Tuesday, December 8th 2015
My doctor posited this question to me yesterday.
It turns out -and this will come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me- that my brain chemistry is “hyperactive.” (I know right?) This causes me to be compulsive and emotionally reactive and hyperactive. (Family members could certainly add more descriptors here.)
So this year, among many prongs of therapeutic effort on my part, a gentle medication has been added to the mix, a “mood stabilizer.” Of course I was afraid I’d lose my creative energy, my unique spark and panache. But then it became apparent early on that, a) that ain’t never not gonna happen, and b) what I hopefully stand to lose is the very edge that makes me such an overbearing, hyperactive, over-reactive pain in the ASS.
So as we’re titrating the dosage and getting the balance just about right, she brought up sleep because that is one of the factors necessary to enable the medication to work. Of course it is a factor we all need in order for anything to work in our lives. (Der.) And I -you- need “8 hours a day.” (Ha.)
That’s funny, I told her, because with getting the kids off to school every morning now on account of hubby’s new job, it won’t be possible on the mornings after my night jobs. “You could go back to bed,” she says bluntly.
“That’s what lots of moms do in order to take care of themselves,” she continues.
Now, that’s probably bullsh*t and I don’t know any moms who do that. But we should.
The wheels of obviousness turned slowly in my head. “Huh!” I’m like. What a radical freaking concept. “It seems like it would feel selfish, but it’s not because then you could take better care of your f-a-m-i-l-y. Huh!”
So I’m feeling really weird today, because in the face of a messy house with a messy bedroom and dirty kitchen and unrecognizably FUBAR swirl of papers, to-do lists and emails… that is what I did. I grabbed all the cats (count ’em, 3), and mercilessly dragged them into the messy bed with me to see what would happen.
Now it’s hours later and I’ve no idea where my family is, no magical fairies came by, I feel guilty about the house and neglected correspondences, the cats are still lying about -apparently guiltless- and it’s almost time for me to go to work.
So this day is a wash, other than I will soldier forward with the faith that 1) my ever tolerant husband remains tolerant, and 2) the dividends of this radical act will materialize in due time. I guess.
I mean, my mom always calls it, “The Secret of Life.” Sleep that is. I’ll posit that it’s the Secret *to* Life. Apparently the Dalai Lama puts it this way, FWIW:
And I stand corrected (well lay, I lay corrected), I do know at least one bad ass Goddess mom who performs compensatory sleep (even if she probably deserves more of it); my sister Amanda.
Also, I want to add one other factor that my Captain Obvious doctor alerted me to. Something equally well known as the boring old norms as “8 Hours of Sleep,” and that is; keep alcohol to an average of 1 or less per day. That’s all the female body can process. More than that not only taxes the liver but interferes with the brain by suppressing it’s inhibition (you know, the prefrontal cortex, the part which enables us to be civil, think rationally, make healthy interpersonal choices and be human).
For better or worse the light for this insight finally went off for me after an unfortunate fit of pique (er, Mom-rage moment) last spring which came on so suddenly it had really jarred me. The good doctor conferred my suspicion that my physiology had been off balance from recently having over-imbibed. (Again, der.)
So I have been more careful since then, albeit with some exceptions and I am not perfect. I also write this because I am not special. It is not just my medication and my brain chemistry whose wise function may be damaged in the aftermath of over-indulgence; it’s everyone’s.
It’s kind of pathetic how long it takes -and how many times it takes- to learn and relearn and really learn some of the most basic facts in life.
Next thing you know Dr. Obvious will be telling me I need to drink more water or something. Sheesh.