Sleep is really quite important, I’m realising, and I’m not getting anywhere near enough. In the past I’ve always been a pretty reliable sleeper. I could get into bed, read a little and guarantee that I’d start to drift off within a few minutes. I would then snuggle down, reading material bookmarked, to sleep for 8 hrs straight (or until the alarm went off).
Sure there were occasions when sleep eluded me for a short while, those nights where your mind is a-whirl and thoughts won’t stop intruding; about that colleague you just can’t figure out, that new project that you want to do really well on but you’ve hit a block, or the bills that are mounting up, or how you get your daughter to work harder at school, wear something other than black, give getting a job a go. Those are the nights when I impatiently tell myself to “stop worrying” and then try and meditate my way to sleep. Listen to my breathing, let is pass, listen to the frogs chorusing, let it flow through, focus on breathe more, feel the drift of my conscious into the unconscious and then I sleep.
Lately though, sleep and I have been struggling with each other. Reading until I’m tired can’t break through the pain barrier, nor can the meditation. I’ve been pretty lucky up until now, led a fairly charmed life when it comes to the health lottery, but this pain that I have, which is making my sleep less joyful and more like a chore, makes everything more complicated, slower, fussier, guarded.
I’ll be frank, I’m getting pretty jack of sleeping on one side of my body only. The ribs on my right side are also pretty pissed off with it too. They creak and ache and feel bruised with the pressure of my body straining to relax onto them. Yes, I meant that, “straining to relax”. Ah ha! You say. That’s where you are going wrong. You must just relax. Ah, but dear reader, if I relax too much then I will have shooting pains down my left leg that will then make me jump and I’ll get more pain, stabbing, crunchy, searing pain in my lower back and all thought and capacity to relax will elude me for the next 15 or so minutes and so the cycle goes. So I must find that balance between relaxed enough for this body to allow the mind to retreat into unconsciousness and controlled enough that I can stave off the pain until I’m deep enough in sleep not to notice. It’s a balancing act that I’m failing at, with blocks of sleep (term used loosely) between two and four hours usually and the body’s natural response to the sore right ribs is to roll you over into a different position, which is where all the trouble starts again.
This brings me back to my first sentence, the one where I declare how important sleep is and that I miss it. I have a naturally good humoured outlook on life (usually) but reading back over this post I can’t see much of it shining through. I’m wondering if that is a symptom of the five hrs sleep I got last night, the five and a half hours the night before and the one hour blocks I was sleeping in two nights ago. How quickly lack of sleep reduces your tolerance, your capacity for rational and reasonable thought, your compassion and forgiveness for others NOT BEING ABLE TO READ YOUR MIND AND JUST DO THE THINGS FOR YOU. I don’t mean to shout, it just comes over me sometimes and I barely have the self control to push it away. I don’t like this crotchety self.
I thought I just needed good drugs. I had some the doctor prescribed and they worked, sort of, in reducing the pain enough to let me sleep. Then, after the dog/chicken incident (see succinct explanation in a previous post), a different doctor gave me some different pills, to add to the other pills, and, you know, they are just scratching the surface. I even tried another pill a friend suggested (not an illegal substance), it just made me too drowsy to move out of a position that hurt to lay in and didn’t affect the pain level at all.
I’m not sure what I need other than this pain to go away. I’m not seeking advice about pain management or sciatica treatment. Notice that no drugs were named in the making of this blog post? That’s because I just need to write about what I need to write about and maybe, just maybe, writing it down will help me find a way through so that I can sleep the sleep of the innocent again.