Last week I started the week on no sleep at all. Mainly because of my teeth aching so badly that I could not sleep, but also because of the child's sleep similar trick. She had slept until 3PM last Sunday because I spent the morning reading and writing, and so she did not sleep at all. Of course, she came right home on Monday afternoon and went to bed. No such luck for me, as I was scheduled in five counties and drove home from Richmond (through Madison, Fayette, Scott, Woodford and Franklin counties, if anyone is counting) at almost 7PM Monday night with the windows down, freezing myself and blaring the radio and trying to stay awake to drive....
I give these vignettes as illustrations about some of the reasons why I don't sleep. There are more, of course.
Back in my mid-thirties I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I snore. I stop breathing while I am asleep and sometimes wake myself up when I do stop breathing. I do sleep much better with a C-Pap machine. I even have an old one. Of course, it needs filters, hoses, etc. changed regularly. I last did this about 4 or 5 years ago. It cost me over $200. It was an ordeal. I had to call around and finally go meet a lady who reminded me of nothing but Mr Rogers' grandmother in a strangely quiet office building. The room she led me to had a desk or two and several boxes on the floor. She furtively slid my C-pap hose, a bagged filer and mask shield, all wrapped in flimsy plastic across the desk at me.
She kept clearing her throat and saying she was nervous, she had never sold to anyone without health insurance before. I felt illicit. The entire transaction felt like a drug deal. At any moment, I thought the Republican proprietary police would burst in and convict me - without trial, of course - of trying to purchase goods and services reserved for the Chosen Americans, lucky enough to have health insurance, running vehicles and Clean Modern Homes. A fifties nightmare.
So the sleep apnea is another reason why my quality of sleep is slightly shitty. When I do sleep, I don't get the sleep "normal" people get.
Another reason I don't sleep is anxiety. I think many of my physical problems can be traced back to anxiety. At the core of my being, I feel like an impostor pretending to be an adult. Being the only adult in a household - the only working adult who worries about things like working, paying bills, having food, feeding the kids, keeping a roof over their heads, not living in filth, the kids' educations, the kids' health, et cetera - scares the shit out of me. I know that, no matter what, no matter how sick or bad I feel, no matter how overwhelmed, that I have to get up and pretend to be an adult, ignore my interests, desires, and needs for 12 to 20 hours a day while I go to work. Once at work, everything is my problem. Toilets need to be cleaned? I do it. Trash need to be taken out? I do it. Phone ringing? I answer it. Filing needs to be done? I come in on a weekend for a full work day and do nothing but that. Someone wants to blow off their 4 to 6 to (maximum!) 8 hour day? I do their work and mine too. I am the only one not allowed to have an "off" day or a day off. Back at home, I am an asshole because I work too late. But I am also an asshole because I don't make enough money to fund the 17 year old's social life while supporting the husband's cigarette habit while allowing us to live in a palace. I am also an asshole because I bitch about money and feeling overwhelmed. I also am an asshole because I don't care if the other two adults got to watch their soap opera that day, or what time in the afternoon they decided to get out of bed. I am also an asshole because when my family gets sick, unless I have at least $50 cash in hand, they have to stay sick and weather it through. No diagnoses or antibiotics for us. We aren't Chosen Americans, despite my 60+ hour work week.
So, you see, I am slightly stressed. This does not promote good sleep habits.
I also do all the things you aren't supposed to do. Fall asleep with the television on. Keep it on all night. Read a stack of books and fall asleep with them cascading all over the bed. Drink too many fluids after 7PM so I can visit the Tinkletorium all night. Ache with the fibro/toothache/migraine/arthritis/irritable bowel syndrome/gastric hell du jour and not be able to sleep. Have a kid who sleeps whenever I am not in the house to interact with her so she cannot sleep at night when I am home. I nap at inappropriate times on the weekends (occasionally).
When it comes to sleep, I am an idiot.