Hacking my sleep when so much keeps us awake.

What do you wear when it’s time to take the train into Tokyo to sign a work contract and you know that Japan is not socially distancing?

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I’ve made many styles of mask but by now there are 20 times the online tutorials that there were towards the end of February when I first made one. There are ample places to get that info.

Today at the company office I entertained a handful of “OMG did you make your mask?!” which, if they noticed my matching shirt (and how could they not?), means they also wondered “Are matching button-up shirts and masks now commercially available?”

Nowadays everything seems simultaneously possible and impossible.

Let’s skip back a few days.

Shortly after my post, March 24th, about having found a job for the next school year came the family reactions to the news, most noteworthy being my mom’s.

My mother is strong. She’s a whole universe to me. When she’s scared…it’s not something I can  handle.

When the texts reminding me that she had started restricting early because I had worried…they hit hard. Reminders that neither of us live somewhere where we should trust the government to be honest…yeah

They also gave me flashbacks to 3/11 Tohoku/Fukushima. Things like panic buying have reminded me of those days…but just reading my mother’s stress brought me back to her tired and crying face on Skype in those days. The emotional return to a time I wrote extensively about and then tucked away.

By 4am I was ready to accept financial help, study Japanese online, turn down my job offer, and live in a bunker for the forseable future.

I was also ready to jog because it was 4am and I hadn’t and couldn’t sleep. A few minutes into jogging a blister made me aware that jogging wasn’t a possibility and I’d just have to be awake with my thoughts. Screw you, feet.

I slept from 5-7am. I made a few dramatic LINE texts to friends about my plans to give up work and be a studying hermit… which might violate my visa..yeah. They asked reasonable questions.

I started to focus again and remind myself:

  • You have two hours of sleep.
  • You are emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed.
  • You have ADHD.

Those things combined are a recipe for making impulsive emotional decisions. The sort of flamethrower decisions that burn away all other options, leaving you no other path but the one you were sure was THE ONLY CHOICE…and no way to retreat. I know. That’s how I once rolled all the time.

I told myself :

No. Decisions. Are. Being. Made. Today.

I contacted the company office to move the contract signing from that day to Friday…and to discuss a bit about their plans if COVID19 shuts down Tokyo (because really, how can it not?).

I believe that there are going to be huge changes between now and two weeks away when I’m slated to start being in classes.

I video chatted with my mother.

Mom had also lost house wifi during all of this and had only her phone…which wasn’t adding to a sense of security. We figured out a usable app for her not-apple phone and just video talked. It was good.

Going forward near daily videochats will be essential. We’re both more rational when we can see and hear each other and know the other isn’t being reckless.

The plan:

I’d go ahead with my job and contract signing. I’d accept financial help so we could both know that if things got scary I could drop my job. I’d check in more regularly.

Then there was a whole day of “do I nap or power through?”

I’ve had so many days this week of bad sleep and naps to help offset it that I knew I couldn’t rely on naps to reset me.

Instead I stayed awake and busy. I listened to podcasts and youtube advice about ADHD and sleep issues.

I’ve had lifelong sleep issues. I have medication but it can only keep me under for about 4 hours.

Everything about sleep habits always screams “USE THE BED FOR BED THINGS ONLY AND DON’T USE ELECTRONICS IN BED.” and I always say “THAT MAKES SENSE” and then watch tv on my computer from bed and “sleep” with my smart phone next to me.

I’ve moved a very comfortable chair, one of two, from my sewing room (where it never gets used) to my bedroom to create a “cozy electronics nook”.

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It took some testing and additional pillows to make it both slumptastic and useable as a chair if I actually want to type.

I’m trying to train myself when the impulse comes to flop on the bed and check my smartphone to get my butt in this chair instead. I’m also trapping my phone over here at night, out of bed reach, and going back to reading printed books as a bed wind-down.

It’s gone well for 2 days but….we’ll see.

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Chair test.

Ready for more video chats with friends. We both are.

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General JinJur is quite a hit during video chats. She and I are about to have our birthdays in April…so I switched my journal temporarily from Plague Motif to Hedgehogs and Birthdays.

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I’m also starting a page of tracking my sleep times and notes. I have a notebook by my bed to write both sleep and wake times (before charting them) AND so that if a thought wakes me up at night I can write it down and move it to morning instead of fixating on it.

Last night I woke up around 3am and, instead of trying to follow through on the thoughts that popped into my head, I wrote them down. Can you figure out the difference between my awake-wearing glasses handwriting and my 3am handwriting?

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I can actually read that but I assure you that in the light of day it it was an idiotic idea not worth following through on.

I’m also taking down notes to figure out a bedtime routine (when to dim lights, what pattern to stick to to remind my body it’s wind-down time).

What are you doing to help yourself sleep in these uncertain times.

 

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