My niece recently posted a picture of her son, sound asleep in the car, after a hard day in 1st grade. Ah, the memories. I miss being able to sleep anytime, anywhere, regardless of the circumstances.
I miss being completely indifferent to sound or light or motion or surroundings. I miss sleeping so deeply that I’d wake up in my room without any memory of having been picked up and carried there. I really miss being tucked in.
I miss drooling on someone’s shoulder. No. I take that back. I don’t miss that. What I miss is being so easily forgiven for doing something that disgusting. Try pulling that off at age 54 sometime.
I miss the concept that naps are mandatory, rather than a guilty pleasure. I miss taking sleep so for granted that I could pitch a fit rather than do it, secure in the knowledge that I’d get there eventually. I miss not being kept awake by my own thoughts and concerns.
Most of all, I miss that level of deep, unwavering trust. I have fond memories of being so certain that if I took a train to dream land, someone would be there to watch over my corporeal being until I returned.
Enjoy it while you can, kiddo.
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The alarm was set. I swear to God. But the volume was turned down.
I rolled over and looked at the clock an hour later. “Oh, Sh**!!!!!!”
“You’re here???” dear husband said. He had just been thinking how impressed he was that I’d managed to get ready for work and leave without waking him up.
I ran around the house, leaping over dogs and trying to figure out what to do. I did a fairly accurate imitation of one of those squirrels who sees a car bearing down on him, and can’t decide which way to run. At one point I was wearing my husband’s glasses, and wondering why I couldn’t see. I vaguely recall running into several rooms for no apparent reason.
I couldn’t figure out how to use my phone. My brain does not thrive on these abrupt transitions. I knew I had to call someone, but who?
I called my coworker as I rushed into the bathroom. “How long will it take you to get here?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! I’m on my way! Less than an hour. I’m so sorry! Sh**!”
I was out of the bathroom and changing my clothes and out the door, shouting goodbye over my shoulder, in less than 6 minutes.
Thank goodness I have a hairbrush in my car. Unfortunately, I don’t have a toothbrush. And I hadn’t taken my morning meds. This is not the first time I’ve been grateful that I don’t do makeup.
I got to work, only 9 minutes late, feeling nauseous from the adrenaline dump. I refuse to incriminate myself regarding how many traffic violations I committed to do so, and how many times I questioned myself along the way to make sure I was driving to the correct drawbridge.
Upon arrival, I looked in the mirror and realized I still had marks on my face from my CPAP mask. I’d gladly pay someone $500 to let me go back to bed. That offer is still on the table.
As I write this, I’m sitting here feeling gross because of skipping so many steps in my morning hygiene regimen, and kind of resentful of the fact that even though I got an extra hour of sleep, I didn’t get to enjoy it. And I’m doing that leg shaking thing that I thought I got over in my 20’s.
I have this love/hate relationship with my CPAP machine. I’ve been sleeping with a mask on every night for about 3 months now. It’s no fun at all. It’s uncomfortable, and confining, and it makes me marinate in my own drool. I feel trapped, and I strongly suspect it’s subtly changing the shape of my face. (Hey, it could happen. Anything’s possible. Google it.)
On the other hand, I’m no longer waking up 10 times a night. I sleep right on through, usually. And I’m much more rested. So it’s a burden I’m willing to take on.
Here’s the one concern I can’t seem to shake: I’m not communicating with my subconscious. We are no longer on speaking terms. I don’t remember my dreams anymore, because I’m not waking up immediately after REM sleep.
This is a good thing, health-wise. But I wonder about that communication process and the loss thereof. I mean, what are dreams for, if not to send us messages from the deepest parts of our brains?
Okay, I’ll admit that 9 times out of 10 I can’t make sense of my dreams at all. But sometimes they clue me in on the fact that I’m a lot more concerned about something than I realize. That allows me to take that thing more seriously and resolve it if I can.
But now all that seems to rattle around in my sleeping brain is the background hum of my CPAP machine. At first it was kind of a relief, because I have enough to think about without added dream drama. But now I wonder what I’m missing.
Because of that (and because, let’s face it, I hate the mask), I sometimes peel the alien intruder off my face and allow myself a few hours of slobber-free, unencumbered sleep. It’s such a luxury. It feels so good.
I have noticed, though, that this causes my dreams to be incredibly intense. No longer just abstract and surreal, it’s like my sleeping self is gripping me by the shoulders and giving me a good hard shake. “Hello! Are you listening? This stuff is important!” My dreams are no longer sweet. They’re more like shouts.
Will this impact my mental health? I mean, communication matters, right? Should I be worried? Stay tuned…