A Conversation About Sleep

The end of the school year is killing me on so many levels. It’s 11:00 now and I just finished working with Erin on her math homework. That is, all but the six we couldn’t figure out. It’s like there is this huge push to get as much in on the last week of school. So darn counterproductive because everyone is just maxed out. And that is including the teachers.

Yesterday we had a Girl Scout meeting and that lasted until 8:00. After I chatted up each of the parents when they picked up their daughter, I didn’t get back in the house until about 9:00.

Then work, I wasn’t able to leave until 6:30 today, which means I arrived home at 7:30. I literally walked in, sat in the chair, and went to sleep until almost 9:00.  8:44 per my Fitbit:

Fitbit Nap

 

Speaking of sleep – look at how awful I sleep.  I mean it is actually pretty disturbing to me. I go in for a physical in a few weeks and I’m going to go and have a sleep study done and see if I need a CPAP machine. I am so tired every day that I have trouble staying up on my way to work. I often sit in the car and sleep for another 15 minutes when I pull into work.

Fitbit Week Sleep

The little hash marks mean that I was restless and when it is red, that means that I was actually up.

I know a big problem is that I have to sleep with ‘one eye open’ because Rob often has low blood sugar at night and occasionally I need to help if he goes too low. I recently told him that I think I need to move out of the room and get my own bed because it is just not healthy to never get a good night sleep.

This reminds me to talk about last Friday, if you notice, I had a little catnap from 9:10-11:17. I took the day off work because I had an early morning violation, I mean ultrasound, of my lady parts. They found a cyst on my right ovary. Interesting. That explains the insane pain I feel when I ovulate on that side. I have no idea what they are going to do, my doctor never even called me back, I just read the results on my medical portal when they posted. It looks to be about an inch and from what I’ve read online they don’t really do much with something that small.

Later that day I had an appointment with my boob doctor. Things look good. They were happy with how I was healing and packing really wasn’t helping much because it would fall right out since it didn’t have much depth any longer. Would you know they burned the shit out of my incision and the remaining opening with some silver nitrate. It hurt for a freaking day afterward, but it looks like it really kicked the closing of the incision into overdrive. I’m definitely looking forward to putting this behind me. I’m praying it doesn’t come back.

That’s all I have for the night – I’m going to try and get some sleep :)

Honoring Your True Self

I’m up early and it’s Sunday. The sun is shining pretty bright and I have a feeling it is nice outside. I can’t remember the last time I was up early on a Sunday. Sunday’s are typically the only day that I have to just sleep in. I feel like I’ve been sleep deprived for a very long time and Sunday just wraps me up in a nice warm blanket and says, “stay, sleep, let the world pass you by”. And like a good listener of the world I say, “thank you very much, I will do that!”

What’s new?

I’ve been purposely walking for exercise for six weeks now. My goal was to make it a full six weeks and to then evaluate how I felt, where I had come from and where I want to go. I’d say being up, feeling good and ready to take on the world so early means that my body is actually healing, even if the scale tells me I’m still larger than life. The funny thing is that I don’t even care about that damn thing anymore.

Over the past couple months years, I’ve been striving to meet certain personal goals. I have been told I have been too hard on myself at times, suggested by others that these goals didn’t really matter and they surly didn’t define me, but I keep trying to fill this empty void that is inside me. When you know with all your heart that you are someone different and then everyday you wake up and you’re not this person you are meant to be, life gets hard. It causes us to make bad decisions, stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, and making it so very easy to neglect ourselves.

Do you ever feel like you are not honoring your true self?

So over the past few weeks I have been doing just that, honoring my true self. Taking care of my body. Organizing the things in my life. Looking internally and listening to my voice, finding out just who Catherine really is. I’m don’t know much yet, but I do fully understand that I am ready to break free of the bullshit. This I know for sure!

What’s next?

So I’m taking on another step tomorrow and I’m going to be focusing on the next six weeks. Since I feel my walking is now a habit and my body is used to the idea of moving again, I’m going to focus on my food. Much the same way that I just worked on the exercise, one day at a time. Evaluating my likes / dislikes, finding what foods make me feel better and which ones make me feel like crap, taking the time out to actually pack healthy things for myself so that I am prepared all day long. For me, it’s all about taking small steps to eventually get to some larger goals met.

I took this picture below my first day out walking. I was so weak from being sick earlier this year that I was unable to walk much faster than a snail. I kept at it, taking one step at a time and now I’m here today much stronger than I was before. I’m not perfect, but I am very much whole.

sidewalk

Winning

So my depression talks. Just like you and me. I have a running dialog with it all the time. That is why I am seeking out meditation, because I believe that I can quiet that voice down, maybe even shut it the hell up.

One of the greatest stories depression tells me starts when I go on antidepressants.  As soon as I start feeling better, depression says,

“hey, you know these meds you are taking? You think they make you feel good, but really you are missing out on life. You might not be depressed, but you are not happy either. The medication takes all emotion out of life and what is life worth living if you don’t feel anything?”

I then stop taking the medication and I spiral down into a hole.

Depression tells me another story too, it’s a bit simpler, but basically he says,

“HEY!!!!! Did you notice how great you feel????  You don’t need those crappy antidepressants anymore…YOU ARE OVER THE HUMP!”

and then…I stop taking them.

It’s a cycle I’ve been unable to break since I’ve started treatment when I was 19. My last cycle was years ago and when I stopped the last time, I said I was never going to go back on medication again because I’d rather suffer than play the on / off game. These past four years have been the hardest of my life and I haven’t went back to the medicine.

That was until the medical drama that started this year and I needed help. I promised myself when I asked for the pills that I would stop playing that game. That no matter how much shit depression talks, I know I am sick and I need these medications. For life.

****

So meditation has been going fabulously. Things are clicking and I’m feeling like this has been a missing piece of my life. I sit down to meditate around 9:00 every evening and some days I may even sit back and enjoy a guided session beyond that. It has been nothing short of wonderful.

On Saturday I sat down for my session and my mind starts to wander. I push through the session and I’m happy, but I felt somewhat of an emptiness. I didn’t recognize it until Sunday, but depression was at work trying to fuck up this good thing that was taking over my life.

Sunday I sit down for my session and I have the shittiest session again and this time I hear depressions voice,

“Hey, you know these problems you are having these last few sessions?  Yeah, it’s the meds. They are stopping you from really exploring the benefits of meditation. This is the extent of what you are ever going to feel from meditation unless you stop taking the meds or quit meditating. You decide, but something has got to give.”

And this is where I stayed all day. His voice just running through my head all day.

Tonight is my meditation class and depression tried talking me out of going, but I plugged through and made it to class. During one of our exercises, our instructor started the session by reading a disclaimer about how meditation should never replace therapy, and what we are doing should never be considered therapy. He explained to us that he was going to ask us to go the “that place”. You know the uncomfortable place at the pit of your gut that is raw and ugly and sparks all your sadness.

Oh, I know that place well and I go to it instantly.

I close my eyes and I see my 19 year old self, in the living room of my apartment up at school. I’m on the phone with my mom, the health insurance card in my hand, I’m telling her how sick I am with my depression and that I needed to come home.

I felt nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to feel the pain we were reaching for.

“You can’t bring it up because of the medication.” says depression.

Damn, I think to myself. Depression might be right. This is my trigger. This is my place. This is the defining moment of my life. My mom failed to tell my dad I was sick, and when he found out I had failed out of school, kicked me to the street.

I realize this story wasn’t working so I went to my second heaviest place of pain.

I was just beat by someone I love. I locked myself in the bathroom and I was black and blue, crying, leaning over the sink. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was my mom in the reflection. The sight makes me cry harder. I’ve repeated the cycle.

Nothing. I feel nothing!

The instructor rings the bell, everyone opens their eyes and a box of tissues is placed in the center of the room for anyone that feels the need to clean up a bit from the experience.

I sulk.

I cross my arms and mope the rest of the class. Depression dances in my head, not just with a ribbon, but he’s got a trophy too…he fucking won and he feels like a million bucks.

The class starts wrapping up and the instructor tells us a story.

He’s at the park with his granddaughter, she is 3-4 years old. They start racing to an imaginary finish line and when they arrive she stumbles a bit a falls over, but not hard enough to cause any type of pain or injury. He goes to pick her up and she starts sobbing uncontrollably. He knows that her crying is about something greater than her fall and they eventually calm her down enough to ask her questions and she tells them that she was crying because she was a big girl and big girls don’t fall like that. He explains to the class, we could have done a lot of things in this moment, we could have assured her that she was a big girl. We could have told her to brush it off and go play, but we didn’t…we just held her.

The tears start streaming down my face and I sit in silence, hoping the rest of the class doesn’t see me crying. My heart is so heavy it feels like a weight is sitting on my heart.

Our instructor tells us to close our eyes and as I sit and meditate, the tears stream down my cheeks and start collecting on my chest in a pool. When the session is over, I wipe my face, blow my nose. I tell depression that it can fuck off and it can shove that trophy up his ass.