Monday, October 17, 2016

Zombie Effect

This switch of positions and programs cannot come soon enough, in at least one aspect of my life. My usual practice has been to go forward after I get out of work Sunday morning, the end of my work week, like a normal day, crash at night and get a long, good night of sleep, and then live three days on a normal person's schedule until I return to work Wednesday night/Thursday morning. But this week, for whatever reasons, I didn't get a lot of sleep on the days I worked--maybe eight hours total over three days--and I was sleepwalking, essentially, from the time I left the job yesterday morning. I fell asleep in the Sunday morning NA meeting I go to, and I ended up having to watch the Bills game in an upright position because every time I laid down on the couch, ten minutes of game time had passed the next time I opened my eyes. After eating dinner around 4 PM yesterday, I literally could not keep my eyes open, and even standing up and walking around, I was seriously unable to focus on virtually anything. I was going to try to make it to sunset, but that proved impossible; I headed into the bedroom at 6:00. The next thing I knew, it was 7:30, and the phone was ringing. After concluding the phone call, I fell back asleep--and didn't stir again until 3 AM, only because my bladder was about to burst. And then after that, I crashed again until just a few minutes ago.
And I have always been a light (sober) sleeper. One of the reasons I drank heavily during the 1980's and early 1990's was that I was assured, with some alcohol in my system, of being able to sleep at least six hours or so at a time. I've been able, since about two years after my clean date, roughly coincidental with the turn of the century, to be able to fall asleep with relative ease at night--but it is a rare, rare evening when I sleep more than three hours at a time. Most nights, it isn't hard to fall back asleep, but going straight through for hours at a time has never been characteristic for me. For me to go seven hours without waking--judging from how stiff my back is, without moving--is almost unprecedented.
And as people age, they are supposed to be lighter sleepers, not heavier. And what I am finding amazing about this is that I could have easily slept longer; I got up because I have things I need to do this morning and because my back is extremely stiff as it is. But I am still tired, and I have no doubt that if I lay on my couch after lunchtime today, I will doze off, and will have absolutely no issues falling asleep tonight, either. This is uncharted territory for me, and it's a bit frightening. And I don't even mess with artificial stimulants; the most I will do to try to prolong being awake during the work week is drink more caffeinated soda than I normally do. My waistline hates me for it, but I stop at the store and get a Coke or Mountain Dew slushie on the way to work every night now (as an aside--how can anyone actually like Dew? It looks like animal urine, and it doesn't taste a whole lot better). I see a lot of my younger friends in early recovery that are never without a Monster or Red Bull in their hands, and I am very wary of those type of energy drinks, because they sure seem as addicted to them as they used to be to meth or dope or Percs. I used to pick on my friend for buying a case of Monster at a time when she was struggling to make her food stamps last for a full month; she literally drank ten of those tall cans a day. And it's less funny now, because I am sure that her Monster addiction had something to do with her relapse; she had trouble with mood and emotional management, and those that knew her had absolutely no trouble telling when she hadn't had a Monster in a while.
I already have a lower-scale version of that going on with good old coffee. I am fully awake now, because I am on my third (big) cup of coffee (my daughter got me this rather large Tower of London coffee cup when she was in England in the spring, and I absolutely love it). I do not get caffeine headaches or other effects, largely because I stop drinking coffee after the first pot in the morning is gone. But I have to say that not drinking it on the days I work makes its effect on me noticeable. If I do manage three or four hours of sleep in the morning/afternoon, I am sluggish for hours after getting up, because I do not drink coffee at 2 PM, and I don't drink it because I am afraid that breaking that barrier will cause me to start to feel caffeine withdrawals in the future. I'll take feeling like I am walking through a swimming pool for an hour or two over constant headaches and feeling jittery.
And I guess I will take being a zombie on Sundays, for a few more weeks. It's not like, with softball season over, I actually do much of anything on Sunday besides watch TV. But the price is not inconsequential. My back is so stiff it's going to be Tuesday before I can bend over and walk at full speed, much less move around normally.
I have to do the training for the new job tomorrow. Hopefully, the switch to the new position will come within a couple of weeks after that.

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