It’s nearly 11 pm. I am wide awake…again. Insomnia is my enemy. I’ve become a creature of the dark. I agonize over it. Nothing is lonelier than wandering around in the darkness at night and trying to fill the quiet with something to do. The minutes tick slowly by. I stress. Should I set my alarm early and try and go on just a couple of hours sleep tomorrow? Should I just allow myself the rest I need and forget it? I worry over this every night. Getting rest always wins. I have enough unhealthy habits to contend with. I don’t need to add sleep deprivation to the list.
It wouldn’t be that much of a concern if it weren’t for the depression. I’m a stay-at-home housewife, my kids are raised and out of the home, and other than having my dogs with me during the day, there is nothing that demands my immediate attention in the morning. But there is the depression. Among other things, I also suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Winter wreaks havoc on me enough because I don’t have as many hours of daylight. Add waking up later and later everyday to the mix, and that’s potentially disastrous. That means less hours of daylight and a lot more darkness to deal with. Well, that and you feel like a complete loser for still being in bed long after the rest of the country is up, out, and doing something constructive.
I woke up at 11:30 this morning. Even that’s a record for me. Normally my dogs get me out of bed by 10 am, no matter what time I get to sleep. The thought that it was almost noon made me groan. I did not want to get out of bed at that point. What was the sense? I texted my husband, which I do nearly every morning; I told him something was definitely going on with me, because I was just waking up. He replied “Loser!” Now I know he was kidding, but that’s exactly how I was feeling. A loser who does nothing but sleep till noon. It’s a guy thing, I know. They don’t always know the right thing to say, so they ad-lib with a joke.
Just then a message from my daughter appeared and the rest of the day suddenly brightened.
Jess: “They love each other so much.” (The text included a pic of my 10 year old grandson lying on the carpet on his stomach eating a bowl of cereal with the family dog splayed across his back)
Me: (Being selfish and totally unable to reply to the adorable picture) “I literally just now woke up! Wtf is wrong with me?”
Jess: “Quit being so hard on yourself! Do you have anywhere to be?? No. So who gives a shit what time you wake up? Clearly you need the sleep.”
Me: “It makes me feel like a loser. My body doesn’t get enough light. My depression starts getting bad again.”
Jess: “It’s gonna start getting nice and, hopefully, if the weather is nicer you’ll feel like you have a reason to get up and get out of the house. You have no reason to feel like a loser. Nobody is expecting anything of you right now so don’t be so hard on yourself. I think your amazing!”
Me: “I love you sooo much! You know that?”
Jess: “Of course. You never let me forget.”
Me: “You just make me feel better about myself. Very supportive!”
Jess: “It’s the least I can do. You’ve spent your whole life supporting other people financially, emotionally, mentally, etc. It’s YOUR turn now. If you need to sleep in, DO IT! If you need to go have a spa day to clear your head, DO IT! Your kids are out of the house and your husband is an adult. Take care of yourself first. As a matter of fact, I think you, Bailee, and I, should go for lunch and a pedicure in the next couple weeks. Whata you think??”
And just like that…I was fine.
The lesson for today is how vital it is to let someone know they matter. Those of us that are forced to live in perpetual darkness because of our depression sometimes look at our lives through a cloudy lens and forget our value. All it takes is one person to show us we still matter to regain it. It can be lifesaving.
I must’ve done something right. I raised this awesome woman!