For more than a year I have suggested to my healthcare providers that I’m depressed because I sleep so much, not–as had been presumed–that I sleep because I’m depressed. The doctors have listened. But the wheels of healthcare churn slowly through a miasma of mucky insurance and murky interdepartmental harangues.
It is four days shy of a year since I sat in my psychiatrist’s office and cried over my sleep. My desperate need for it. The pressure that bore down on me every day, making my eyes feel swollen and my appendages leaden.
It’s been two months and two days since my first at-home sleep study failed. No data. That’s all I was told: there was zero data. It’s been one month and two days since the second at-home sleep study also failed due to an error with the pulse oximeter. User error is really tough to accomplish, as the thing has a fingernail drawing and straps to wrap around. Perhaps I tossed too much? No idea.
Meanwhile the sleep lab was charged with battling insurance for an inpatient study, and the sleep doctor has been on vacation.
However, I did receive a sample of a medication for wakefulness. With the doctor’s blessing and a little fine tuning, I have had many wakeful days. Let me tell you, being awake is a wild ride.
I have access to a broader range of emotions. I have bandwidth to follow movies. Did you know you can get work done when you’re awake? It’s amazing! I’m repaying the heavy toll on my loved ones from so very long asleep.
From sleeping 14-16 hours a day on average to sleeping 7-10 hours a day is a tremendous gain. Particularly because my awake hours are alert, productive, and effective. My kids have told me the difference is this: more fun, less frustration, more face time.
As the sample dwindles, I feel my anxiety toying with all the what-ifs of going back to sleep. Like a RIP van Winkle. Here but not. Un-fun. Frustrated and frustrating. Absent.
I’m fighting against that building dread by enjoying my waking moments to the very extent I can. And if I cannot enjoy, then at least I will be present.
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