Lack of Sleep

Being awake at two a.m. is not something I make a habit of, but sometimes – when life is overwhelming and insomnia sets in – I find myself laying awake in bed pondering the meaning of life, or wondering about human existence. During those times all I can do is wait for the thoughts to run out and for my mind to shut off. Chances are sunlight will start leaking through my curtains before that happens and I’ll start thinking about how much caffeine I’ll need to make it through the day.  Looking like a raccoon’s cousin should be a new type of fashion statement, at least on the days when I feel that I look like one.

My brain-to-mouth filter is pretty decent on a good day, especially in my line of work, but when I suffer from sleep deprivation it tends to verge on non-existent and the edge of hysteria will break through. Like a miniature tidal wave. My co-workers are very good at feeding me Starbucks during those days and covering for my verbal diarrhea. They are wonderful and I’m pretty sure that I amuse them immensely. I figure if I can make people laugh while I’m feeling loopy, then that’s a small point towards a slightly better world.

The insomnia only ever lasts a few days, but it can be brutal. No amount of warm milk, calming tea, or sleep aids can help me. Well, nothing short of a brick to my head anyway, and even that’s a bit questionable.

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Once I get up I feel better and I pull myself together.

I remember those two letters; it will be O.K.

Everybody has their own dysfunctions; some have more than others, and some barely have any. I fit into the ‘more than others’ category. I have difficulty filtering what I think from what I say. I tend to fan-girl at the worst possible moments. I’m a bit socially awkward and meeting new people is synonymous with getting a tooth pulled. I also have extreme reclusive tendencies, to the point where just going outside can be a lot more difficult than it should. These are just a few examples of how much weirder I am than a good majority of the people I know.

I also know that I’m not alone.

It took me at least four-thirds of my life to realize this fact. Prior to the realization, I knew that people were accepting of ‘the jumpy girl running the cash register‘ or ‘I don’t know why my daughter is the way that she is, but I love her anyway‘ or ‘it’s weird when she hides herself but I like her, I guess‘. It got really messy in my head for a little while and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make it out alive. Then the realization came. It was a few years ago when I witnessed a man actively avoid physical and verbal contact with everyone else in the cafe I was writing in – to the point where, when it got really crowded, he ran to the men’s room and I could see him peeking out from behind the door to see when the crowd dispersed. I have no idea why he was in the cafe that day, but I am very thankful that he was. It was like looking at a mirror image of what I did sometimes. I was a bit more subtle about it than he was, but it was exactly the same. It hit me in the face then, that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. That there were other people who fought themselves over going out into the big bad world with all its humanity. It was an oddly wonderful feeling.

I would also like to say that I’ve gotten a lot better since then. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some very bad days, but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be. I still frequently get my ‘run and hide’ instinct when I’m around large crowds of people but I can control it somewhat, where I couldn’t before. Having a somewhat distant family and friends that didn’t push me helped a lot.

What I went through is something that I don’t talk about often, mostly because I don’t like the questions that come with it. The why’s and how’s and the confused looks when I’m trying to tell someone that sometimes the thought of stepping outside my front door used to crush the air out of my lungs. Or that sometimes I still need to meditate before I leave the house so the irrational fear doesn’t overwhelm me. There are quite a few people out there who are incapable of understanding, and I’ve accepted that too. It’s okay to not understand or relate to the crazy reclusive girl. I understand and that’s a good thing.

Dysfunctions and weirdness are apart of everyone. Whether you’re reclusive, fighting depression or another mental illness (possibly more than one), or you’re a giant socially awkward geek that nobody understands, an outcast, a victim, or you’ve just lost a very important person in your life.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

I’m not going to tell you that it gets easier or that it gets completely better, because those would be lies. I will however tell you, that there will be both good days and bad days, and to quote Doctor Who – life is just a pile of good things and bad things. Always remember the good things no matter how hard the bad things try to pull you down and if you can’t remember the good things, cling to those who care about you like a lifeline; they don’t have to understand you to care about you. It could be any one, including but not limited to your cat/dog/chinchilla. Just let them love you… it helps.

That took longer for me to get out than I thought it would. Now that my seriousness is over – get over here so I can internet hug you.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Lets talk about health.

I have an average body with a few extra pounds; I am not overweight but I’m not healthy. I don’t shy away from physical activity but I don’t exactly push myself either. I have a passionate relationship with junk food and crave take-out like a crack addict craves a hit. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is: I’ve decided to make a lifestyle change.

Last Monday I was talking to my mother and I can’t exactly remember how the conversation came up, but I found out that there are a lot of bad things running in my family genetics; cancer, diabetes and lung disease, to name a few. I won’t say that it scared me, but it did put a few things into perspective for me. If I were to change and become a healthier person; thirty years from now, if I develop a dangerous disease, I would have much better chances of fighting it off than I would if I stayed the same as I am now.

Changing my eating habits was the hard part. I cut junk food (ie: candy, ice cream, chips, pop, desserts, etc) out of my system. I will admit it was like overcoming a drug addiction for a while there. I also stopped eating after 8pm. These are apparently two very good steps towards living healthier, so I was happy to be heading in the right direction.

The next step was digging my (slightly old) exercise bike out of the closet, cleaning it off, and setting it up in my living room. Once that was done, I managed fifteen minutes of cardio before I felt like my legs were going to fall off, and then did ten minutes of muscle-building. I survived my first work-out and did it all inside the comfort of my own home. I’m also going to say that I’ve only been at this for a week and I can now do thirty minutes of heavy cardio and twenty minutes of muscle-building. Improvements are important and they’re going to be super small at first, I know, but they’re so nice to see.

Food is important. I love food, so I made a list of healthy things that I like and some healthy things that I should try. I found out that I DO like caesar salad, despite hating it for years, and that hard-boiled eggs are actually quite good. My fridge is now full of fruits and some veggies, as well as some soy milk that I haven’t tried yet.

Working out is something that’s coming easier to me than I thought it would. I feel really good after a work out, despite my aching muscles; I suppose that’s the endorphins talking. It’s the ‘not eating junk food’ bit that’s pushing my self-control, however, every time I get a craving for something sweet I eat an apple or drink a glass of water. It seems to be working very well so far.

Winning the little battles feels good. Like, turning down the cookie a co-worker offered me despite the fact that I was staring at it with open lust, and pushing myself to pedal that bike as hard and fast as I can for the last five minutes of my cardio despite the ache and heavy breathing. I may just be starting to change my life style and it’s sometimes so very difficult, but those little accomplishments keep me going because they mean I’m improving. That little voice in my head that says I can’t do this, is a liar.

Hot water.

I love tea. In fact I probably love it more than most people. If I could have a romantic relationship with tea, I would and we’d already be married with kids.

I’m drinking tea as I’m typing this. It’s good for you, it can relax you when you’re stressed, put you to sleep, boost your metabolism, clean the toxins out of your system, make you feel better when you’re sick and it tastes great. I have yet to meet a tea that I hate. Tea comes in so many tastes and varieties that I have too many favourites. It’s a brilliant beverage and, since I really can’t stand the taste of coffee, it gets along very well with my taste buds.

I also have a crazy mental thing, where I buy accessories for my tea.

This giraffe kettle being the most awesome thing I have purchased in a great long while. It makes a ‘hum’ noise instead of a whistle when the water boils. It makes me happy and feel slightly ridiculous all at once. Personally, I think that there should be at least ONE thing in every persons home that makes them feel that way. It’s a delightfully giddy feeling that everyone should experience. Plus the object in question would be a wonderful conversation piece, or it would create awkward silences. Either way.

Putting the kettle on in the morning is much more fun.