I thought I’d post a few short posts tonight. I realised I hadn’t outlined how my conditions effect me and what life is like on the inside of this tornado of mental health. I hope one day someone looks at this and understands that diseases of the mind are as crippling as physical disabilities or at least understands why this is a problem.
Mind over matter is your greatest tool and your worst enemy.
Here’s how this is going to work; I’ll outline what’s happening, then explain the effects, give examples where needed and then leave you to digest how this is ripping me apart.
Reason 1: Sleeping problems.
So I thought I’d start on an easy one. the majority of the human race has probably felt tired at some point, but many do not understand how sleep depravity effect the human body and mind. I never fully understood until I experienced it first hand.
Currently I’m getting between 6 and 18 hours of sleep (including time taken to reach REM) for 168 hours of up time. It’s recommended that the average adult has 49 hours in a week. My current average is 12 hours sleep in a week. That’s about 20% of what my body needs.
My average sleep calendar in a week consists of up to 3 nights of absolutely no sleep, 1 night of intensely disturbed sleep, 2 nights where I get half a night’s sleep and 1 night where my body crashes from sleep loss and I get a reasonable night’s sleep. So far I have noticed that hospital/doctor appointments, benefit appointments, assessments and large social events will trigger a night of no sleep before the event takes place. My sleep experience also varies depending on where I am sleeping. I am more likely to loose sleep in large quantities when at home or in a new place.
For example, I once slept over at a friend’s flat and spent the night pacing, sat staring at the clock or sat on the sofa staring out the window until my legs gave way and I got a few hours sleep on the floor, of the coldest room in the flat, with no cover or pillow.
The only times where I noticeably get a good night’s sleep are when I am close to my fiance, as if he protects me from my nightmares and chases the demons away.
It’s been documented that the human brain starts to shut down after long periods of sleep deprivation. That means your fine motor skills, memory and all the other things you take for granted deteriorate. After a while coffee stops working too.
Once after 9 hours sleep in a week, I went to to bank. Within minutes I was sliding down the wall I used to prop myself up on. I couldn’t do simple mathematical tasks. I couldn’t get my hands to put my card in the machine. I couldn’t even tell you what day it was or what I had done 2 hours prior. People kept looking at me, clearly disgusted and I over heard a couple wondering if I had special needs. I could have given up and cried on the bank floor in front of them all, but I didn’t even have the energy to do that.
As well as the loss of everything my brain does that I hold dear, I start getting edgy, short fused, and incredibly paranoid. My brain brakes down the boundaries between reality and it’s sick and twisted imagination. I double back on myself believing I’m being followed. I sit crying, believing some monster will eat me.
Currently whilst writing this, I’m sat parallel with my bedroom window. Every few minutes my brain conjures up possibilities of long legged, twisted, fanged demons crawling up the side of the house and just staring at me through the window, hissing. Every bang makes me look out the window. Every light that goes by makes my heart beat faster. The darkness only makes it worse.
So even if you exclude my vivid nightmares, (Which I might include on this blog later.) you can see why I can’t function properly. I couldn’t work even if I wanted too.(I understand that I need to focus on getting myself better right now rather than working.) I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
Hopefully after reading this you might pity the next person who says they can’t sleep to you. Don’t tell them to go grab a Horlicks or hot chocolate. Just listen to them or you’ll make them feel silly and regret telling you.
I CAN’T sleep, now matter how hard I try. Believe me, I want to sleep. I ache for the sleep mattress adverts sell you.