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insomnia

Day 61/90 – Not So Awesome Day

I’m glad I’m doing the 90 Days of Awesome, but if you haven’t noticed by now, not every day is stellar.  I had some awesome moments working with my clients today, but I’m also processing a lot of emotional issues too which is painful and draining.

Alone by Lee J Haywood from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Alone by Lee J Haywood from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

For me, being a trauma survivor means going to 12-step meetings, being in therapy, taking medication and constantly being aware of depression, anxiety, and escapist behavior. And when I’m not avoid my feelings through escapism, I actually have to feel them. That can be really uncomfortable and painful for me – emotionally and physically painful. We were processing my feelings in therapy today and at one point I was shaky, curled up on my therapist’s couch, and feeling like a lumberjack stomped on my sternum. Needless to say, I was pretty drained after that, but it’s part of the process.

When I got home tonight I saw a post on Facebook that my friends got some really bad news. My heart goes out to their family.

On top of all that, I haven’t been sleeping well lately for several reasons. Last night I was so pumped and energized after being on News Now that it took a while to wind down. Even though I got to bed late, my alarm went off at its usual early hour and it was back to the grind. Thank goodness for coffee.

So what’s my plan for the weekend? I hope to take it easy. I have some chores, errands, and a bit of work to do, but for the most part, I hope to keep things mellow.

In Case You Missed It: Day 60 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got to be on Fox 10 Phoenix News Now!

Day 49/90 – Simple Pleasures

Day 49 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I went for a bike ride and took a nap.

Rosie is my Role Model for Napping

Rosie is my Role Model for Napping

I treated myself to an awesome 14.5-mile bike ride this morning on the canal and through Papago Park. The weather was gorgeous. I need to make it a priority to get out and ride more often.

One of the things that made the weather so great was the previous day’s rain brought down the temperature. It also made part of the trail pretty muddy. I ride a mountain bike and those tires were covered with mud. The ground was so muddy at times that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain speed and fall, so I walked part of the way home. When I got back on my bike, the centripetal force of my wheels flung bits of mud into the air. Did I mention I don’t have fenders? There’s nothing quite like taking a chunk of mud to the face. I was covered in sweat and mud by the time I got home.

After doing chores and running a few errands this afternoon, I was sleepy. I stretched out of my couch and grabbed an hour-long cat nap. When I bought my couch, I picked one with naps in mind – deeper cushions and soft velour-esque fabric. I’m sure there’s a rule that says insomniacs shouldn’t take naps, but screw that. I was really tired.

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make a day awesome. As Captain Kirk said, “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” I think that describes my weekends to a T – time for relaxation and recreation.

In case you missed it: Day 48 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I took some time for self-reflection.

Day 47/90 – Coffee

Day 47 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Coffee!

All my mugs for coffee are big.

All my mugs for coffee are big.

Some of you may not be aware of this, but I generally don’t sleep well. There are times I have terrible insomnia. Even when I get good sleep, it’s usually not great sleep. And even when I get to bed late or am up and down throughout the night, the alarm still goes off at 5:15 AM the next day.

Needless to say, coffee is my friend. My day does not start without coffee. Coffee helps me human. I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of coffee (at least until I add cream and sugar), but I enjoy the effect and the feeling of having a warm mug in my hands. (When I travel, especially when I travel with friends, and I know there’s going to be time delay between waking up and getting coffee, I have a caffeine pill to tide me over. Yes, I know I’m addicted to caffeine, and I’m perfectly ok with that.)

Earlier this year, my cardiologist put me on it GERD medication. It’s a pill I have to take first thing in the morning and then I’m not supposed to eat or drink anything for 20 minutes. So it’s a bit painful to go through the first 20 minutes of the morning without my caffeine friend. One of the advantages of having insomnia, is sometimes I wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning, and I will shuffle to the kitchen to take my GERD medication so I can have a cup of coffee first thing when my alarm goes off.

I had a pretty good week, but also and exhausting week – couple of late nights and lots of client work. I was still exhausted when my alarm woke me up today. It was definitely going to be a 2 cups day, and by 2, I really mean 4 because I have a big mug. I had my first mug of coffee at home and refilled my mug before heading to the office.

Sometimes I’m so tired in the morning, I take my coffee with me when I walked Rosie in the neighborhood. I think one of my neighbors gets a little jealous when he sees me sipping on my coffee while his is still brewing in his condo.

In case you missed it: Day 46 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Helping Clients Resolve Problems.

Living with Insomnia

My name is Ruth Carter and I’m an insomniac.

you can't sleep? by skampy from Flickr

you can’t sleep? by skampy from Flickr

I have dealt with insomnia off-and-on for my entire adult life. There have been times when it was so bad that when I finally fell asleep, everyone around me would do whatever they could not to wake me up. Sometimes this meant letting me sleep in the most uncomfortable-looking position where they knew I’d be hurting when I woke up.

One thing I’ve learned about insomnia is not to freak out about it. It’s pretty hard to die from sleep deprivation, you’re just going to be tired the next day. When you freak out about your insomnia, you make yourself anxious which makes the insomnia worse and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.  Just accept that it’s temporary and that you’ll fall asleep eventually.

My weird insomniatic habit is I’ll be tired in the early evening but by the time it’s time to go to bed, I’m wide awake again. I don’t get it. I just go with it. When I can’t sleep I try to stay mellow and watch TV, read a book, or see what my fellow insomniacs are saying on Twitter. If I’m wide awake, I’ll use the extra time to be productive and do things like sweep my floor and answer emails. If I’m at the don’t-bother-trying-to-sleep phase, I might as well put my time to good use, but I try not to do anything that’s going to wake me up or be such an undertaking that it will be a pain if sleepy time hits me in the middle of the project.

Yawn! by formatc1 from Flickr

Yawn! by formatc1 from Flickr

I’m not a fan of sleeping pills (including melatonin) so I rarely take them. I heard it takes the body two days to realize it’s tired so the night of sleep that really matters is two days before a big event, not the night before it. I took something to help me sleep two nights before the LSAT and two nights before the bar exam. More places should really sell sleeping pills in single doses because the bottle of sleeping pills will expire between each incident I need them.

The real downside of insomnia isn’t lack of sleep, it’s the side effects of sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes cognitive impairments and slows your reaction times. It can be as bad as being drunk. And I don’t know about other people, but I get really crabby when I’m tired. But I usually know when I’m getting what my friend calls “cranky pants” and remove myself from social situations. If nothing else, I make myself take a power nap or at least lay down for twenty minutes. Mythbusters tested this theory with an experiment inspired by Deadliest Catch and showed that power naps improve functioning when you’re sleep deprived.

Am I ever going to stop being an insomniac? Who knows. If it becomes a permanent part of my life, then so will napping.

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