archivalanomalies: Archer's icon. A picture of the tarot card Wheel of Fortune, feat. a sphinx and a fox posing on a wheel. (Default)
[personal profile] archivalanomalies
 Hey guys. I'm just going to use this space to vent a little bit about some health problems that have been really affecting me/us lately. This involves talk of medication, sleep problems, and depression/anxiety/ADHD. Plus some stuff about our dad, because every problem always seems to come back to our parents in one way or another, I guess.

Historically, we've always had a problem with regulating sleep patterns. One of the things we do know about our early childhood is that we've always had a hard time sleeping, and tended to sleep late. No matter what we tried, how early we got into bed, when we turned off computers or electronics, how much caffeine we consumed, how much energy work was done on us, whatever -- if we got in bed at nine, we would fall asleep around midnight. If we got in bed at 11:30, we would fall asleep around midnight too. If anyone was nervous about something for any reason, it would be even later, and sometimes we wouldn't sleep at all. Plus, we always thought we were deathly allergic to most prescribed sleep aids.

Our body has always seemed to require more sleep than the average meat-mecha to function, too. Anything below nine hours, we start to feel progressively more dead on our feet, and ten is ideal. As you can imagine, most of our school life was spent in a lethargic stupor, and we were constantly missing the bus because our body just wouldn't let us wake up and do things on time. We were, of course, awake and perfectly fine by the time we got home at 3 PM. 

(Some Google research has led us to a theory about a possible physical health reason why this happens -- it has to do with our birth-defected hip -- but we haven't sat down with a neurologist who actually knows these things, so it's still just a theory. A game theory. Doubtless, our questionable mental health and anxiety issues have made matters worse.)

Also our entire lives, every source we went to indicated that there was a lot of ways to regulate a weird sleep schedule. We've tried pretty much all of them that don't involve things that might actually kill us if we ingested them. The most prominent one was simply holding yourself to a strict schedule: pick a time to wake up, and stick with it. Our dad was especially fond of reinforcing this, because he was able to successfully modify his sleep schedule to accommodate a work day that begins at 3 in the morning and ends at 12 noon. He's always been telling us that we're just not doing it well enough, we're not sticking close enough to our schedule, we're just too addicted to staying up late on the computer, and that's the reason it happens.

I mean, we spent first through eleventh grade forcing ourselves to stay on a schedule where we have to wake up at six in the morning every weekday, and that hasn't changed anything. So that obviously cast some doubt on his claim. But none of the parties involved realized that at the time, and the possibility that Dad was wrong didn't even exist in our heads, because everyone else said the same things too so they had to be right.

Cut to college.

We -- or, well, I, since I was the only one consciously making decisions at this point -- I was getting tired of lying awake all night. So I thought I'd be clever and sign up for a lot of 8 AMs on the next semester's schedule. I'd fix all my sleep problems and have more time during the day to do what I wanted to do. Plus, I'd already been getting up at 6 AM for all of grade school, so getting up at 7 now would be no problem!

...Yeah, no.

We also have ADHD, and the medication we've been taking for this has contributed to the problem -- but only a little. Most people experience difficulty sleeping when they are on this medication, because it's a stimulant. If we do take our meds, we're fine; if we forget to take our meds, eventually we start to sleep more. I'm talking like sixteen hours a day more. At first, this only happened after five days of missing medication (which only happened once, thank god). Then it was three days. Then two. Then one. Now, it doesn't matter. Even if we take our meds, there's still a good chance we will sleep through most of the goddamn day. We didn't foresee this when we made our schedule.

This doesn't play well with a schedule full of 8 AM classes, and a major where a lot of time needs to be invested into each project. Our time is basically being taken from all of us by our own body, and because the schoolwork shit is so pressing and anxiety-inducing, no one is able to do anything outside the headspace without causing alarm bells to go off all over the place. And of course, anxiety/depression often makes sleep problems even worse, so it ends up being an endless cycle of awfulness where we are constantly absent from class, late on our assignments, and feeling terrible.

We always knew that the most obvious solution would be to change our meds, but were afraid that the side-effects from doing that would make things even worse than they already were. Until last night, we used that logic to decide that we would wait out the rest of the semester (there's only five weeks left) and fix everything when we got home for the summer again.

Then last night, we realized that the situation literally could not get worse, we wouldn't be able to slog through this for another five weeks without risking a major breakdown, and decided to take the plunge and change the plan that we'd been relying on to get us through for the past few months.

Shit's scary. It's a lot of extra things to coordinate in the very limited time we have. But as scary as it is, the fear of what'll happen if we don't change something is even worse.
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archivalanomalies: Archer's icon. A picture of the tarot card Wheel of Fortune, feat. a sphinx and a fox posing on a wheel. (Default)
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