A while ago I wrote about being sleepy. I now have an answer, a reason for all that sleepiness: sleep apnea. It’s not sexy, but it’s also not conversion disorder, which was my big fear.

So there’s something actually wrong that the data supports, and you cannot imagine how exciting that is to someone who has dealt with conversion disorder. It’s a sort of validation. That my anxiety is not so all-powerful that it is changing the way I sleep or forcing me to sleep throughout the day.

My CPAP machine has not yet been delivered, but I’ve been coping for a little while now on a new medication. In my Sleepy post, I mentioned a sample. I since received a prescription for a medication called Sunosi. I first took a sample dose in late November and began a prescription in December.

I cannot tell you whether anyone else should ever take this medication, but I can tell you my experience. Precious little is written anecdotally about this medication on the internet as of today, as I found when it was first prescribed for me.

If you want to read about Sunosi and its mechanism for working, its risks, and all that, go here. If you want to know what it has been like to take the medication, read on.

The medication begins at a small dose and increases at intervals until the patient is taking the highest indicated dose. During that transitional period, I had my first passes with being awake, really awake, in a long time. But I also experienced crashes. A few to several hours after a dose, I would crash and all my sleep pressure would tumble down on me with force. However, once I settled on my highest dose for a couple of weeks, the crashes disappeared. The medication granted me about nine hours of alert wakefulness, which was amazing, truly, but I thought there might be a way to extend my day.

I asked and was given permission by my doctor to take half of my dose in the morning and the other half six hours later. This was when a switch flipped in my life. I went from sleeping 14-16 hours every day to being awake 13-15 hours. Most days, no naps.

Now when I am awake, I am alert and capable. I don’t see life through a haze. I am engaged with the people in my life and with my work. I arise in the morning and go to bed in the evening, and it feels terrific.

For a long time, sleeping, particularly daytime sleeping, has felt to me like my own moral failure. Now I see that morality has nothing to do with this situation. My depression is in as small a place as it’s been in years, maybe ever. My anxiety doesn’t overwhelm me often; I’ve had one panic attack in two months. Despite feeling like I went to sleep in my thirties and awoke in my forties, I am more positive, motivated, and assured than I have felt in so very long.

I look forward to getting the CPAP machine. I look forward to oxygenating my brain and body throughout a night of sleep. I am eager to see how that impacts my life. (And, yes, I know it may be a bumpy road.)

But, y’all, being awake is nothing short of inspiring. If you’re struggling with oversleeping, see your doctor. See a sleep doctor. Get help, because help exists. You do not have to sleep through all of your life. You can carve out times to be present and available and awake.

Annual Theme Life

A Speck of an Inkling of a Possibility

Recently I invited someone close to me to share in a vision with me for my future as a writer and artist. Being admirably honest and intensely specific, they said of my prospects: “It is like a speck of an inkling of a possibility.”

That was Sunday. On Monday I returned to my desk and reviewed my theme for this year. Lo and behold! I discovered a grave mistake I had made.

Let me back up. Every year I choose a theme to guide my work and other aspects of my life. For 2020, my theme is Shared Vision. Each of my past themes has been introspective, gazing internally at trouble areas and solutions. This year, I’m focusing on my own visions and how others relate to them, but I’m also seeking to share in a vision with people I’m close to. To seek to understand what they want in their own lives and how I might relate to that vision through emotional, physical, or spiritual support.

Last November I prepared the Spreadsheet of Destiny, aka the spreadsheet of my intentions for my theme. Turns out that November-me had a pretty clear notion of what January-me would need.

One line item on my spreadsheet reveals the vision to be present. One strategy for being present? Don’t indulge fantasies (for good or ill) of the future.

I reread that line on Monday, and Sunday’s conversation suddenly became clear. I had asked this person close to me to indulge a future fantasy. Why? Because it’s more entertaining than doing the work and more satisfying than failing. The other person couldn’t indulge in that fantasy. They couldn’t. Because the fantasy felt like a speck of an inkling of a possibility.

On Monday I understood where they were coming from. I understood my mistake was indulging a fantasy and dragging another person into it.

Another thing happened on Monday, though. A speck of an inkling of a possibility didn’t sound like such a bad thing. During a depression dip, that phrase might have blocked my writing for a week or a month as I focused on the tininess of myself. But Monday. Monday I had the health and sight to see it as enough and expansive and not a bad phrase at all.

In the universe, I am a speck of an inkling of a possibility. So are you. And that is plenty. From that, we can write worlds, compose galaxies, paint the heavens themselves. From just a speck of an inkling of a possibility has been born every song, book, movie, masterpiece, and machine ever created. Inhabit the speck. And let it expand as you create. And fill the world with art.

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