Dear Sleep: I Miss You.

Today’s Happy Note: Went to a fun poetry/art event tonight with a friend I haven’t seen in a while (hi Joy!!!!).

Okay, no proper post tonight because Caronae is CRANKY.

Why am I cranky?

Because I. Can’t. Sleep.

Ever.

I have tried everything: tea, yoga, stretching, disconnecting from technology, melatonin, magnesium, relaxation techniques, meditation, very active daytime, quiet environment.  I repeat: EVERYTHING.

I have reached a point of tremendous frustration and have resorted to a prescription.  I want to be honest with you guys here since this is my blog about all aspects of health and this is an extraordinarily frustrating (health) situation for me.  I don’t understand why I can take care of myself in so many ways — I run, I walk, I do yoga, I lift weights, I savor my veggies and fruits, I do positive self-talk — and still have this one major issue going on.  It has gotten much worse this semester.  And not sleeping affects everything else in my life: I can’t concentrate in class or at work, I can’t eat at the right times or get my workouts in (although usually I force myself to anyways which ends up exhausting me even more), I don’t spend as much time on homework or with friends as I’d like.  All because I waste hours everyday trying to fall asleep or being asleep when I don’t need to be (i.e. the middle of the day).

I have tried getting on a regular “schedule”, but my life is so varied that this doesn’t work; the minute I have to stay up late studying until two AM one night, everything is thrown off for weeks.  This is not reasonable.  This is not normal.  I have a serious sleep problem. Insomnia, but also something else, I suspect.

I saw a psychiatrist a few days ago to figure out what we can do in terms of medication.  I now have a sedative and another anti-depressant that works as a sleep aid.  I have been taking this second medication, we’ll call it T for about three days now and I feel absolutely bizarre.  I feel hungover all day and downright drunken when I wake up.  This afternoon I was so exhausted that I had to take a three hour nap instead of running and when I woke up, I stumbled around my room and fell into my door and hit my head.  Not cool, T, not cool.  I then proceeded to lose my phone in my 150 square foot room.  Later on, I found it.  Sitting in the center of my desk.

In sum, I feel at an impasse.  I don’t really know what to do.  I’ll probably stay up all night tonight since I slept this afternoon and I won’t be able to fall asleep unless I take the sedative and if I do that then I won’t be able to wake up for my morning classes.

I won’t lie, I’m angry.

Dear Body, I work so hard to take care of you.  Why won’t you let me sleep?  Love, Caronae.

Suggestions?  Sympathy?  Random things to distract me?

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Friday Night Date With Myself

Today’s Mini Goal: Have fun on my run tomorrow — I am going to just use it as a time to explore, think, and chill out.  Ski trip, sadly, was cancelled again, but I think I’m going to make this run a sort of replacement endurance event.  I’m thinking maybe 18 miles.  Not sure.

Still no run today.  I am happy that I am being honest with myself that right now, I simply don’t want to get my exercise via running.  This feeling tends to surface near the end of a training cycle and I am glad that I have been able to acknowledge it.  For some people, pushing through might be the right thing, but for me, at this point in my life, there is a more important lesson to be found in listening to my mind and body: if running is going to be a source of anxiety for me at this moment, I will not do it; I am already in shape for the half-marathon, and as long as I throw in a few runs a week I will be fine.

Wow.  It seems strange to get so worked up about something so small, but for me, running is a huge part of my life.  At this moment, I need it to bring me peace and joy, and when it is not doing that, I think I need to change things up.  I guess I’ve been in a running rut.  Hopefully it will end soon, but if not, I’ll just have to think up alternative fun ways of moving.  And I am okay with that.

Lunch Smoothie In A Bowl (well, really it was a cup, but who cares):

Mango, banana and orange juice smoothie topped with a crumbled homemade granola bar (Averie’s recipe), almonds, and chobani pineapple (it’s buried).  I added a few spoons of pb too.

My sleeping habits have been super funky lately (by the way, this is totally related to the smoothie in a bowl because I took a nap after eating it).  I try so hard to get on a regular schedule (i.e, get in bed and read at 11, lights out at 12, up at 8), but it just has not been working.  It’s really frustrating because typically what my inability to sleep means is that I drag myself out of bed for class or work at 9, sludge through my day, am too tired to exercise in the evening, then eat dinner at 5 and pass out all evening.  Then, of course, I have to stay up until 3 or 4 am to study and the cycle starts all over again.  I really have tried to maintain a consistent schedule, but I cannot fall asleep most nights.  I’ll take melatonin sometimes, but then I’m realllllllly tired in the mornings.  I saw my doctor today about it and we talked about my daily habits, sleep patterns, medications, etc.  She gave me a prescription for a sedative but said that I need to see the school’s psychiatric services if I want a sleep medication.  I freely admit that my sleep issues probably are psychiatric.  Although I often don’t feel anxious in the evenings, I tend to think really hard about things when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  I’m really not sure what to do at this point; I have a serious family and individual history of insomnia, and my doctor noted that for some people, this is a sort of unsolvable problem that will float in and out of my life always.  My 95 year old grandfather regularly goes days at a time without sleeping; I remember last year when he had just come back from Iran his “schedule” was so off that he was awake almost constantly for something like three straight days and nights.  One of the funniest moments I have ever experienced with him was this past Christmas when we were chatting quietly one evening and he leaned in close and asked me, in a very desperate, almost drug-addict-but-still-extremely-humorous kind of way, if my mother had smuggled him any sleeping pills over the border (most of my family lives in Canada; my mother is a physician).

I have always been in awe of those people, like my dad and sister, who can just fall asleep anytime anywhere.  I crave sleep, but it seems to dislike me most of the time. Okay, sleep rant over.

I took myself out on a little date this evening!  It was pretty much my ideal healthy-but-still-fun Friday night.  I love taking myself out every few weeks.  It’s a nice way to give myself some self-love at the end of a stressful and/or very social week.

1st stop: Yoga! Yoga Vida, which is a lovely little studio near Union Square, like pretty much every other yoga studio in this city, has this stellar deal whereby students get their first week of classes (unlimited) for $5.  Score!  After that, it’s still only $5 a class.  I was muy impressed with this evening’s class.

It was an intermediate/advanced flow.  The class was small and the teacher was quite creative with the poses and series.  We did a lot of chair variations and chaturangas, and we even did this funky crow pose with one leg sort of crossed over the other.  I would definitely go back to this studio.

Also, there was an extraordinarily attractive guy next to me.  He was strong in that yoga-way; sculpted, but naturally so.  I could hardly keep my eyes on my mat.  At one point he did this thing where he went from a handstand, which he had been effortlessly balancing in for like five minutes, directly into a chaturanga.  I can’t really describe it, but it was amazing.  If he would have asked me for some post-yoga tea I most certainly would not have said no 🙂

Next stop: Cookie Friday treat!  No cookie was involved since I gave up baked goods for Lent, but I treated myself to a yummy blended Jamba Juice hot chocolate.  This was one of the few hot chocolates I’ve ever had which tasted like it had some real, serious dark cocoa powder going on.  Me likes.

This was followed by a trip to Trader Joe’s, which was super un-crowded.  I only waited in line for about three minutes.  TJ’s actually has really good prices; I got everything pictured below for just under $50.

In case you can’t see everything, we have brussels, mushrooms, mango, grapefruit, dried pineapple, trail mix (individual packs!!!!!), mixed nuts, pb sandwich crackers, dried hibiscus (!!!!!!!!!!!!), carrot ginger soup, dark chocolate edamame, flax pb, white bean basil hummus (which I saw on Heather’s blog a while ago and have been coveting forever), giant vat of cat-shaped crackers (so fun), and various Greek yogurts.  Is it wrong that my perfect Friday night involves foodie finds?

Close-up on the most interesting item:

Dried hibiscus flowers. See later on in the post for more details!

Dinner was WF cold bar.

Everything was really yummy, especially the spinach-artichoke noodles, but I accidentally consumed an olive, which kind of ruined the whole meal.  Disgusting.  My olive hatred follows closely behind my tomato hatred in its degree of seriousness.

I had a leisurely dinner (followed by some of my newly acquired dark chocolate edamame) with today’s copy of The New York Times.  It was nice to be able to linger and relax.

Once I got home, I had to break open the hibiscus flowers.  The display said “tastes like a fruit roll-up” and it was lying.  These taste infinitely more natural and better than a fruit roll-up.  I actually added one to a big mug of hot water to create a sort of tea and it was so good.  One of the most delicious evening treats I have had in quite some time.

I guess it kind of looks like a weird pink spider, but don’t let that stop you from buying these little gems.  I can’t wait to find all sorts of delicious uses for them.

So that was my Friday night date with myself.  Perhaps a companion might have made it a little better, but I’m content with my singleness for now.

Do you ever like to have a day or evening to yourself?  If so, what do you like to include in it?

Sleep and Soup

Today’s Positive Note: I really like my hips.  It sounds kind of weird to say that out loud, but it’s true.  They’re not dainty, and I like them that way.  I think they have enough curve to be feminine without just being large.  Also, odd fact, I really like my hip bones.

I’ve always kind of had issues with insomnia, and, like most of my minor physical dilemmas, it appears most often during times of stress.  Transitioning between home (Michigan) and school (New York) is by no means difficult for me — I’m quite used to it by now — but there remains something stressful about it.  I can’t quite name it.  It’s almost a very deep, visceral physical reaction.  Like my body knows something that my mind doesn’t, which I actually find quite impressive.  Anyways.  Dear sleep, please come back soon.  Love, Caronae.

Speaking of sleep, it’s my reason (excuse?) for not running today.  Monday was strength, yesterday was four miles, and today was supposed to be a six mile fartlek.  But, after falling asleep during all my classes today, stumbling around campus in a sleepy stupor, and barely having the energy to cook my dinner, I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.  I thought about getting up to do it this morning, but I had only slept for five hours.  My goal is to do (some of) my mountains of reading tonight, do a little yoga for some movement, and go to bed early.  Not following my training plan exactly kinda makes me anxious, but I think I’m doing the right thing (I was supposed to have a rest day later this week, so I’m really just moving things around a bit).

Mountains of reading.  That’s about half of my textbooks for the semester.

One of my professors made a very bizarre, slightly irritating comment in class today.  We were looking at some texts that were early proponents of some form of human rights (think Hobbes, Locke, Kant), and she started explaining this theory of rights in which our ability to make rational, purposeful decisions makes us human, and therefore gives us human rights.  Sounds simple enough, but there’s one obvious flaw: mentally handicapped people who are unable to make their own decisions.  Okay, I’m still with her.  Then she says “and depressed people.  With everybody popping pills these days and being unable to make decisions, that’s another kind of mental handicap.”  I found this very strange.  I’m depressed, not irrational, thank you very much.  And the whole class laughed at this comment too.  Was this a joke that went way over my head?

My mom sent me a package yesterday!  Mostly it was just books, but she also threw in some Pyrex!  Just what I needed (previously, I had to use a pot as a mixing bowl when baking).  Thanks mommy, I love you!

Does getting excited about new bowls make me a nerd?

I’ve been eating lots of yummy healthy things lately to fuel me through my exhaustion.  I don’t think I’ve been eating enough (last night, as I was trying desperately to fall asleep, I decided to add up my approximate calories for the day in my head.  I think it was only 1600.  I actually felt sort of weak, so I got up to eat some cereal.  Much better).

Homemade spicy carrot-squash-peanut-broccoli soup.  Not the greatest, but not half bad for throwing a bunch of random things into a pot.

Butternut squash soup with spinach and toast broiled with goat cheese.  Is it wrong that I like things burnt?

This was dinner tonight: I made the lemongrass chili Thai Kitchen instant noodles and added my own tofu (baked with red pepper, honey, and ginger), bell pepper, and spinach.  I love the little nooks and crannies in the tofu, they soaked up the broth and the flavors wonderfully.  I guess I’m kind of on a soup kick lately?  I’m craving something sweet right now (which always happens after dinner!) so I might go get some frozen yogurt later.  Yum.

Tomorrow is my last day of class for the week!  Happy happy joy joy.

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?  What helps?

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Lastly, head on over to Diana’s bake sale for Haiti and bid on something.  I’m baking banana chocolate chip walnut bread, so feel free to bid on that, or anything else!