Which leads to a dull, listless, ho-hum day.
Not sleeping is still a problem. I have tried different remedies without success. Melatonin, going to bed at the same time, dimming the lights in the bedroom. You can see from my last sleep posts, nothing has changed. https://myconcealeddepression.com/category/sleep-issues/
I have not gone the drug route yet.
At my follow up appointment with the hospital Psychiatrist, I was offered a sleeping pill prescription if I wanted it. I declined. My plan was to start back at the gym. Our combined reasoning was this should help with my lack of sleep.
I have not gone back to the gym yet.
This is troubling to me. I love the gym, so why am I having a hard time getting started again? It’s not like I must squeeze in time at the gym around a 40-hour work week. My home business allows me the flexibility to set my schedule. I plan for certain things, time to write, time to speak with clients on the phone, time to watch Jeopardy.
But when it comes to planning to go to the gym, I have left that kind of loose. And the result is I have not gone. And the result of that is I am not pumping out positive endorphins and building muscle mass. And the result of that is I am not sleeping worth a darn.
My LCSW gave me a tip about better sleep.
She had me describe my nighttime routine. She pointed out that playing solitaire on my I-Pad while in bed was disrupting my brain’s ability to go into the sleep cycle. She pointed out that the light from the screen was being beamed directly into my eyes. This was signaling “time to stop producing melatonin, its time to get up.” Even having the room lights off, which I thought was helping, will not counteract having the screen light jamming into my cornea.
Last night, reluctantly, I did not reach for the I-pad. I retrieved the daily paper from the recycling bin, got an ink pen, and worked on the crossword puzzle. Years ago, I did this as part of my bedtime routine. But I haven’t worked a crossword puzzle in years.
In addition to not looking at the I-pad screen, I took a Melatonin tablet. And 20 minutes into the puzzle, it seemed like a good time to turn the light off.
The results of this test are not conclusive.
I did fall asleep easier last night. And I am glad for that. But staying asleep is the hard part for me. Once again, I was awake at 1:30 AM. Then about 3:30, 5:30, and 6:15 AM. The upside is, I stayed asleep a little longer between my awake times. I am going to give this test more time, maybe up to 21 days.
Let’s see if this can break the sleepless cycle.
In addition, I will try and refrain from any computer screen viewing for the hour or so before bed. This is going to be much harder. I am used to working in the office (after all, it is right down the hall from the living room) just before going to bed. I am going to need to rethink my evening routine. Between 9 PM and 10 PM, other family members are watching TV. Generally, I am not interested in that, so I take that time to work in the office.
I will need to find another activity for the last hour of the night.
Maybe I can take a nightly soak in the hot tub. This would be relaxing and have the same effect as a warm shower before bed. It would keep me from being in front of a computer screen that is shooting “wake up” light into my eyes as I try to wind down.
I have not considered doing this because, in the hot tub, it is hard to multi-task. Bringing a book or reading material is clumsy to deal with. So, I am just sitting, with my thoughts. And depression tells me that this is not productive. That unless I am accomplishing something, I am wasting time.
Getting this out of my head and framing self-care in a positive way is easy to read about and talk about, but harder for me to implement. I haven’t had much practice over the years.
This is where self-care and I are battling.
Everything I have read and everyone I talk too tells me that taking time for myself is one of the most important things I can do to get better. But the depression is telling me to ignore that. It is telling me to load up my plate, cram as many things as I can into my day, and whatever I do, do not let myself have alone time, just for me.
Depression sees self-care as a threat.
Self-care goes against everything depression stands for. Depression is still winning on the sleep front. I have been slow to try different ideas about better sleep. Having had sleep trouble for years and years it is easy to listen to depression say, “give up, you can’t change this.”
But I keep poking at it anyway. It’s not the big, dramatic, impulsive actions that depression has given me. It is a more measured, consistent pushing towards better sleep habits.
Here’s another way I am slowing down. I am recognizing that I am building habits that I will use for the rest of my life. And I hope that includes my 100th birthday. So, getting it right is more important than taking drastic action. It’s more important than a quick fix. It’s more important than a single night’s sleep.
Self-care may have me take a power nap before heading into town this evening for my SMART recovery group. I have already set the newspaper aside for tonight, and I have a pen ready for the crossword puzzle. Let’s see if day two has better results.
Will I get back to the gym this week? Join my email list and be the first to know. No spam, just me.