Posts Tagged With: exhaustion

“Sleep…the Best Meditation”

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

 ~ Anthony Burgess ~

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for sleep.

Sometimes sleep eludes me. My body weary and eyes bleary, my brain an emotional maze of nonsense, and yet that gentle slide into oblivion simply refuses to happen.

At other times I just don’t manage to squeeze in enough sleep to fully rest my frazzled nerves and the frayed edges of ache and age.

In fact, I recently summed up my life since age twenty in four words:

I need more sleep.

Original art by Adolph Menzel - http://www.villa-grisebach.de/

Original art by Adolph Menzel – http://www.villa-grisebach.de/

Years, no decades, of my journal entries lay peppered with the phrase, “I’m so tired,” or “I’m so exhausted,” and, “If I could just get a nap.” What boring journals.

Some of that I lay at the feet of parenting babies and toddlers and teens. It’s a given, for parenting requires our all. But sadly, some of the constant fatigue I can lay at the feet of depression and its insidious energy sucking vortex of gloom and misery. No amount of sleep cures that kind of tired.

Lately, though, I’ve waged a daily battle against exhaustion –  emotional, spiritual and physical. When my head meets the pillow I feel such incredible gratitude to be horizontal, to be resting, to have sleep waiting to take me somewhere far away.

Exhausted Beyond All Reason

Last night I called it done at 7:45 p.m. Astounding! Normally it’s eleven or midnight.

No I didn’t drag myself around the house doing this and that. You know that wasted time of “getting ready for bed” that takes an eternity? Nope. I felt such lassitude I don’t really even remember pulling my pajamas over my head or pulling the chain on my bedside lamp. I do know the clock hadn’t yet rolled over to eight when I set my alarm and pulled the covers up around my chin.

photo 2.PNG

Every morning, except Sunday!

Six hours later, at two a.m. my body woke up. Not for any noise or nightmare. No. Six hours equals how much sleep I normally get and my body knows it, so it woke up. Calmly I reassured my brain and body that it could rest another three hours. Three more hours!!! Imagine a snooze button that does that!

I woke still groggy but rested and thrilled, yes thrilled, at having gotten so much sleep. The pace of my morning walk surprised me, less strolling and more actual forward momentum. Surprising what a little (fifty percent more) sleep will do for a person.

There’s a solution to that…

I know I should go to bed earlier. And I’ve literally been telling myself that every single day for years, “Tonight, I am going to bed early.” And nada. Nope. I get sidetracked, waylaid, pulled in, tricked by a series of just-one-more-things.

I wish sleep didn’t feel like such a luxury.

Naps fall in that decadence category, too, don’t they? And yet, twenty minutes with my eyes closed mid-afternoon can make the difference between a moody unproductive evening and a cheerful, pleasant one. That’s not decadence, that’s survival!

Everything seems more manageable after some decent sleep. Doesn’t it? Yes. Yes, it does.

This sums it up nicely:

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” ~ John Steinbeck

Yes. Today I’m particularly grateful for sleep and its restorative, sanity-keeping, energizing, blissful escape. I’m guessing you are too.

~~~~~

The title of today’s post comes from a quote by the Dalai Lama, “Sleep is the best meditation.”

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sleep and Happy Potatoes

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...

Happy Potatoes

Sleep has been on my mind. I want some, I try to get some, I try a little and I like it. Then it sneaks off into a corner and avoids me. I manage to wrangle the sleep back into bed. Not long after that my alarm jangles the sleep out of my grip and I’m alone there in the bed with my exhaustion.

Occasionally I toy with the idea of sleep meds. But I had a near disastrous relationship with one once. And another bad relationship with another one.

I mostly have to rely on what people told me about the second experience as I wasn’t really there for it. Ironic, yes?

Doc had given me a prescription for this lovely med which all but guaranteed a blissful night of ecstasy in complete and total slumber. I was sold. Bought it, brought it home, couldn’t wait for nightfall.

If I recall correctly the doctor’s words were, “you need to BE IN YOUR BED when you take this medication!” Exclamation point. His point: this stuff works into your system very quickly.

Okay. No problem.

The first time I took it, sleep and I hit it off quickly. No glitches. Perfect. Woke refreshed and not groggy. Wowser! The stars sang, the clouds danced, the sun broke out in a chorus of hallelujahs, as did I.

A month or two later I’d kind of forgotten the warning my doc had given me.

Sleep had been elusive once more. Sneaking off into unknown hiding places, avoiding me like I had bad breath and body odor. I felt drained, exhausted, desperately in need of sleep.

English: Potato variety Blue Swede Deutsch: Ka...

Blue Potato

So I told MSH that I’d be taking one of my magic sleep pills. Always a good idea to do if you’re planning on being all but comatose for eight hours.

He said, “Enjoy!” and went off for his nightly shower.

I dragged myself to the kitchen, popped the magical sleep potion into my mouth, downed it with a glass of water. Then I saw the mound of dishes in the sink. Figured I’d deal with those real quick before I traipsed off to Neverland.

Then I felt a bit light-headed.

Oh yeah…I remembered the doc’s warning.

I’d better go to bed. The dishes can wait.

I made it to my bed. Slid between the covers for a trip into Lalaville. I hollered a goodnight to MSH.

Then the bookshelf moved.

Correction. The bookshelf morphed. It became a large round bookshelf. Which then became a large elephant. I yelled at MSH to come see the really cool bookshelf trick. He yelled something back that I couldn’t hear over the shower water running. I insisted he needed to get out of the shower and see this amazing thing our bookshelf could do.

I remember the bookshelf then floated off the floor and hovered between the bed and the shower room. I vaguely remember my middle daughter talking to me and calling out for her dad.

She tells me that I talked about the happy elephant shelf  becoming a potato, a floating potato to be precise. The colors were so pretty apparently. Then the potato was sad. A sad, sad potato. According to my daughter I became fairly nonsensical after that. Finally, she says I let my head rest on the pillow and drifted off the sleep.

The next morning I woke refreshed, but nothing stellar happened. No sun, stars or clouds singing or dancing. I simply felt rested.

Then I heard the tale of my nighttime exploits. Hard to believe, but two people swore it really happened. It felt real, I almost remembered some of it and so I believed them.

We refer to this as “the happy potato incident.” Not sure why, since the potato was apparently very sad. Happy potatoes sound better, I suppose. Who wants to remember sad potatoes. Mushy, smelly, drippy, rotting potatoes. Yuck.

English: A Sleeping moon in a cap.

I wrote “HALLUCINATIONS” on the prescription bottle for this sleep inducing, hallucinogenic drug and have never taken it again.

I’ve since learned there are even more bizarre experiences documented in many places on the internet about this particular sleeping med. I was lucky I stayed in my bed and didn’t wander. I was fortunate not to eat anything inedible. I was grateful to be among family.

Sleep and I still have a tempestuous relationship. Sometimes we are fine bedfellows. Other times we fight and argue and disagree about how much time we should spend together.

More is usually better, if you ask me.

Isn’t that what everyone wants out of a relationship?

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Scrabblize: A New Word for the Dictionary

Scrabble game

Scrabble game (Photo credit: jcolman)

Actually I should probably spell the title of this post Scrabble I’s. It sounds the same but means something different.

Let me explain.

About year ago life pulled me up short and quick. One too many sure-I’d-be-happy-to’s, one straw too many on this particular camel’s back, far too many aches on the heart, and far too little sleep. I’d been through a couple of tough years and was working my way down off the teetering cliff edge of stress and worry.

One day it just hit. I couldn’t do it anymore. My body and my brain and my heart all just said, “Nope. No more. Not going another step. Done. Finished.”

Kaput – On Empty

Instead of getting out of bed and getting on with the getting on I dragged myself to the couch and sobbed for an hour or two or three. Then I lay there like a bag of rocks. Unmoving. Unmoved. Worn down completely.

Talked things over with MSH, with a conclusion that I needed a break, needed to get away, regardless of our non-existent resources. He pulled a rabbit out of hat and a few hours later I found myself on a plane headed to my cousin’s house. My return ticket was for a week later with the option of staying longer if I needed to.

I did a ton of sleeping, especially the first few days. I did a mountain of thinking. And got in some high quality nature time. Denver is awesome that way.  And in the evenings my cousin and I played Scrabble, live and in-person, instead of on the internet like we usually do.

As usual she won most of the games

In Scrabble you can get some weird letter combinations on your tray. Seven letters and all of them vowels is a common one. Or all of them consonants, happens more often than I care to count.

It’s not even unusual to get three or even four of the same letter on your tray at once.That’s annoying and kind of useless for scoring the big words and high numbers.

Something weird happened during one particular game. Cue the eerie music.

My tray filled up with “I” tiles.

What the aitch?

Getting a tray full of almost all the “I” tiles was aggravating. Can you think of any words with lots of I’s? I can’t. I couldn’t. Even if I cheated and used a word builder program on the computer, which I don’t do, there was little I could do with that many I’s.

Français : Lettre I dans le Scrabble

There are nine tiles with the letter “I” in the version of Scrabble we were playing. I got eight of them, not all at once, but close together, with six on my tray at one time.

“Maybe the tiles are trying to tell me something,” I said to my cousin.

Ever the wise and thoughtful one, she asked me what I thought it meant to get almost all the “I” tiles.

I figured it was the “game maker’s” way of telling me I needed to think about “I” more often. It was MY turn for a while. “I” needed to take care of my needs, my health, my mental well-being, my basics.

I kind of knew that by then anyway, but this was just a strange reinforcing visual of what needed to happen.

The song by that country western dude came to mind almost immediately, you know the one, by Toby Keith:

“I wanna talk about me

Wanna talk about I

Wanna talk about number one

Oh my me my

What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see

I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally

I wanna talk about meeeeee

I wanna talk about me”

I didn’t just want to talk about me. “I” needed to talk about and take care of me for a change. The Scrabble tiles were pretty clear about it.

Like Spinning Plates

Spinning Plates Lego Style  (Photo credit: Jameson42)

Balancing Rocks or Spinning Plates

Well, my cousin and I discussed the need for the ever-elusive concept of balance in our lives. That seems a sort of common thread in many of our conversations. How to achieve balance, why it’s so difficult to find, what to drop or add where.

I don’t normally take advice from Scrabble tiles. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But this one time, it seemed the perfect recipe for finding balance.

To twenty or more parts “U”

add eight parts “I”

for a more reasonable, balanced, livable life.

Stir well.

Season to taste.

Add more “I” as needed.

I’m certain that escaping to paradise for a week isn’t a normally balanced way of adding more “I” to one’s life. But it sure helped mine out.

Not your typical resolution

I returned to real life with a resolve to take care of myself more conscientiously.

I have an almost daily reminder when “My turn” pops up on my computer Scrabble game. There’s often an “I” tile that tweaks my balance meter and causes me to check my “I” gauges.

Writing this blog is part of that “I” time. Every day I focus on “I” for an hour or two, doing what I love, writing, thinking, and then writing some more. Then I get on with my day, taking care of all the “U”s in my life.

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(Photo credit: Emma Humphrey)

Scrabble I’s.

Scrabblize. It might not be in any dictionary, but it’s in my vocabulary anyway.

Your turn.

Have you ever gotten a message or advice you needed from an unusual source or in an odd way?

It’d be fun to hear about it, if you’d like to share.

Categories: Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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