Today, I’d like to talk about sleep and summer, two things I really dislike. Or rather, one I hate with the heat of a thousand suns (the latter, which is ironic, don’t you think?), and one that hates me (the former). Let’s start with sleep with a quick primer on my sleep background. I never went to bed before midnight, not even a tiny person. I tricked my parents by stuffing the crack under the door with a towel/t-shirt, then reading for hours. In college, I had a 7:45 a.m. class, and I could never fall asleep before 3 or 4 in the morning. Needless to say. I wasn’t at my best for that semester. My favorite story is how I was looking for my alarm clock one morning (small, purple traveling alarm clock), but it wasn’t where I kept it. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. I shrugged and opened my mini-fridge to grab my morning Diet Pepsi and guess what was in it? You got it, the alarm clock. I put it on the sink across the room from my bed, which kept me from putting it in the fridge again. Any time I would go home from college for a vacation or break, I would sleep fifteen hours the first day I was home and get sick.
In my sophomore year, I spent an entire semester falling asleep all the time. During classes, while talking to other people, and while driving*. It was embarrassing to wake up in class with a line of drool slithering down my chin and nothing but scribbles in my notebook (literal notebook. This was pre-phone/computer to take notes days). It was jarring to be talking to someone and then ‘wake up’ ten minutes later and have no idea what we had talked about. The other person never knew I was gone, which I’ll talk about more in a bit. As for the last, that was terrifying. ‘Waking up’ to be driving 70 mph is not a joyous thing, I’ll tell you that much.
Many many years later, I figured out that while I was falling asleep during the first instance (and still got As/A-s for all my classes that semester), I was actually experiencing dissociative episodes. This is self-diagnosed, and I hesitate to say I actually had multiple personality disorder (in part because it no longer exists as a diagnosis and is notoriously hard to prove), but I’m pretty comfortable in saying that I had someone else talking for me while I was ‘sleeping’ inside. I would posit the same for the third situation because I didn’t crash, and this happened more than once or ten times. How did it stop? I don’t know. It just…did. Luckily.
Fast-forward to after college. I slept roughly four hours a night. It was barely enough to keep me functioning, and I have done a million things to try to alleviate the problem. It’s legend, actually. Valerian root (made me suicidal), sleeping pills (couldn’t wake up), lavender (allergic to it), chamomile tea (did nothing), exercise (nothing), sleep deprivation (temporary boost, then nothing), melatonin (jack and shit), hot milk (nada), and other such remedies. None of it worked. Honestly, the only thing that helped me at all was–sex. A rousing bout of sex had me sleeping like a baby and for a bit longer. Not much, but some.
You want to know when I get the most sleep? When I’m sick. It’s the only time my body says, “Hey, you know what? We’ll let you sleep a little more than usual, but don’t get used to it.” It’s how I gauge when I’m getting better after being sick–when I start sleeping less. It’s frustrating as hell, but it’s a good gauge of my road to recovery. The problem is, right now, this is not happening. I’ve been sick, but I’m pretty much over it. However, my sleep is being stubborn in that after I’ve been up for fourteen hours, I’m dead tired. This is not usual for me. At all. So, I’ve been going to bed anywhere from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. and getting up anywhere from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Last night, however, I went to bed at 3:30 a.m. and got up at 8:30 a.m. My cat, Shadow, who has gotten used to me getting up at the crack of dawn, was not pleased at having to wait two whole hours for his breakfast. You would think he’d be used to being fed at weird times because I sleep at such odd times, but cats are creatures of habit.
For the most part, because of taiji, I sleep six to six-and-a-half hours a night these days. That’s amazing considering I used to sleep four hours a night if I was lucky. This up by dawn thing, however, is not making me very happy. Why? One, because I’m used to going to bed at the time I’m getting up these days. I’ve been doing it all my life, and it’s not easy to adjust to the idea that I am now, at least temporarily, a morning person. Two, I really, really like the night. I like feeling as if I’m the only person awake, and it’s so peaceful and serene. Three, I’m just wondering if this is the permanent state of things or not. Like I said, I went to bed at 3:30 last night/this morning, which is appreciably later than I have in the recent past. I also only got five hours of sleep, which isn’t enough these days. So I’ll probably be going to bed earlier.
During my recent bout of sickness which lasted six months, I slept way more than my usual, but I was more tired, regardless. Now, it seems like I’m so tired no matter how much I sleep. It could be my lifetime of sleep debt crashing down about my head, but whatever the reason, it’s annoying as fuck.
Moving on–summer. I fucking hate it. I know it’s a very unpopular opinion, but if I could get rid of one season, it would be summer. It’s hot, sweaty, and gross. My favorite temperature is roughly zero. This week, we went from 85 to 55, and while I love the latter, it’s difficult to adjust from one to the other. We went from a prolonged winter to summer, and now, we’re having our spring. This weird weather is hell on my allergies, which are terrible to begin with. I’m allergic to everything, and I mean everything. My eyes are perma-puffy right now, and it’s another reason I fucking hate summer. Allergies are the worst.
Let’s move onto bugs. I detest them. A lot. If they are outside, fair play. That’s where they live. If they are inside, fuck ’em. This is my domain, and they need to stay out of it. Shadow does his part, but it’s not much good with fucking fruit flies or those fucking tiny ant-like things that scuttle everywhere. Both of these tend to invade my kitchen in the summer, and it drives me irrationally crazy. Fucking hate bugs. I also fucking hate mosquitoes because I have a severe reaction to being bit by them. Like, really severe. It’s not technically allergy level, but it’s big, puffy, hot, and red bad, which, not incidentally, is the same as my eyes.
So, yeah. These are all the reasons I hate summer. Another is that I get what I call oppositional SAD (seasonal aspect disorder). Most people get SAD in the winter because of lack of sun, cold, etc. For me, I get it in the summer because of the aforementioned reasons. Excessive heat makes me irritated, depressed, sluggish, and glum.
‘Tis the winter of our discontent? Hell, no! ‘Tis the summer of my fucking malcontent.
*PSA: Really try to avoid the last if you can. Seriously.