Week in Review: Positivity and Thankfulness in the Face of Extreme Sleep Deprivation

I went from posting six times last week to not even touching this blog this week.  My thoughts have been super disorganized the past several days, due to a lack of sleep which is coming about thanks to problems with my CPAP machine (device that treates sleep my extra-severe sleep apnea).  So, while I HAVE been lying down for three or four hours at a time, I have been waking (according to the technician who downloaded my unit today) multiple times a night because I am, well, jeez, I’m just not breathing, consistently.

That kind of sleep deprivation is something of the worst kind, because while you *think* you are sleeping, you aren’t getting even close to any sort of sleep that is restful.  This leaves one with disorganized thoughts, gaps in time and memory, and a feeling that some sort of slow-growing mold is encasing the brain, rendering the little electrical impulses normally found there to be quite subdued.

To all of the bloggers I follow, I’m sorry to say that I just deleted my inbox full of notifications, feeling that I had to give myself a “re-do” for this week, and that I couldn’t do that with all of those unread posts making me feel guilty.  So, I’ve missed some of what y’all had to say this week…my bad, but sometimes it can’t be helped.  I *am* going to go back and answer comments on my last two posts here in the next day or so, but I thought it was prudent to throw a post up here so that anyone who noticed I was *back* last wouldn’t think I’ve totally dropped off again.  Just not the case, at all.

Some really great things happened this week, and remain unmarred (mostly) by the trials and tribulations of sleep deprivation.  I had a really good therapy appointment this week, and I also made peace with my peer support specialist.  It is amazing what can happen when you just ASK for what you NEED, and when you are also communicative about what your expectations are and just very HONEST about every single thing you can think of.

My schedule has now straightened itself out to the point where it is the exact same every week.  There will be no more panicked thoughts (I hope) in the middle of the night, thinking there is somewhere I am supposed to be at such-and-such time the next day.  Now, everything has been set up to repeat, and I can just roll with it (and hope it *mostly* stays that way).

This is a huge relief, because it was one of the things I have been so bent out of shape about.  I also found a great place to meet in the community with my peer support person…a small cafe that is very empty midday, has very comfortable furniture, is bright and full of windows, and lacks the dark and trendy feelings of most coffee shops.  I love it so much, I might hang out there sometimes, even when we are not meeting.  They also have really inexpensive drinks and desserts, a plus, no doubt.

I have further cleared things up with my peer support person (who really needs a blog nickname, what I have so far is The Trucker’s Wife, what do you think?) by using F.A.S.T. (a DBT skill in which you ask for something but keep your self-respect, as in no over-apologizing or the like) and just good ol’ common sense.  I have decided to give her another chance, and would probably actually give her many more, because, while she is not the best at returning phone calls, she IS good at returning emails (yay, a way to communicate!!) and she does appear to care, and she is quite kind and understanding, and is letting me do the self-help book more on my own.  It appears that this will all be working out, quite well.

I have several other things, which I am quite grateful for at this present moment, and which I’m going to list-post, because, yeah, I know that no one really wants this post to go past 700 words (least of all me):

  1.   Celebrating good use of DBT skills this week in interacting with others.  A few arguments were avoided, my anxiety was calmed more than once, and things just feel more level, even *with* the sleep deprivation.
  2. I do have the insurance to monitor and fix this sleep deprivation problem.  The problem right now is getting in to be seen at the sleep center, because they are so backed up.  I do have an appointment on Tuesday, and my medical supply store RT offered to help me on Monday, if I need it.
  3. People can be really decent to you when you treat them with more respect than what they are expecting to get.
  4. The relationship between LarBear and I gets better by the minute.  We have laughed our butt’s off this week at many different things, as well as spent a lot of good quality time, several productive discussions, and he is really just everything I ever wanted out of a significant other, and always thought that I could never get.
  5. Thinking about what I might do post-DBT…maybe become a peer support for the group.  Just throwing that out there as a wild and crazy idea, and that is also way down the road (about a year), but I think it might be really cool.

I found this photo/word/thingie on FB, and thought it was just exactly how I feel about my life right now, so I wanted to share it with y’all.  It’s with this that I’m out, off to celebrate number 6, which was finding some really nice steaks in my freezer!

numinous

Detachment via Exhaustion

You know you’re about done for the day when you start muttering the f-bomb under your breath with frustration as you try to open the new drop-down menu on your dashboard.  Damn drop-down menu, damn laptop mouse.

The past week or two have been really super-busy at work.  Non-stop, go-go-go action.  It feels good to get a lot done, because there are definitely periods where not much is going on.  It would be nice if I had some time to work on my curriculums, but 80% of my job duties on my position description are for discharge planning.  So, there ya go.  I just keep telling myself I’ll work on it someday.  Sure wish some of these people would get discharged, though, and stay discharged.  So goes any type of social service work though, I have found.

Gavin came to the house this past weekend to look through the garage.  It was hard for him, hard for my mom to watch.  I suppose he’ll come back a few more times to look through the garage before everything is sold.  I wish there was something I could do to make it less painful, but there’s not.  Except pour a little whiskey at day’s end.

Dr. Love and I have plans to go camping this weekend.  He managed to get Friday – Sunday off somehow.  I am looking forward to it, looking forward to getting in some serious relaxation without worrying like I do when I’m at home about every.little.thing.  The lake seems to melt all that away, for the most part.

I feel so tired, I am out of it.  My sleep has been off for, well, for the last 29 years of my life.  It has better moments, it has worse moments, but overall it has improved greatly since the CPAP.  Someone posted on my stepsister’s Facebook page that new parents end up with a six month “sleep deficit” by the end of the first year.  Because they have to get up and feed the baby every two hours, so on and so forth.  If that one year period creates a six-month “sleep deficit,” I figure I’m on at least a 15 year sleep deficit.  Alas, that’s just the way it goes.

Yael Naim, Far Far

In the Groove

I have had several life-changing events happen since I blogged last.  This blog generally falls by the way-side and is the first thing to be dropped when life gets busy.  I don’t make it a priority to blog, but I do like to catch things up every once in awhile.

Dr. Love has a job!!  He is working for a company that provides housing in a group-home setting.  He is really loving it and it has been SO good for him!  One of the best things is that he has to get up at 6:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday.  He really struggled with it at first, feeling tired all the time, but I think now part of him likes it because he is getting so much done.  He works split-shifts on Thursday and Friday, which means I’m on my own for those two nights.  He has also recently picked up a 7a.m. – 3p.m. shift on Saturdays, which I am starting to get used to.  In a way, it is nice, because it gives me time to take care of all of those things on my to-do list.  I do miss him by Saturday evening and it is true, that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Things are going really well for us and our relationship, it seems, has been developing into something stronger and more wonderful every day.

I also have a new job.  Right after my last post, my employer informed me that they were eliminating my position from their programming.  I was fairly upset about it, but not panicked.  Being the very lucky gal I am (plus all the hard work proving myself as one excellent employee 🙂 ), the state decided to create a position for me.  I was unemployed for two whole days!  I am doing basically the same things with a smaller caseload.  I like it because I feel like I am able to do more for each inmate and it is more case-management oriented, which I really enjoy and have a lot of experience with.  I am also able to get in on the ground level of a new curriculum that is centered around mothers on the inside and will also be doing some program development and starting some trauma groups on my own.  I’m really excited and the potential for career growth and development is HUGE.  Not to mention great benefits and more pay, working for the state.  I really love my co-workers and enjoy going to work every day.  That’s a big change from working for the mental health contractor, where I usually dreaded going to work every day.  The morale is much higher with the state.

More news…I quit my DBT group.  I missed three sessions in a row due to having trainings to go to with the new job, and I didn’t feel like I missed it.  I really just needed a refresher to get back into practicing my skills and I felt like I had it.  I know that if I start struggling again that I can go back to it.  For now, I am working on practicing my skills every day and also am focusing on those skills in therapy, which I still do every other week with Goddess of Mindfulness.

I recently started a Slim-Fast diet.  My eating, and thus my weight, have really spiraled out of control over the past few months and I got to the point where I was so uncomfortable that I really felt like I needed to do something.  I was at the point where just going to work and doing the walking that I have to do in a day’s time was wearing me out, making my body ache, and I really couldn’t do all of the things I wanted to do to be more active.  The diet is going really well and the pounds are coming off.  Having less variety at breakfast and lunch is actually a good thing for me.  I just vary my snacks and my dinners so I don’t get too bored, and alternate shake flavors.  In the mornings, at least on the weekends, I will make myself a smoothie with a shake and frozen fruit, which is always a real treat.  I do not feel deprived at all and am enjoying being able to regulate my eating better.  Plus, I am feeling great, more energy and less achiness.

Something that has truly been life-changing is finally getting a sleep study done and starting to use a CPAP machine.  It has really made all of the difference in the world.  I was diagnosed with “severe, chronic, symptomatic obstructive sleep apnea” and, the very day after my sleep study went to the medical supply company closest to my house and was fitted for a mask and machine.  While it took some getting used to and adjusting, the transition really wasn’t all that hard and it is AMAZING how much better and awake I feel.  I have always really struggled with sleeping and feeling rested, often falling asleep during the day and feeling dazed all the time, and it’s magical how CLEAR I feel now, and how rested I am.

So, I plan to try and blog at least once a week, especially now that I have more “me” time due to Dr. Love working.  It helps me to clear my mind and I like to keep family and friends updated with what I am doing.  I do need to get a new pic for my masthead and if anyone has a great one that symbolizes springtime, feel free to pass it on.  I’ll even give you credit!  🙂

Jack Johnson, Times Like These