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.