Monday, July 3, 2017

No Sleep, Again: What's Going On?

Last night I did it again--I stayed awake all night.  This used to happen to me quite frequently, but lately I'd been able to sleep better.  So I was a little surprised, and also frustrated when I was still awake at 5 AM when my husband got up for work.  My alarm was set for 6.  I thought I would stay awake and be able to get up at my usual time without much fuss, but no.  As soon as Jim left, apparently, I nodded off, because the next thing I knew, the alarm was beeping furiously.  Lovely.  One hour of sleep and now I was drowsy and craving more sleep.  So I went back to sleep for another hour.  The alarm beeped again.  I felt worse than if I had stayed up the whole time.  

Why is this sleeplessness back?  I have a few ideas.  

Health issues:  I went to the nephrologist recently and found out that my kidney function is down about 14 points compared to last year.  He said it may be because of my urinary tract infection.  So I need to go for a re-test in a month, once I'm finished the antibiotics and my body gets a chance to right itself.  I'm hoping it's the infection and not something worse.  The thought of failing kidneys is not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination.  I didn't think I would have to face that possibility until I was much older.  But here it is staring me in the face, or rather, sitting at the back of my mind, pestering me ever so slightly.  It's not something I think about all the time, but as the test gets closer, I've been thinking about it more.  In my gut, I think I'm fine, but then I won't know until I have the test.  I just want to know so I can either forget about it or take measures to combat whatever may be going on.  

Another aspect of health that has been niggling at me has to do with exercise, weight loss, and healthy eating.  I've been really bad at it during the last year or so, but it started sliding when I hit menopause in 2010.  I was in such good shape before then.  I had bundles of energy, I'd lost bunches of weight.  I felt light on my feet.  It was awesome.  Then, wham!  Menopause took the wind out of my sails.  Took the sails completely away, actually.  So for the last seven years, I've been lax about both eating healthy and exercise, so the weight ballooned up and up and up.  I was upset with myself, so, of course, I did a lot of emotional eating.  I would tell myself that I had to exercise, but I chose to work, read, or play on the computer instead.  I told myself that I really shouldn't be eating ice cream for the third time that week, but I still shoveled it in.  I shoveled a lot of food in.  It was as if my brain was totally overtaken by an evil force.  I'm thrilled for anyone who has a relatively easy menopausal experience, but I'm not one of them.  I've been a mess, especially regarding food and energy.  But the other day, something just clicked.  My knee hurt terribly, I could hardly walk, I had no energy, and I just stopped and decided I'd had it.  I would no longer let that evil force win. I didn't learn to walk despite the effects of spina bifida only to let the effects of menopause rob me of my ability to walk. And, just like that, my cravings reduced, my exercise increased, and I was eating much healthier.  So, I'm hoping that, in time, the weight won't be as much of a problem and I'll have more energy.  It's a start.  

Family issues:  I live across the country from most of my family.  That was a choice Jim and I made 10 years ago.  We were ready to move out west to a more moderate climate and new opportunities.  I was ready to spread my wings after being pretty much Mommy's girl all my life.  Then in 2014, my mother had a stroke which caused significant memory issues.  She's made several moves since we've been in Utah, including leaving her apartment to live with my sister, and then finally to an assisted living community.  It has been difficult to catch her at the facility when I call because she's either at a doctor's appointment or taking part in an on-site activity.  And when I do catch her on the phone, she talks for only a few minutes and then says she really should go.  Maybe she doesn't know me anymore.  I have my suspicions about that.  Maybe she thinks that she's hogging the phone. I'm not sure.  I'm thrilled that she's getting involved with activities there, no question. It's just frustrating trying to time my calls, two time zones away no less, to match her schedule.  I don't want to call too early or too late because, when I do that, she tends to be tired and more confused.  The family has a private Facebook group to help everyone keep up to date on all things Mom-related.  At first, we used it quite a bit and it was helpful, but it's fallen out of service of late.  I'm not sure why.  Communication is key in any family situation like this.  It would really help to get that back up and running.  I haven't called in awhile since it's been so difficult to get and stay in touch with her, but I have sent her cards and photos over time.  We last visited in  March 2016.  We need to plan another trip soon, but with our busy schedules and the distance, it takes some doing, and we don't have that much vacation time.  Of course, this year we went to Denmark, but that won't happen every year.  Part of me feels guilty that I haven't called and another part of me says I have tried repeatedly with the same result.  I feel like my hands are a bit tied in that respect.  

Work issues:  I absolutely love being a coach, so that's not the issue.  It's that I am still new at it and working to build my business.  Networking, developing a social media presence, interacting with prospective clients, and so on.  No matter how fun and rewarding it is, it still takes a lot of time and energy.  My calendar is filled with more tasks than I have time for.  It's just me, myself, and I here.  No staff to hand various projects over to.  I like being in charge and working on my own.  I've done it for decades.  But I need to remind myself that I can only do so much, so I need to set priorities.  First priority is reworking the schedule to include the most important tasks--those that are client-related.  The rest will fall into place as time allows.  

Social issues:  There was a time when we had all sorts of parties and get-togethers here with friends.  We had more friends out here than anywhere else we'd lived.  I loved it.  Then something started to feel off.  I've always been a loner, and all the socializing was getting to me.  As much as I liked the people I'd met out here, I just didn't want to deal with big gatherings anymore.  I'm headed back to somewhere between social butterfly and loner, which I think it a good place to be.  I felt bad letting some friends go, but I let it happen naturally, really, so it wasn't such a blow.  The friends I wasn't closest to faded away, and I had more time to concentrate on the ones who meant the most to me.  Both Jim and I are the loner type.  We like alone time and time together by ourselves to explore this beautiful area of the country we now call home.  But we also cherish the few close friends we have and look forward to spending more time with them.  

There they are, the sources of my sleepless night.  All these issues kept winding their way through my head, over and over again, until I knew it was pointless to try to sleep (until 5 AM, anyway.  Oh brother.).  I had a lot of time to mull each issue over in my head, at least.  I have to put health first, then the business, and then, of course, friends and family.  I feel good about the decisions I've made and the strategies I'm going to implement in the coming days and weeks to keep things balanced and healthy and help me sleep better.

Do you have nights when you can't sleep at all?  What do you do to remedy the situation?  I'd love it if you'd share your tips.  

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