The effects of sleep

September 7, 2008 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

Although I know better, I did not expect such a pronounced effect. The first night back I slept quite well. The next day I felt good — cheerful, optimistic, full of energy. Last night I went to bed rather late, and my daughter called at 1 am to be picked up from the train station. It was raining and had turned cold. When she called, I was so deeply asleep that I stalled for a few minutes, to figure out where I was, where she was, and how I would find the train station. It’s just 3 minutes down the road. I’d told her ahead of time that she could call, assuming I’d fall right back to sleep. Fat chance of that! It was nearly 6 am before I drifted off again.

During those four something hours, I read for a while, and then all manner of thoughts ran through my head. Talk about crazy! The optimism had been replaced by hopelessness. It all seemed too difficult, too overwhelming. And I thought to myself: Oh, this type of experience could easily trigger a binge. Imagine coming back from a wonderful vacation to a difficult situation (marriage) and having to get settled in again. And then you don’t get enough sleep.

Some of you may have similar difficulties getting back into the swing of things, even if your situation is quite different from mine. So I thought I’d share what I ended up doing, in the hopes that it might help someone.

What to do in the depths of dispair? Make a list! That’s what I always used to do. I wrote endless lists with all the steps necessary to change my life around. They were full of resolutions and ideas of how to change my self and life. Today I don’t mean that kind of list. Instead, I got in touch with that feeling of being totally overwhelmed and told myself: “Okay, it all seems too huge. Make a list of all that needs to be done so that you can feel back to normal.” So I made a list of the necessary phone calls, emails, appointments, housework, and other organizational items, and guess what? They loosely covered half a page. When I looked at the results, they didn’t seem so awful.

Now just imagine, instead of writing the list, I had gotten up and starting snacking, trying to convince myself that I might eventually feel better if I could just find the right food. I would have woken up with a food hangover and no concept of how to continue. (Yes, I did eventually sleep from 6 to 11.)

Lately I’ve had the sense that I am presently required to feel a lot. There are all kinds of feelings coming up, and sometimes I just have to sit with them and let them be. It is rather strange and simple at the same time, as I am on the threshold of major change, with the goal of accomplishing it in a mature and loving way. As I have noticed in the past, whether it was when I stopped bingeing or stopped smoking, or even studied for major exams, sleep is an essential ingredient and I tend to need more of it in times of stress. Maybe you do, too?! Good luck to me! And to you!

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Entry filed under: Lack of sleep. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Another book from my journey The darker side

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