Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Past 4:30 AM...Again...

Just like the title of this post says, I am up most of the night again.  It's getting old.  I took my sleep meds, and yes I said that in plural because now I have two different medications to help me sleep.  Sometimes one works and sometimes both don't work at all.  I think this is one of those latter times.

I've always loved sleep.  At the same time, I've always been a night owl by preference but not always by being allowed to be.  When I was young I worked night shifts.  When I had kids my night work ended and I slept nights, out of sheer exhaustion I believe.  Mornings have never been my favorite time of day unless it was to get up early to go spend the day fishing.  Now that I am able to sleep whenever I choose to, I can't sleep at all most nights, although I do have good nights and sometimes good weeks where I can sleep 10-12 hours at a stretch.  But mostly it is a struggle just to fall asleep at all.  

When the night grows silent, and I am alone, ready to wind down, no matter how tired I might feel, or how much I yawn or struggle to keep my eyes open, my mind just won't shut up.  I've tried the "tricks" of making my plans for the next day earlier so I don't think about it when trying to sleep, or of going over the events of the day before I plan to sleep.  Nothing seems to work.  The mind overrides the medications and the tricks, and another night passes until nearly dawn before I can sleep.

It doesn't help that I sleep in my recliner and have been for the past almost three years.  It doesn't help using music that is relaxing or soothing, or using silence.  Silence is worse because at least the music helps me focus my mind a bit more instead of allowing it to roam through all the various thoughts that overwhelm me at night.  The only thing with the music is that I love the music so much it often becomes something I participate with instead of just letting it become a lullaby.  For the music to work it has to be almost the same music every night so that it is more just a sound I am used to, like rain on the roof.  (Tonight it is walnuts crashing onto the roof from the trees surrounding the house.  Not very soothing.)  

It also doesn't help that I am going through some changes in my life.  Even though the changes are for the good, I think, these changes have my mind busier than ever, making it even more difficult to settle down into a gentle rhythm allowing for restful sleep.  My mind is all about planning and creating and next steps.  At the same time my mind is about obstacles in my path and how to overcome them so that maybe I can make some of my dreams come true.  It's been a very long time since I have been able to even think in such positive terms about my life and now I feel the glow of the excitement of the challenges ahead.  So much has happened the past year and a half, some bad things, but mostly some very good things, as well as some very rough hills and mountains to climb.  

There are questions also.  Dreams I don't think I have any control over, and dreams that I have at least some control over crowd my head every night.  When the day ends, and my day usually ends anywhere between 1-3 a.m. by choice, the quietness seems to open doors to all the voices in my head that try to tell me I can't succeed in making any good thing happen in my life.  All the negative voices try to whisper "You just aren't good enough" and I end up in a mental and emotional battle to confront those negative voices with positive ones along with prayer.  

Something special happened this past year that changed my outlook on those negative voices, however.  Without going into great detail, I met the first people who have ever really believed in me and have been a great support to me mentally and emotionally.  These people, I realized, actually saw me for who I really am instead of judging me by my outward appearance.  It's been a refreshing lesson for me and it has spurred me on to these goals and changes I have challenged myself with.  I've been treated most of my life like I was no good, or stupid, or whatever negative things people judge others with when they don't want to take the time to really get to know each other.  But this past year was different, and being told how smart they think I actually am has boosted my self esteem greatly, and given me courage to step out and try, and really believe in myself.  I know they believe in me and I've never known that kind of feeling before.

And it keeps me awake.  Not that these are the only reasons I can't sleep.  My sleep problems started after my divorce but because I was still working I slept out of sheer exhaustion.  Then as I got sicker and sicker and was still working, it seemed all I did was sleep and work.  I could barely function at all.  As medications were better regulated, and as I was declared disabled, even though I still worked part time from home, I started having sleep problems which have gradually grown worse as time has passed.  I don't know the solution.  But for now, it's after 5 a.m. and I think the medications are finally taking effect.  So I will say goodnight...or good morning, whichever you prefer.

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