Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not sleeping

I often awaken at 2 or 3 in the morning. Wide awake. Sometimes, like this morning, I am startled awake by a disturbing dream. This is the one where I'm high up on some structure like steel girders and I need to find a way down. And I'm terrified of heights. In the dream I always manage to make some progress along the beam only to find I've reached an impossible place when I can't get down without somehow turning around or making some other impossible maneuver. I awaken with heart racing, palms sweating. There's just no going back to sleep.

There are things I do in the middle of the night. Surf the web, watch TV, play piano or guitar, do a load of laundry, do a crossword puzzle, write in my blog. Sometimes I just sit in the dark and look at the view from my window. It isn't always calming. I turn on the lights.

A friend of mine who is a counselor said this is an indication of depression. In my case I think she's wrong. I know what's disturbing my sleep. It's the many things yet undone in my house (and in my yard, but mostly in my house). I've been divorced a year, yet my garage is still full of junk my ex didn't want and left for me to deal with. There are some thiings I want to keep, like the lawn games for the kids, my golf clubs, a desk I want to sell. But everything got dumped on top of everything and some of the things on top are too heavy for me to move alone. The task of clearing out is so daunting, so overwhelming, I get started but it seems I don't even make a dent. I don't feel depressed about it, but anxious because it's not done, and not sure how to get it done.

But I never have the solutions when I'm awake in the wee hours. Those thought processes work better in the light of day. So I'll do a crossword puzzle, and pretty soon I won't be able to keep my eyes open, and finally sleep will return. I need to remember to turn off my alarm on the weekends. No sense getting up at 5 if I don't have to.


John said...

Terry Pratchett once saidregarding his encroaching Alzheimers) that the things he hated most were his "five o'clock in the morning thoughts".

Its the worst time to try to find solutions to anything, Becky. I should know, I'm an expert....

lemming said...

I'd have to agree with you that it's not depression (I mean, divorce is always depressing, but...) that's doing this to you. Any large project, be in garage cleaning or landscaping is going to loom large over one's sub-concious and affect sleep patterns.

My local NPR plays BBC International between midnight and 5 AM, sometimes earlier. The BBC and I have become good friends over the years.

On a more serious note, I am sorry to learn about the divorce. Whatever the reasons, circumstances, etc. ending a marriage is always a tragedy on at least one level, and i cannot imagine what you feel about it and have felt about it.

John said...

The BBC World Service (as it used to be called, I think). Yes, that and I have become good friends over the years. One of the reasons I know "Lillibulero".

Failing that there's always a bit of badger-watching to pass the early sleepless hours. But they will be off more or less hibernating any time soon. Just as well we insomniacs don't have to do that... awake the entire winter....

bekkieann said...

Thanks John and Lemming for the encouragement. I did manage to get a few more hours of sleep before hitting the ground running for my busy Saturday. I just finished spending the afternoon with my exceedingly exhuberant grandsons, ages 1 and 5. I played with the boys while their mom and dad moved furniture and did some rearranging of things. It was fun and I got a nap in when the 1 year old fell asleep.

I had a bit a luck while at the hairdresser's. She gave me a card for a guy who does garage cleaning and organizing and junk removal. He did some work for her and was very reasonably priced. It may be just what I've been needing.

As for the divorce, you'd think since it was my second, I'd be pretty good at it by now. But it was really tough for a few years before and during. After 28 years of marriage, it was hard to see it end along with a great deal of security planned for old age. But I've come to terms with it by now and have managed to remain friendly with my ex husband. I do think these things of his that remain in my home keep me from really letting go of the past and getting on with my life. So I need to make that a priority now.

No I don't think I'm depressed. I think of that as debilitating and sapping of energy. On the contrary, I am hard-working, positive and energetic and really do feel genuinely happy most of the time. This sleeplessness seems to afflict a lot of people I know, and all we can do is try to compensate with naps or catching up the next night.

Thanks again for your words of advice and encouragement.