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!


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

To Heck and Back

Monday was pretty stressful.  Between my sleep study orientation in the morning to major drama with my car to deep concerns about money, given the upcoming cost of sleep studies, CPAP equipment, and now a car that needs fixing, I was ready to pull my hair out by the end of the day.

Let’s not mention that I was only able to clock in 7.5 hours yesterday due to car issues and sleep study orientation.  Seems like I didn’t get jack done during those hours, either, because I was too busy worrying.about.money.

I ended up leaving work early.  Just couldn’t take another minute of it, really.  And really, I think it was a wise mind decision.  My rational mind told me I had to stay until at least 6:00 p.m., no matter what, but my emotional mind was telling me that I was on the verge of a breakdown.  My wise mind found that middle ground, realizing there was no way I was getting anything else done and that I really needed a break.  Yay for wise mind!

After dropping the car off at the shop (in a scary neighborhood, nonetheless) and getting home, I immediately started working on self-soothe skills because I was pretty wired up.  Poor Dr. Love got a good taste of that, let’s say, and decided to leave me be for awhile.  I cooked dinner (marinated pork chops, mexican rice QoB style, and green beans) and started to feel better almost immediately.  It’s amazing how much cooking has become a self-soothe for me.  Really, it fits under a broad variety of the categories — self-soothe, distract, building mastery, and so on.  It just feels good and I think that’s amazing because there were days when even looking at a recipe was enough to bring me to ground zero because cooking was just.that.stressful.

To calm myself down even further, I talked to QoB on the phone while laying on the couch.  There is something about laying on that couch that is magical.  Just a feeling of “ahhhhh, relaxation…mellow, dude.”  Now I know why Dr. Love spends so much time lying there.  🙂

So I will be without a car for at least today, maybe tomorrow as well.  My mechanic didn’t know if he would be able to fit it in today but I will keep my fingers crossed.  It will be hard to be without a car because I won’t be able to get off grounds to smoke or talk on the phone or get away from the stress.  My plan is to take breaks by going outside and walking around the track and to chew gum when I’m dying for nicotine.  Should be a good experiment, if nothing else.

The beauty of not having a car is that Dr. Love has to get up and take me to work, which motivates him to stay up and get a lot of things done.  He has been amazing around the house lately, cleaning like a mad man, organizing, working on little projects.  I have not seen him in this good of spirits in a long time and I think we can attribute that to the entry-level-IT jobs popping up everywhere that he is applying to like mad and the Celexa that I kind of forced him to try again.  Whatever it is, he’s in a good place and that makes me happy.  Doesn’t hurt that it means my kitchen was thoroughly cleaned and the bathroom scrubbed, as well as all the laundry being done and the floors vacuumed.  He was even complaining about running out of things to do, so he went and bought all of the necessary stuff to change the oil and filters in both of our cars.  He finished his but, will have to wait on mine until it is out of the shop, obviously.

Dr. Love turned me onto this video.  Totally cool!

OK Go, This Too Shall Pass — Rube Goldberg Machine version

What’s Up, Doc?

After three straight days of minimal sleep, I passed out on the couch last night, watching Medium, that we had DVR’d from earlier in the evening.  DVR is a beautiful thing.  I’m still not used to having a fancy TV or cable, and when I found out that we could set it to automatically record my favorite shows in case I missed them, I went a little wild. 

I am watching the shop today so that the Big Dog can go get a cavity filled.  So far, nothing exciting, but then again, the wind chill outside is -5 degrees.  Why don’t people want to go do outdoor activities in that kind of weather…hrrmmmm.  Somehow the Big Dog manages to stay busy most of the day, though, doing inventory and calling people and making lists and God knows what else.  I know that the big garden and outdoor show is coming up soon, so likely a lot of preparations for that. 

In related news, the boat show is this weekend.  I am really REALLY dying to go, so I need to mention that to QoB and the Big Dog to see if they’re wanting to go.  None of us would be buying a boat (because QoB and the Big Dog already have one), but it’s a fun activity on a cold day.  Plus, there’s popcorn and diet soda.  What more can you really ask for?

I have kept up on my walking.  I’ve walked every day since last Friday and plan to walk again today.  It’s really energizing; especially when Wizzah and I went at 6:00 a.m. yesterday morning and it was chilly and windy and dark.  She was very protective and hyper-vigilant, and when we got home, she immediately started running around the house, barking like crazy, just because all the cold and the wind makes her high, I think. 

I had an appointment with my pdoc yesterday.  It did not go as great as I had planned.  I went in and told him that I am having a hard time sleeping and that I eventually want to taper off Klonopin, but not right at this moment because I am getting ready to start a new job and I don’t want to go off the deep end in the thick of that. 

He stated that my sleep and revved-uppedness in the evenings are related to physical problems and he wants me to go do a sleep study.  He also ordered me to start tapering Klonopin effective that day at a rate much more rapid than I have seen recommended on the Internet.  Because this was not what I wanted to hear, I got pissed.  And stayed pissed pretty much throughout the day. 

Of course, I took it out on Dr. Love, who was also having a crappy day.  We argued a little and then I went to QoB and the Big Dog’s house to vent.  Let’s just say that they threw a little reality back in my face and told me why the doctor was saying it was a physical problem:

1)  I have taken up to three sleeping pills at a time, with no effect on my sleep patterns.

2)  I am overweight and possibly have sleep apnea.  The Big Dog has said that he has seen me sleep, and that it’s not a pretty sight.  Dr. Love pretty much concurs with that.

3)  I have a lot of the warning signs, plus the genetic predisposition for diabetes, which might explain why I wake up on the hour every hour and have to pee. 

4)  Related to #4, sometimes I am so fast asleep and need to pee so badly that I wet the bed a little bit before I can wake up and make it to the bathroom.

So, yes, I suppose it is possible that my problems with sleeping are physical.  Highly probable even.  I am going to call the local hospital today and see if they do sleep studies so the pdoc can make a referral, but need to check first to see if my insurance will pay for such a thing. 

Also, it is becoming increasingly apparent that I need a primary care physician.  It isn’t for lack of trying that I don’t have one.  I am on state-sponsored insurance and there are no doctors in town that are accepting new patients with my type of insurance.  I did have a great PCP and she left for private practice quite some time ago.  Let’s just say that I am well-known at the walk-in clinics. 

Thankfully, I have a gynecologist that will take care of my birth control and antibiotics for acne.  Between him and my pdoc, I am covered as far as the absolutely necessary stuff, but it would probably be good to know if my thyroid is out of whack or if I have developed diabetes. 

In somewhat related news, Dr. Love has agreed to start counseling for depression related to losing his job.  He is somewhat skeptical, but I think it will really help him to figure some things out and to learn some coping skills to help himself feel better.  I do my best to keep him active and give suggestions as to things he could do to make himself feel better and I listen when he talks, but that’s about all I can do. 

I really think he can find himself again if he practices willingness in therapy, which I have been trying to explain to him.  It’s all about willingness.  And I’ll mention for the millionth time that the book Will and Sprit by Gerald May is totally worth reading.  That book saved my life, along with many other things. 

I will have to come back and add a video later, as I am at the shop and there are no speakers around to make sure it will come through.  However, I can tell you that the song that is stuck in my head right now is…

“99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer.  Take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.”

And for some reason, it’s stuck on skip, the number of bottles of beer never goes down…just 99, 99, 99.  I think it is an obsessive tic that I’m not able to shed right at the moment.  Whatever helps you cope, though, right?  🙂

Okay, home from the shop.  Here ’tis…

Sean Kingston, Beautiful Girls — this is not the original video and only does about 1:30 of the song, but it totally cracks me up.  If you want to hear the full song and see the real video, you can do so here.

P.S.  Big Dog just called.  Dr. Love and I now have VIP passes to the boat show…talk about having a great hook-up guy!