I wake up at 4 am, again this morning. I turn away from the alarm clock and press myself against my husband. Don’t think, I tell myself. Don’t think, and maybe you can go back to sleep. It doesn’t work.
Deep, restful sleep is a phantom, a fairy maybe, flitting among the gradually greening trees, playing in the flowering branches. She teases me but she doesn’t let me catch her.
I’m so tired. I think I have slept eight uninterrupted hours twice in 2017. Or perhaps it was seven hours. I thought it would get better when I reduced the venlafaxine, but if anything, it’s become worse. I went off trazodone, which did help me sleep some, but left me groggy until early afternoons. I hoped that once I was adjusted to being off it, I would stop napping and sleep more at night. That hasn’t happened either.
In early March I got a CPAP machine, and I was so hopeful that it would make a difference. The doctor told me that I was waking up all the time because my brain “forgot” to breathe, and the machine would stop that from happening. I would sleep better and feel more rested. If that’s true, it hasn’t worked yet. Some nights I rip off the mask in the middle of the night to see if I can sleep better without it. Sometimes, I can.
Often, I’m able to take this in stride. It’s temporary, I tell myself. I’m in the process of regaining my health, and in time, refreshing sleep will be part of that. It didn’t work at all this morning, however. I tossed and turned, kicked off the covers, pulled them back on. I grew increasingly frustrated. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t things settle down? How long is this going to take?
My feet and knees hurt. I rub them, but it’s not enough. Two hours later, I roll out of bed and put my clothes on quietly, trying not to wake my husband. He just got a new job that starts next Monday. He doesn’t have many more days to sleep in. I pull on my sneakers, and my dogs lift their heads, interested.
“No, puppies,” I tell them, “you stay.” I go outside into the cool morning and take a walk around the neighborhood. The birds are noisy this morning. Tulips bloom in my neighbor’s yard. The first families arrive at the daycare center down the street. I try to walk quickly; the movement of blood in my feet will like an internal massage, I think.
As I walk, I realize I don’t want my husband to go to his new job. Well, I do, of course. We have had very little income since I quit my job in September. We’re frugal, but we can’t keep living on savings. I tell myself to be grateful that he’s willing to go back to work (he’s older than me and had retired) so that I don’t have to. He knows I don’t have the energy and consistent mental space to work full-time right now.
But instead I’m pouting, imagining being at home by myself every day while he’s at work. It will be lonely. I won’t feel like doing things. I can stay in bed all day, or just get up to eat and apple, harm myself and go back to bed and stare at the ceiling. Now there’s a bright image for the future.
I’ll have to make a lot of effort not to fall apart without his companionship during the day. I’ll have to get some sleep so I can make that effort. What will I have to do to get some sleep?