Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sleep Deprivation and Other Sources of My Current State of Being

I have been feeling the pressure of life quite a bit over the last year and really even more like the last 8 years. I have been going non-stop since I decided to go back to school and get my bachelors degree, I started out by taking 3 or 4 classes a semester and working both a full time and a part time job. I did this for a few years, eventually giving up the second job and just working one full time job with lots of overtime. Then about 4 years ago, I decided that I had gotten all the general education credits I could get at the community college and transferred to Averett University's program for working adults.

This program was going to take about 22 months and then I would have my bachelors degree! This program was only going to be 2 nights a week, one night for class and one night for a study group meeting - I could totally handle this! I had been working 2 jobs and taking classes 3 or 4 nights a week for a few years, cutting back to 1-2 nights a week would be so much better! And it was - for a while!

About the time I started the program I got a promotion at work and started working a lot more, plus I was on call 24/7 so the 2am phone calls were a common occurrence. I started dating my husband about this time too. I was very happy, and feeling a lot less stressed than I had been, but I was still burning the candle at both ends.

We decided to get married in September of last year, and we decided that it would be best for me to continue with school and get my masters degree while I was still in the habit of attending classes and studying. I could feel that I was reaching my limits, but the end result was going to justify all the hard work! I had almost 3 months between completing the BBA and starting the MBA program, and I got married in that small window of free time. The point I am trying to make is that I really have not had a break from all the work/school/life stuff since I started it.

When I met and started living with my husband, his snoring was always an issue, and everything we tried (nose strips, sprays, mouth trays, etc.) failed to help stop the snoring issue. I have been begging him to go to the doctor about it, but I think that he was afraid that they would want him to do surgery which is said to be incredibly painful.

This snoring has gotten much, much worse over the last year. He (and I too) have gained a lot of weight since the wedding, and both of our stress levels have increased with the increase of pressure and responsibility at work. Add this to an increase in his allergies and neither of us have been getting any rest at night. He finally went to the doctor and they did a sleep study. He has severe apnea (he stopped breathing 657 times for up to 48 seconds each time). We should be getting the CPAP machine to help push a constant stream of air into him, which should stop the snoring, keep him breathing and allow both of us some rest, next week. Thank god!

I have been feeling the effects of all this for a while now, but every day and week it gets worse. Over the last two weeks, I have had a huge project at work that required a lot of hours and that has seemed to push me over the edge. I am feeling disoriented, I can't remember things, like I will get up from my desk to go to the bathroom get halfway down the hall and can't remember why I got up. I feel achy all over like I am coming down with a cold or the flu, but without the sore throat or anything. I can't seem to concentrate at work or accomplish anything. I have a massive amount of schoolwork to do and I can't manage to get it done or even care about getting it done.

I went to the doctor Tuesday about 3 things. First was this pain that I have in my right hand - he thinks that this is a repetitive use nerve strain from using the computer and being hunched over a desk (either at work or school or homework) all the time. I am to take some anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers and get some padding for my wrist and elbow and change my chair position if possible.

I also asked him about the persistent bruise on my foot where my husband accidentally stepped on it - it was broken! He said that there was a hairline fracture that has healed and the painful bump (bruise) is calcium buildup where it had healed - no biggie there, nothing to be done!

Then I told him about feeling such exhaustion - he feels that this is massive sleep deprivation caused by the build up of stress with work and school along with the increased snoring issues with my husband. He took blood to check for a thyroid issue or mono, but thinks that I just need to get some good sleep.

I decided to go right home and go to sleep - then I could not sleep! It was like 10pm before I was able to sleep - but with my husband out of town this week, I was able to sleep through the night. I woke up Wednesday feeling slightly better and got to thinking that this problem was now behind me.

I had not been at work long when the sleepy hit, and I realized that it was going to take more than one night of decent sleep to reverse all the symptoms. I went to bed early again last night, but did not sleep as well. I kept having to get up to use the bathroom (too much water late in the day). I woke up today feeling badly again.

I spoke to my bosses about taking some time off this week, and they agreed to let me have Friday off. I will be able to spend the whole day in bed if needed. I have not really told my family or anyone about it, because I am concerned that they will suggest several fun things to do and I will want to do them. I know that I need to take tomorrow completely off - no laundry, no housework, no homework, no fun activities. I may even stop and get some sleeping pills today to allow me to take several long naps all day. I need some deep rest!

Sassy has arranged for me to have a massage on Saturday and I am going to spend that day doing some fun and low stress things, but again, nothing major and I will cancel all but the massage if I am not feeling up to being out. I have got to listen to my body and give it the rest it is craving.

I know that I have this habit of being accommodating to others at my own expense, and I don't want to change that part of me, it makes me happy to help others in their time of need. But I have got to learn to listen to my body and learn to say no, when I just can't handle something. My husband has been telling me this for years, but I have kept pushing myself to the limits and not really taking care of myself - everyone else? Yes! Myself? No!

I hear by declare that I am going start taking care of myself in EVERY way! Not just trying to eat healthy or get to the gym a few times a month (which I have not been doing all month because I am so exhausted). But fully and in every way! I am going to start looking out for number 1 and that number 1 is going to be, for the first time ever, me!

1 comment:

  1. I hope that you can sleep away most of the day tomorrow, Smug. It sounds like you're near collapse--and what with Smug-Hub being away, this is your best shot at getting some deep sleep.

    His apnea sounds pretty bad. I have that too--just ask Sassy--but not as bad as Smug-Hub does. A 48 second cessation of breathing is very damn serious. That's scary.