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Night Owl Syndrome, Part 2

I started this blog with a post about the stress of trying to regulate my sleep cycle.  Particularly since it was the beginning of the year and I had been off for 3 months–plenty of time to revert to my more natural night owl state.
 
I am in the same predicament this week, except that my sleep cycle is even more out of whack than usual.  In addition to the normal job stress and abrupt transition into having nothing to do at the end of the term, I was also dealing with the fallout from the student death and extended periods of loneliness and isolation.  I fell into a pattern of going to bed at 4 am and waking up at 4 pm, with a few hours of wakefulness in between.  And as usual, I was racked with guilt and self-loathing about this.
 
My dad and two of my brothers are also night owls.  While my family was together over Christmas, my dad hardly slept at all, and when he did it was well past 2 am.  One of my brothers went to bed around 6 am.  The other brother woke up around 6 pm.  Yet they did not appear to be racked with the same guilt and self-loathing as me.
 
Which is the reason why I originally started this blog.  Accepting who I am, including my obsessive tendencies, problems with guilt, and wacky sleep schedule, takes continuous practice.  If I neglect to do it, I fall prey to depression and anxiety.
 
And writing about how I was feeling during that period definitely helped.  It was cathartic.  It helped me to remember what I tell my clients. It provided me support, positive feedback, and extra angels.  And some of the most depressing posts were among the most popular ones, so I know I’m not alone.
 
Perhaps I should start recommending blogging as an important component of self-care.  Right up there with sleep, exercise, food, and mindfulness.
 
Last night I went to bed before 1 am without having to rely on extra Ativan.  And I woke up at 7 am because I had a doctor’s appointment.  That’s as close to a “normal” sleep cycle as it gets for me.  So going back to work has been a good thing.  Still,  if I didn’t have to go back this week, I wouldn’t have.
 
Fortunately, sometimes you are forced to do things that are good for you, whether you want to or not.
 

 

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

5 responses »

  1. No need to feel guilt. No need to feel on the opposite of world tide tables. Your circadian rhythms will eventually work for you. Edison often worked through sleep and meals until he'd realized completion .

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  2. I have written some good blogs in the middle of the night 🙂

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  3. You'll feel better about yourself if you just accept your sleep patterns. Working nights, I tend to sleep crazy hours and sometimes all I want to do is sleep. I used to get all mad at myself because I wasn't up doing active things like I thought I should be doing. I learned to accept myself as I am. It's wasting time getting mad at yourself over it.

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  4. I hear ya. Therapy isn't conducive to a night owl schedule, unfortunately. Maybe if I ever get paid to write…

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  5. I'm going to start texting more you in the middle of the night when I'm awake, Robyn.

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