Monday, January 12, 2009

Sleepless in Memphis

There's something going on in me right now that I can't quite explain.

And it's a problem.

What with my need to know stuff, thereby maintaining the illusion that I'm in control--to not be in control places me in a perilous state. Those who know me know that about me---I want to be able to explain...everything.

To be sure, there's plenty of life (if not most) that I cannot explain. But stuff that pertains to me? Or those around me? Or the things around which I do my work, live my life? I expect to be more than a little conversant.

One of my many character flaws is how much weight I place on the value of knowing something.

But on this matter, I'm in the dark.

Last week, for three consecutive nights, I got a total of 10 hours of sleep. And don't be fooled, this isn't a 3.3 hours of sleep for each night. Nope, this was 5, then 3, and finally 2.

The 2 hour night was a Monday. I remember looking at the clock (again) at 5 a.m., and then in what seemed only a minute later, it was blaring at me with my 7 a.m. wake up call.

If you've ever had insomnia, you know how it goes. Even if you're tired you've developed such a complex about not having gone to sleep, that guess what? You won't!

I was numb...couldn't think straight...even a bit scared. If the progression of sleeplessness continued, I was looking at no sleep at all.

Why no sleep? Hmmm, I'll come back to that one directly.

I find that I usually exist on 6 hours a night, with the expectation of a 8 or 9 hour night on the weekend. May not be the healthiest pattern, but it is the one I've fallen into for the past several years.

When I was a good bit younger, but at the college and especially the seminary level, 4 hours or less on many occasions was a norm. Being the night owl I was/am, I had extraodinary productivity between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

More than a few seminary papers were pecked out during those hours.

Finish at 4.
Sleep until 7.
In class by 8.

Ahh, those were the days.
I could do that for many days in a row and then crash.

But that was then.

My work, my life, my parenting, the maintenance of my health demands much more than then, and quite a bit more than my "regular" pattern.

A good bit my 10 p.m.-1 a.m. time is catching up on office work. Being able to remote into my office desktop is both blessing and curse.

If not working, that time is reserved for my decompression. Being the creature prone to introversion that I am, some time to just "be" is necessary in my living...or at least that's the pattern I've been following.

So, I work, watch TV, read, surf, something..anything..and my mind is up and running. Then I go to the bedroom, pick up my 7 year old. Take him to his bed, and hop into mine.

Periodic insomnia is not foreign to me. It is my usual pattern, though, that I can fall asleep, but wake up in the night unable to go back.

But not this time. I couldn't even nod off at all.

My current bout of sleeplessness began with that hacking cough/cold that's gone around. That hit on Christmas Day and I lived with it in various states throughout the holiday. Even as I felt better through the day, laying down at night brought the cough.

But that's not all it is.

And I'm not sure what all is going on in me...
Actually I do know some of what's going on, but this is a blog, not a therapy session.

But after three nights...I was desperate. So, after much deliberation, I called "a guy I know."

I don't like to take meds for the heck of it...but I needed something.

"Can I have 1 Ambien?"

I didn't need a bunch...I just wanted to sleep one night.

Well, I have more than one. Sleep, like life is a "phase" thing. And it's going to take a bit of work to develop more healthy patterns. I'm a bit out of phase, but working to change some life habits to be more in balance. And for awhile, I'm using some medicaiton to help me. know, that thing I keep looking for?

Anyway, Tuesday night last week, I was so eager to go to sleep, I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. - and woke at 7 a.m.

Now, I've had the benefit of pain relieved when my back was in really bad shape. I've had headaches ease with proper medication.

Nothing has brought me more relief than 10.5 hours of sleep in one night. In one night I slept more than the previous 3. I felt like Superman that day.

I've not used a pill every night since...but until I'm in a good phase, it's good to know I have it.

And for the first time in more than a little while, I'm sleepless in Memphis no more. Whew!

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