It wasn’t until I had my daughter in 2001 that I really understood the term ‘sleep deprivation.’ I think I’ve been tired ever since and I know many parents who can relate.
Just two years after I had my daughter, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I remember being late for the appointment, as I’d gone to the gym with the hopes of feeling more energized. According to the sleep consultant, however, my test results showed that I shouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, let alone go to the gym. My options were to either lose weight or use a CPAP machine. As losing weight was an ongoing struggle for me, I opted for the latter.
Once I got used to the mask and the sound, my sleep improved almost immediately. Getting enough sleep helped me to deal with my increasingly stressful marriage, which included ongoing financial woes.
Ten years later, and I’m back to square one. In my quest to feel less anxious, stressed, depressed and exhausted (which will hopefully get me off of income assistance), I went back to my doctor to discuss my sleeping issues. And back to a sleep specialist I went. Again, the tests have come back that I am a walking zombie, which alleviates my anxiety somewhat on wondering what the hell is wrong with me this time. As if I need more problems.
So someone who is on anti-depressants can still have depressive episodes and someone who is using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea can still have sleep problems. Aren’t those oxymorons?
Like food and shelter, sleep is a basic need for survival. Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of problems such as anxiety, short attention span, memory loss, depression and low self-esteem – all of which I deal with on a daily basis.
Thankfully, starting today, I have a sleep specialist who monitors my sleep patterns on a regular basis to ensure I get a good night’s sleep. What will it feel like to not be sleep deprived? I have no idea, but hopefully that will soon change.