In an effort to get my sleeping pattern back on track, I’ve been taking a sleeping pill almost every night before I have to wake up early – early being sometime before 9AM. This translates to taking something 5 or 6 times a week – 3 times for 3 work days, and 2 times for 2 clinic days, and MAYBE if I decided to do something stupid and schedule an appointment before 10AM.
One of the odd side effects of MDD (are you guys sick and tired of hearing about this yet?) is that you’re either exhausted and sleep all day, have insufferable insomnia, or you’re exhausted but you have insomnia. I suffer from all three, at differing times of my life. A couple of months ago, I was falling asleep at 4AM and waking up at 7 or 8AM, not really tired or sleepy, but not well-rested either. I was on summer “break” (for all of 2 weeks), so the lack of sleep didn’t bother me much. And since my work days were spread out, it wasn’t that difficult to sleep at 4AM for 3 days and then actually wake up at 4AM the next day. This was a pattern that went on for quite a number of weeks.
Last week, I discovered that past me decided to screw me over and scheduled me to work 3 days in a row. Note: I have not done this in quite some time and I try to avoid it at all costs. For those of you who work 5 days a week, I admire you. I know many of you 9-to-5-ers look at us nurses and go, “You guys are so lucky! You get 4 days off!”
The reality is, we get 4 days off, but not always in a row, and it usually takes a good 12 hours to recover from a day of work. If you work a 3-in-a-row shift, it can take you a day-and-a-half to recover, if at all. You really don’t get 4 days off. Sometimes, I think I might prefer the 5 days of work from 9-5 instead of this insane 3 days of work 7-7:30 – if you’re lucky enough to get out on time. So, really, nothing to envy here.
So anyway, I worked 3 days in a row, and each night, I went to sleep hoping I’d get called off, and each morning, I’d wake up groaning at 4:30AM realizing that I still had to go in. The first day, I woke up and laid there in a groggy haze, wondering if this was all worth it (It was. I got up and went to work because I need the job). But I realized that having fell asleep at 1:30AM was not going to help me at all. After 12.5 hours of keeping people alive, turning patients 2 to 3x my weight, and trying to fit 300 things into one work day, I came home and just sat in my chair and decided, “I really need to fall asleep sooner.”
So I dug into my stash of sleeping pills that I haven’t taken in quite a while and I took one.
I haven’t really needed to take any sleeping pills for a while because I haven’t been as mentally exhausted as I had been for the past 2 months. Yes, I’m busy out of my mind and I feel like if I stop, I’ll panic, wondering if I forgot something. But these past 2 months have been something else entirely. The reason I don’t really take them is
1) Half of them work insanely well, but they make me loopy
2) Of the ones that make me loopy, half of them force me to sleep 8 hours, while the others let me sleep for 4~6 and I’ll feel fine
3) I’m running out of the 4~6 hour ones, and I’m too busy to go to the doctor.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. So I started taking the other half, the ones that don’t really work as well. These are called Lunesta. They make me fall asleep, but unlike my Ambiens, Lunesta takes an hour or so to work. Ambien knocks me out in 15 minutes.
The other problem with Lunesta is that it makes me groggy. I’ve tried melatonin, Zzzquil, other OTC sleep aids, and they all make me feel super lightheaded and dizzy the next morning, like I’m fighting to keep my soul in my body.
So here I am today, my third day taking Lunesta, and I feel like my head is about to fall off my shoulders. I can’t turn too fast because my head will spin. The coffee probably doesn’t help, but I need coffee because I’m tired.
See, I don’t even know why I’m telling you guys all this. That’s how loopy I am right now.
Now I’m playing gibberish peek-a-boo with a 15-month-old baby who keeps running into the office and going, “NYAH!!!!” while trying to hide behind the door jam.
Silly girl, doesn’t she realize I can see her poofy tulle skirt?