and feel like a lazy sloth.
Then I just repeat the process. Go to bed early, wake up too early, nap half the day away.
It’s a really difficult process to interrupt. And seeing as I don’t have a schedule to keep me in line, I’m sort of a lost cause.
But to be honest, I think all of this “exhaustion” I am feeling is all in my head.
I think the worst part of my time off is all this time alone in my head. I’m trying very hard to work on myself, but it’s difficult to face things and try something new (i.e. the way I process my thoughts). It’s hard work, and it takes some kind of brain energy that you can’t get from food & sleep. I end up feeling mentally exhausted, and sometimes it feels like it would just be so much easier to revert to my old, familiar ways. To just freak out about everything, feel that everyone is out to get me, and that I don’t deserve anything.
How fucked up is that?
It’s true though – sometimes I’d rather bask in familiarity, because it’s easier. It’s no different than when you want to lose weight. It’s way easier to just lay on the couch and eat burgers all day, even though you know every moment you spend doing that is another step backward. When you try working out and preparing healthy meals, it’s such a foreign concept that it feels like work. Even if you feel better about yourself and your future afterward. It’s easier to lay on the couch.
I need to start treating my head like that and stop lazing around on that proverbial couch. Yes, it’s difficult to sit down and re-work my thought process when I’m facing an obstacle. And it’s hard to practice meditation. It’s way easier to just fall asleep and hide from it all, or let my mind (or Ego, as I should get used to saying) run amok the way it wants to.
But just like when you’ve spent the day chowing down and feel horrible and disgusting afterward, when I wake from a nap I do not feel good. I feel groggy and afraid of the same problems I was trying to escape.
What I want to do tonight is take a sleeping pill and fall asleep. As I write this, it’s 9:30p. I’ve already been in bed for an hour and a half going through all of my thoughts like they’re an all-you-can-eat buffet. But where did that get me? No where.
It wasn’t until I went and grabbed my laptop and started to examine my thoughts that I began to feel better about myself, and started to see what it is I’m doing to myself. So I am going to finish up this post (it’s long enough anyway hehe), and try meditating for 10 minutes. Maybe I’ll be good at it, and maybe not. But I will try. Then I will go to sleep – without a pill.
If I wake up, I’m going to read my book on mindfulness for a little while, and try to “study” rather than take the easy way out and watch TV.
I think I owe it to myself to try. Just a little bit.