I remember being a kid on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep and waking early with excitement. Why did my parents want to sleep in?
I remember being a teenager and sleeping all day if I had nothing to do. Noon would come and go. One PM might come and go. It was shocking when I got a job and had to actually set an alarm.
I remember being a mother of young children and appreciating any sleep I could get. I remember wishing that they would sleep just a little longer on Christmas Day.
I remember getting up before the roosters to head to work. Yawning as I drove in to work, I longed for just a little more sleep.
I remember traveling to different time zones and going from wide awake at night to falling asleep when most inconvenient.
I remember the luxury of laying in bed on vacation when I didn’t have to get up. I think stretching helps to appreciate the unusual lack of urgency. I also remember appreciating silence.
And then I learned that I had an acoustic neuroma brain tumor. For a while following surgery, I was tired but couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I longed for sleep to escape pain. Then I learnedto go to sleep with loud buzzing in my head. I’m now used to waking up and thinking a radio is playing when the house is actually silent. What does silence sound like, I try to remember. . .
Now, the new me, even after years, demands sleep. I need to sleep well at night. I need naps. I need breaks from busy days. Sometimes my head demands that I lay still and rest. Sometimes my eye demands that it be closed for awhile.
Fatigue is very common in the AN world. Our brains are working overtime to compensate to the permanent/long term injury resulting from the alien in our heads.
What is helpful is for family and friends to understand that and support sleep. Knowing that we aren’t being lazy, but we just need more rest than we used to. Encourage that nap for your loved one. Offer to sit for a few minutes while out shopping. Don’t be offended if your loved one closes their eyes when talking to you – and possibly drifts off. Understand if a quiet setting is preferred – noisy ones drain us – and frustrate us (and those who are trying to talk to us.)
And ANers out there – Don’t feel guilty about getting the rest that you need. Take naps.
Gotta go. It’s naptime. . .