Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Sleep, Therefore I Am

Day five of Blaugust!

Sleep has always been an interesting thing for me. I love it, but sometimes I've felt like I do it too much. Maybe there's a reason for that. Let's find out, shall we?

When I was a child I used sleep as an escape mechanism. Remembering dreams has always come easy to me and during darker days I enjoyed my dream life more than my waking one.

My parents yelled at each other a lot before their divorce. Sleep helped distract me from the yelling. I'd hear fighting start, then I'd bury my head under the covers while holding on to my security blanket and wait for the dreams to begin.

After the divorce my dad hit the bottle hard, even more than he had before. This caused issues during my stays with him. We'd go out to dinner, or a sporting event, and he'd get plastered before driving back to his apartment. I fell asleep during these drives because I figured maybe if he careened into another car I'd sleep through my death. It got especially bad when he would drink before driving me out to my mom's house for the next week. I'd sleep during the drive and then run to my room and sleep some more.

In high school my sleep schedule broke. I'd started working and that meant I'd have to stay up until 11 or 12 every night to finish homework. 6 am showers became shower naps. Grades slipped, and my mood started to shift. I also developed terrible back problems during this time.

After high school I started to dive into house parties and, eventually, bar hopping. Coupled with my periods of unemployment my sleep schedule changed. I'd find myself going to bed as the sun came up only to wake at lunchtime. My schedule during my time at The Art Institute stayed very similar, only with less total hours of sleep. Needless to say the health and emotional problems continued.

After I graduated I fell into what might be my greatest bout of depression. From 2009 to 2011 I was either unemployed or working as a receptionist at a dog grooming shop. This caused me to spiral down into a pit of despair. Sleep was, once again, my escape. I'd spend most of the day sleeping when I wasn't working. I'm talking, wake up at 6am, nap from 10am-1pm, eat, play games, sleep from 4pm-8pm, stay up til 4am, wake up at noon. That was the kind of life I led. On the days I worked I'd sleep from the time I got home until about 5am. Getting 12+ hours of sleep wasn't unusual.

It wasn't until I got my job at Rockwell that I was able to sort of adjust to a "normal" schedule. Go to bed between 11-12 and wake up around 7. It was perfect! Then I got let go and it was back to unemployment schedule for a year until I got my gig at Blizzard. Almost immediately every sleep-related issue faded. Some still exist—mostly because of my god awful bed—but they're much rarer now.

Now I try to maintain that same type of schedule, even on the weekends. I know this is what I have to do, even if I get made fun of for it at times, because if I don't it's all too easy for me to lose out on sleep. And I do enjoy my sleep. My dreams are still vivid and mostly pleasant. Even better are the days that I get to wake up with my love lying next to me.

1 comment:

  1. Sleep was an escape for me from a young age, too. I guess my grandmother was the same way. I used to lucid dream very often as a kid, but not much as I got older.

    I also hear you on the sleep schedule. For me, it takes zero time for me to adjust to being awake all night, but months to get back to a daytime schedule. I have to be careful not to get too off during weekends for that reason.