Ever since last summer when my work hours changed, I feel like I have been stun-gunned and never saw it coming. As soon as I wake up, I crave going back to sleep. Maybe it is caused by the extremely late nights--like nights which eon into morning--followed hot and heavy by the alarm at 6:30am. I jerk myself half-awake, get my daughter up and off to school. On the way to the bus stop, I sort of handcomb my hair (wild at the best of times), adjust my glasses (no time for contact lenses), help my daughter study for her Science exam, and hope that Mr. Right didn't choose this morning to need a jumpstart at the bus stop. On auto pilot, I get home again only to fall into bed; zoned out on pancake syrup and school bus fumes.
My serious attempts to rise from the downy pallet of my bed and become a Real and Functioning Person are dwindling. I'm living in Never-Neverland half the time, imprisoned between two worlds; the life of day people, and the life of night people. I'm neither and I am both.
On school mornings, I again set the maddening alarm, so I will wake up after my 7:30am freefall into dreamland. The alarm always goes off in the middle of deep REMS. Next, I tried the wake-up-naturally trick for awhile. Personally, I love this one. Trouble is, my body doesn't wake of its own volition until noon. Noon is such a blessed time. The sun is shining by then if it is going to shine at all, it's lunchtime, the neighborhood is quiet, and the cats are still napping. I can drag around eating the wrong things, sit in front of the heat and journal, browse the bookshelves, go online, then I'm tired again and must have more rest. By that time, with only six more hours until darkness falls, why stay up? Well, because...this is real life and I have to. I just have to.
I stopped drinking coffee at the New Year. It was keeping me awake more than was healthy, and it was also making me manic, irritable and prone to bursts of yelling--even though on caffeine I have evolved into high levels of creativity. Thus, the high doses of caffeine I had grown accustomed to were sabotaging me. Off the juice, I started to feel better right away; less nerviness, less irritation, less snapping into thin air. Now, I don't drink coffee, only Good Earth tea. Last week I had lunch with a friend at a place which has never heard of Good Earth tea, so I drank their iced tea. Innocently, I proceeded to work, not realizing that their tea was worthy competition for a 9-1-1 shot of java.
About an hour later, I was trying to use the counter at work (for work) and my boss was also trying to eat his lunch on the same counter. Every time I moved his damn plastic salad bowl lid, he moved it right back where I was trying to dose up some pill packs for patients. Then, he got out a tray of shrimp and cocktail sauce and laid another plastic lid in my way. My irritation became verbal. I snapped at my boss, "do you think you can take this food elsewhere?" Oh dear. Given his sexist tendencies to begin with, I'm lucky that he thought I was justified in that moment and didn't issue me a corrective action on the spot. I'm still waiting for him to change his mind and lower the butt of the whip.
That incident convinced me that caffeine is my enemy. So no, I can't start drinking again.
There are those days of the week when I must be at work by 1pm. This is another source of my sleep/sleep again trouble: I have an evening job and a daytime daughter. I also have a sporadic work schedule coupled with the Monday-Friday schedule of my daughter's life, and the 24/7 schedule of my online education. It's hard to coalesce when the six different parts of me are shouting "more sleep!" The final effect is that I oversleep on some days and get maybe three hours on other days.
Something has to give. Either I have to train myself to go to bed when the majority of Americans do (by 10pm, right?) or, I have to get some serious drugs prescribed for my narcolepsy. Or, I have to find a substitute for caffeine. I want to call Starbucks and ask if they will design a "Half-Caff" drink for me. I could earn some royalties for coming up with "half-caff."
Other than that, it's midnight and I'm wide awake. Next up is a compare and contrast paper on The Chosen. Excellent book. No American should go without reading it. Some of my classmates (one radical feminist--a little too radical) focused on "hate" as a theme in The Chosen. She said that Danny and Reuven were "taught hate." Huh? After the eye injury Reuven receives on the baseball field, this story is ALL about love. And I loved it.
Maybe I should take some kind of vitamin or mineral? Someone might suggest I try to get a different job. Let me fill you in on why that won't work. I live in a rural town of 7K people. I work in a rural town of 13K people, 13 miles away at the hospital. The other major employers are Wal-Mart, Wah-Chang, and Intel. I can't see myself bagging third-world goods marked as American into happy-smiley-face bags, nor can I see myself scaling the sawdust piles at Wah-Chang, nor contributing to the contamination of the Santiam ecological system as Intel is accused of. Plus, all of those places have swing and graveyard shifts just like the hospital. So, I'm stuck. That is, if I wish to make a wage higher than that of a McDonald's or Lube-It-Fast worker.
What came to me, is that I need interdisciplinary action. I must find the source of my need for sleep and then discipline it into something I can order around at will. Sleep now. Don't sleep then. Move to next task, pronto. Then, between my multi-level time-lives, I would do some yoga and Pilates, sip 20 little sips of water fast through a straw, stretch my neck to the side at a 90-degree angle both ways, and I'd be good as new! I just need discipline, that's all.