This I Believe

Cathy - Keswick, Virginia
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the value of a good night’s sleep. Good sleep is restorative physically and psychologically. It requires the ability to turn off or, at least, quiet, my mind. Dreaming provides an opportunity to connect with the divine, or myself, and to awake with a different perspective. Clean sheet night is a ritual for me. Snoozing with my pets is one of our favorite things to do together. I love it when I wake up before the alarm feeling rested. On those mornings I make pancakes or waffles for breakfast and usually catch myself singing. I carry that feeling and attitude into the day.

Just over a year ago I started to use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. That’s when I began to fully realize the value of good sleep. I’ve never been a morning person so it was a bit shocking to wake up feeling energized. It’s been a process for me to learn how to maintain good sleep habits. I reluctantly accept that good sleep has to happen at night so I can function along with the rest of the world. And, like most good things, too much sleep can backfire on me.

By nature I’m impatient and impulsive. It’s a struggle for me to create balance and to maintain consistency. My pets help by reminding me about the importance of routine, the value of rest and play and that it’s not just about me. They accept me as a flawed yet lovable human being.

I have fibromyalgia, so chronic pain, fatigue and depression are a way of life for me. I need more sleep than other people so I simply can’t get as much done. I struggle with accepting my limitations. I have to constantly re-adjust my expectations and sometimes that feels like letting myself down. I have to believe that sleeping is doing something that has value and accept that others may not share this belief.

Someone once described depression as swimming through jello. That’s what it feels like to me. It descends like a foggy cloud….I lose my perspective. Taking a shower or preparing a snack is exhausting. Answering the phone is more than I can handle. My brain just doesn’t function properly and once the descent begins it’s hard to pull myself out of it. So I escape to my bed and the respite that sleep provides. It’s a vicious cycle…I’m exhausted by the effort it takes to move through jello all day and sleeping deprives me of the opportunity to do other things that make me feel better. Except if I believe in the value of good sleep and I need more sleep when I’m depressed then maybe sleeping is a necessary part of my healing.

A good night’s sleep both requires and enables me to have a productive day. If I can live my life with purpose, create balance, and learn to accept my limitations then I will be able to get a good night’s sleep. This I believe.