It was rather inevitable that at some point I would blog about sleep. As some will know in this house sleep is not our friend. Bunny wakes every 40 minutes to 2 hours and needs me to resettle her each time and Kitten usually wakes for the day at about 4am though it can be as early as 2am on a bad day. If my girls are awake I need to be awake too. I do try not to whine about how tired I am too much as I think people must get sick of me talking about it. And to be honest talking about it doesn’t solve anything so it seems a bit pointless. Well meaning people may make suggestions of ideas to try out but as we have exhausted every idea on the planet it seems this is simply something we have to accept until the girls feel less anxious and safer. On my last visit to CAMHS when I asked our key worker if she had thought of any other ideas (always worth another try – you have to admire my optimism) she shook her head, shrugged and very quickly changed the subject. That’ll be a ‘no’ then!
The upside of never getting any sleep is that I have lots of time in the night to mess about on my phone and look up lots of interesting facts about sleep and sleep deprivation. Many is the time I have googled ‘Is it possible to die from lack of sleep?’ The comforting answer is probably not. I am living proof that not only can you survive quite happily with a rather ridiculous amount of sleep but you can also hold down a job at the same time if you put your mind to it.
Of course it’s not only me being affected by lack of sleep. It has a big impact on my girls but in different ways. Bunny’s disrupted sleep is mostly caused by separation anxiety. When tired she either disassociates more or alternatively becomes more volatile and therefore more aggressive and ultimately violent towards me as her exhaustion increases. It feels like her tolerance for new or sensory stimulating experiences is much lower when she is tired sometimes provoking dramatic reactions.
With Kitten it is a vicious circle; her anxiety prevents her sleeping which leaves her exhausted and therefore more anxious which prevents her sleeping even more. She looks permanently shattered with huge bags and shadows under her eyes, but refuses to admit she is tired ever. To stay awake Kitten stims, which I don’t mind, or alternatively causes herself pain to keep herself going. In school the more tired she is the more she disrupts her class. I am still unable to make Kitten feel safe enough to sleep. For most people bed and sleep are places of comfort and safety. For my Kitten sleep is torment and frightening and to be avoided at all costs.
Rather tongue in cheek here are five ways that sleep deprivation could apparently kill me from an article I found one day when fiddling on the internet in the early hours:
1. I could die in a car crash I drive very carefully often with the window down especially on my commute
2. I could die at work – Unlikely for me unless it’s from a caffeine overdose!
3. I could become irritable, depressed and suicidal This isn’t me really. I don’t get depressed and I am pretty placid so becoming irritable is still a rarity for me.
4. I could gain weight So unlikely for me as to be laughable. This is never going to happen!
5.I could develop diabetes mellitus I guess this is possible and it runs in my family…
…but I’m not going to lose any sleep worrying about it. Get it? See I’ve still got my sense of humour, sleep deprived or not!