I'm indulging in a little self-sympathy. Not self-pity; I know a lot of people are dealing with a lot of crap at any given time in the world and my life, from the outside AND the inside, is really quite nice. But I saw the sleep doctor a couple of days ago, and he went over the readout from my overnight sleep study with me, and by all appearances I have gotten very little 'useful' sleep over the past thirty years or so. I stop breathing multiple times a minute. There are four stages of sleep and before they gave me the mask and the CPAP machine I never made it past the second. Even when I feel like asleep, I'm often not, or not in any kind of healthy, meaningful, refreshing way.
So I'm just taking a moment to feel some sympathy for that me that spent so much time wondering why I could never wake up in the morning. Why I couldn't just get up and have breakfast and go about my day normally, rather than sleeping until the last possible second in order to be ready for the first scheduled thing, then rushing around and feeling like a slothful, lazy failure. Why I would sometimes throw up if I had to get up much earlier than usual. Why everyone else, even if they complained about it, seemed not to dread every single morning as if it was a pitched battle.
It's a little shocking, the list of things that are adversely affected by this - then again it's not, because Jesus, it's sleep, sleep is really fucking important. It skyrockets your risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes (and not just by adding weight, but in some other mysterious circuitous fashion). It contributes to depression and sexual dysfunction. It can lead to irritability, impaired cognitive function and loss of short-term memory, sometimes to the point where dementia is diagnosed ( and I always blamed the children -- sorry, kids!) The sleep doc (who I now and forever love and honour and adore) made a point of telling me that I didn't have this because I was overweight, but because of the size of my palate and the shape of my throat and airway. Then he said that severe chronic fatigue leads to heightened appetite and that the increased strain at night adds to increased sugar production - are you hearing this? Not only is this not my fault because I'm fat, IT MIGHT BE THE REASON I'M FAT). He looked directly at me and said "You have a severe sleeping problem, and it's not your fault." Then he asked me politely to remove my arms from around his neck and get out of his lap.
I'm still balanced on the double edge. What if I didn't have this, or had addressed it sooner? How different would my life have been? Would I have been a better student? Would I have a better employment history? Would I have been a better mother? Would I have felt less like I was stumbling through the first few years of parenthood, barely conscious? Would I have had more children?
You can't think like that, right? Sure, it would have been nice to have a couple more conscious hours every day. But I was a good student. I am a good mother. And I can't say I would have wanted my life to be materially different. All things considered, I am fortunate and grateful to have ended up with this life, these friends, this husband, these children. Maybe not this ass, but hey, if it goes with the territory.....
So I'm taking a few minutes to sympathize with my past self. And then I'm going to try to move forward. To sleep. Perchance to dream.