I’m writing this after the first good night’s sleep I’ve had in a week and I feel like a completely different person. Woo hoo, sleep is the bomb. You’d think I get a lot of sleep, being chronically fatigued and all, but that’s one of the weirder parts of CFS in that you’re exhausted but find it hard to sleep. You don’t do enough activity to feel physically tired, you often don’t do enough mental activity to be mentally tired so you just drift from one fugue state to the next, dozing in a sleepy world wondering when you’ll get better.
So, I was actually going pretty well with my sleep up until last week when I had a whole lot in one week including a funeral and I was pretty wiped. I then completely hit the wall at the end of the week having coffee with a friend; that crash didn’t take long to recover from physically, but mentally it scared the hell out of me – I just had coffee, I wasn’t stupid, I didn’t go for a run, I just had coffee, what? Was I getting worse instead of better? Now, for someone with a mind prone to anxiety, this set off a flurry of anxious thoughts that were taking off way too fast for me to get a hold on them, which led to me being completely unable to make decisions and being worried about everything. Yuck. So, what happened each night when I tried to sleep? Pew, pew, pew went the thoughts around my head like lasers. Hmm, not so much sleep and even more worry about whether I was getting any better.
This continued for several days with my anxious exhausted mind during the day and my anxious wired mind at night duking it out as to who could wreak more havoc.
The thing with anxiety is that you don’t always realise it’s happening until it’s too late and the war is being waged. I know what to do when I get anxious, I do, I know I need to slow down and meditate and listen to relaxing music and do some stretching (since running is no longer allowed) and not to engage in the battle being waged in my wayward brain. But I forget, I just get sucked in to the fight and spend hours trying to decide if I should drive to the CFS Health Centre or take public transport or get a taxi… I’ll get a taxi, but then that’s expensive, I should drive, but then I might be too tired, then take public transport, but I don’t know how long it takes, well then… Woah, it’s 2am and I’m not getting any closer to sleep.
So what did I do yesterday that was different? Well, I went and my chronic fatigue coach at the CFS Health Centre and told her about my shitty week and she clarified what was happening and why I was anxious and that I was scared of crashing again and was second guessing myself and that maybe I was simply recovering from the funeral still as that was a huge day and even people without CFS find funerals exhausting. Oh yeah, light-bulb moment, right. I’d been so worried I was getting worse when really I was just recovering from the week before. And anxiety, yeah, that old beast. We came up with a plan for last night’s sleep and I messaged her this morning to update her on my successful slumber.
I was so happy to have slept, to have not fought the anxious fight in my mind, to have just switched off – bliss. Now I’m going to sign off here so I can wind down without a backlit screen mucking up my circadian rhythm and hopefully I have another good night’s sleep!