Deb (loba) wrote,

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Welcome to my Odd Circadian Rhythms

(Or: Sleep, and Why I am Up Writing This Late)

Well, it seems I've had another Lost Weekend this past one. No, it wasn't due to drugs or alcohol -- I don't dive in like that anymore. No, this was my body trying to heal what it can, in itself and in my mind, through sleep. That, and a healthy dose of coping with depression (nasty little insistent bugger). I spent a long time (nearly 18 years, and still some now) working hard on understanding the dark corners and cobwebby bits of myself. And when I come right out, lay them on the table and look at them, I know why I do what I do (mostly).

Even the odd sleep thing. Sure, I know that I'm up for a Sleep Study, and I will do much better once I have my very own Squid For My Nose (a CPAP machine) to sleep with me at night. But I also know that a good part of why I fall asleep with people around, and in daylight, is due to a piece of leftover self-preservation that worked well for me as a kid.

See, for the span of about eight years or so, when I was a kid, my Dad had this odd manner of discipline/anger: he would get drunk, then get angry, then haul me and my sister out of bed in the middle of the night (usually me; I was the scapegoat), and beat us as he yelled at us. It was with a belt, and it left no huge lasting physical marks (except for the buckle end) -- but it did leave me with this odd way I have of falling asleep around other people. See, my Dad wouldn't do this when we were visiting someone (like my grandparents), and never with any other people around. So, when I could hear the adults playing cards and talking around the table (and I could curl up somewhere not too far away), some part of my kid mind *knew* that I was safe, and that I could really rest for a while. And then I'd be knocked out cold with sleep. It's been that way since I was about 5. And as an adult, it's come and gone, (mostly come), especially after periods of extreme stress.

So now, my gamer friends get treated to me trying *hard* to hold onto consciousness at the end of our rounds, and my ever-patient housemate just covers me kindly with a blanket and goes about his day, when I come and try to keep him company (and wind up asleep on the couch behind, even though it's mid-day). And recently, when I was playing a video game and had fallen asleep while doing so, someone came up behind me and laughed at me, telling me "You know, you were snoring just a moment ago!" And a small part of me found it funny as well -- but a good part of me was embarassed and scared when it happened (and surprised that someone who complains when others come up behind them would do the same to another without compunction).

And it took me a while to understand why I reacted as strongly to this incident (which, at the time, felt like cruel ridicule). I finally realized: in that small space of seconds, from when I was snoring to when I was awake enough to realize the backbones of the situation, I may have bounced back to a time when my drunken father's cruel ridicule and sarcasm were what woke me (just before the beatings would start). That would explain the surge of adrenalin and the huge hurt response I felt, if not the provoking actions. It definitely gives me more insight into me.

So, it's 3:30 now, and I've managed to parse out a small bit of my own psyche. I knew all this was there, and I was working out the whys and wherefores.... I just hadn't put it down 'on paper'. And scary as it may seem, an important part of my recovery for a long time now, has been to share this stuff with others. I don't do it for pity or 'woe is me' points (because those really don't exist -- and I haven't played that game for a LONG while now) -- nor for shock factor. Because really, Hollywood has that market cornered, and I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

No, I share it because I know that in doing so, I take it out of the realm of the 'spooky unreal' and put it back into perspective: it was real, it happened, and some vestiges of it affect me today. It gets it off my chest, and lets me remember that no, I'm not a bad person (unlike my nasty subconscious might want me to believe, at times) but someone to whom external actions have had consequences, ones I need to recognize. And I share it because perhaps it may allow others to know me a little bit better, and to see that there is a lot more to me than the surface they interact with.

Enough navel-gazing for now; I'm heading back to bed, hopefully for a handful of REM sleep before I have to be Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed for work. G'night, all.

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