I remember realizing in... I think it was high school, that this was a pattern. It's always Spring when I get this particular kind of insomnia the worst. It's not just that I don't sleep, I'm wired, at least physically, all night, no matter how much sleep I've gotten and how tired I should be. This week I've had about 14 hours of sleep since Monday morning.

I always have occasional bouts of not being able to sleep when I try to go to bed, but they always seem to become the most chronic during the springtime.

So my question is: has anyone else experienced this? Anyone have insights into what could be the cause? My diet doesn't change much throughout the year, and I've experienced this while living all over the country... the only thing unique to Spring that M and I could think of was the extra sunlight, like some kind of reverse seasonal affective disorder (which I've sometimes thought of myself as having, since eventually the insomnia makes me more prone to depression). Idunno. Thoughts?
I've had a CPAP for about a year now, and I've yet to sleep through the night with it on. Every time I try a new mask or setting I hope it's going to make the kind of life-changing difference I keep hearing about, but so far I really can't say I notice a difference between the nights when I use it and those when I don't.

My entire life I've been tired more often than not, and I'm sick of it. I've been trying to get more serious about finding a solution lately, following up with my doctor more frequently, but at this point I'm looking for whatever resources I can find (within reason).

Now, I know better than to go to social media for Real Medical Advice, but then again I also know a lot of y'all also use CPAPs, so maybe someone out there knows a specialist or other solution I might do well to look into further? Maybe some of you have even had something like the experiences I'll describe next, and found a way to deal with them?

Here's what I've tried so far...

  • CPAP with full face mask: The problem with taking the thing off in my sleep is that I can only be so sure of the reason(s). I recall frequently having the sensation that the CPAP has started to make it harder to breathe, rather than easier. I specifically recall a sensation I can only describe as there not being "enough air in my air", like I'm suddenly not getting enough oxygen. I would suspect that maybe the mask isn't venting my exhalations well enough and there's CO2 building up, but really I have no idea.

    Also, silly as it may sound, rare is the night when my nose doesn't itch, and when you're asleep and your nose itches and something is stopping you from scratching that itch, your thought process doesn't get much more complicated than "ungh... uncomfortable thing... make go 'way now...".

  • CPAP with nasal mask, and CPAP with nasal pillows mask: At first I was worried that a nasal mask wouldn't work for me because at least half of my nose is almost always stuffy, and my ENT doc says I have "severe septal deviation" (which is totally the name of a metal band I'm going to form), but I've found that that part actually works ok. The problem is... weirder.

    Every night, just as I'm about to actually lose consciousness, something stops me from breathing in-- there have been times when I've awakened to a sensation that feels like "central" apnea, as opposed to obstructive apnea. In other words nothing is blocking my airway, my body's just gotten so relaxed that my brain has, just for a bit, forgotten to remind my lungs to breathe. I know that during my initial sleep studies they noted both central and obstructive apneas, so I am prone to this, but the kind of CPAP I'm using (the super fancy "adaptive servo ventilation" kind for those playing along at home) is supposed to prevent central apneas.

    So ok, maybe I'm just making this up and it's actually obstructive; point is, at some point some kind of apnea happens despite the CPAP, and this causes problems. When the CPAP tries to make me inhale pressure builds up in, but instead of forcing my airway open, my lips prove to be the weaker seal and I start... blowing rasberries every few seconds.

    This is very embarrassing. And annoying. And it wakes me up. Off goes the mask, and I take my chances sleeping sans mechanical assistance. Again.

  • Tongue Suppression Device (TSD): This one's weird, kind of a cross between a pacifier and bondage gear. It uses suction to grab onto my tongue so that I sleep with it effectively sticking out, the idea being that this prevents my tongue from drifting back and blocking my airway while I sleep. Does it work? Well, I've managed to get through the night with it once or twice, and... maybe, I think? It's really hard to quantify the differences, especially with my other sleep issues going on (e.g. this morning, when I woke up after about 6 hours of sleep, having slept 4ish the night before, completely hyper-- not awake per se, I would love to go back to sleep, just completely full of nervous energy, like a sugar high with no cause I can think of).

    Even if the TSD is effective it's hard to stick with because... well you try and sleep with someone pulling on your tongue all night. :\



So... yeah. That's where I'm at. I try sleeping on my side instead of my back, and at least start most nights with one of the above devices. I experimented once with using the nasal cpap and TSD together, which they're not designed to do, but if the problem with the nasal cpap is obstructive apnea after all... warrants further investigation I guess, but gah, there's only so much a fella can be expected to strap to his head in a night. Anyway, I digress.

Anyone have any familiarity with the above? Know a miracle worker who listened well and worked with you to find a creative solution to your own problems? Do tell!
For the last year I've been keeping a log of when I sleep. It hasn't been perfect, but I've managed to note roughly when I went to bed (by which I mean was about to lose conciousness) and when I got up, including any fits of insomnia in between for 302 of the last 365 days, and have cobbled together some scripting that allows me to graph the results.

Pretty pictures and analysis below the cut )

The thing is, I don't see this changing my lifestyle much. The dilemma has always been that in order to get more sleep, I'd have to either drop something else from my life, which I'm not really willing to do, or have greater control than I've historically had over things like like insomnia/hyperactivity.

That said, I've noticed that with the decrease in stress at my job, I've needed less cope to get by. Whaddayaknow. Will try to do a more comprehensive State of The Me soon. For now: Life is pretty good on the whole, though I'm sick and tired (literally, not figuratively) at the moment. If me from just five years ago could have seen me now... wow, it would be a trip, I think. Things are different. Sometimes scary, but mostly I'm enjoying the ride.
This is my first mostly-day-off in... damn, a really long time. Closing night of EDTM tonight, and hopefully will get some progress made on the workwork project on which I remain behind, but other than that, today has been spent either running low-stress errands (yay sunny day and things within walking distance!!) or sitting in bed with tea and goodfoods, trying to recover from the cast party. MIT's musical theater guild has some... ill-advised traditions, IMO, not least of which being having the cast party the night before closing. There's a rationale for doing it that way, but suffice it to say I am achey, grossly underslept, and, as Henry Rollins once put it, "my body feels like Billy Idol himself". I have no idea what that actually means, and yet it seems to capture what I feel like right now nonetheless. Still, just one more show. If can just baby my voice enough today to pull off one more non-sucky performance this evening, I will go out with a bang and all will be well.

In other news, I owe [livejournal.com profile] redfishie big time for introducing me to Raquy and The Cavemen. I can't decide whether listening to them makes me want to pick up my doumbek and play more, or never bother touching it ever again. Seriously, if this track in particular blows my mind. MUST. SEE. THIS. LIVE. I will dance until I break, and then I will die happy.

In other other news, I have officially run out of space for both clothes and costuming in my closet, which raises a serious question: where am I gonna put all my clothes now?
There's nothing quite like laying in bed for hours trying to fall asleep, only to do so, have a detailed dream about cleaning your room after which you bask in a sense of accomplishment and contentment for but a moment before waking up to realize that not only is your room still a disaster, you only got about an hour of sleep out of the deal anyway. :\
It's been a while since I've done a substantive post, so here goes. Most of this was written Saturday morning, but I wasn't able to post until now. Bits of it may sound angsty, but while some of the subject matter is, fwiw I'm feeling pretty good as I write it.

Short version: this week has been rough, but I'm doing much better.

The weekend, and even moreso the first half of the week, involved some of the worst depression I've dealt with in a long time. Since then I've been being extra-careful about food, sleep, exercise and (lack of) stimulants, which has made a big difference. And yet, sometimes my body still refuses to make sense. Yesterday, for example, I did everything perfectly: I kicked ass at work, was still done by 5p, ate well, exercised (trainer bike + podcasts = win!), got my creativity on in multiple ways (I think my doumbek technique is finally coming together, and the Jason Webley forum now has new tomato-themed smilies!), cleaned my room, socialized and was in bed by midnightish.

...so why was I up at 2am all twitchy? *sigh*.

Needless to say, sleep/hyperactivity issues and their attendant exhaustion/depression problems continue to be something I'm working on. Truth be told, I'd actually started to slack on this, but had a pretty serious reality check mid-week. I mentioned in a previous post anticipation of a "performance meeting" call with my boss to discuss my tardiness to Monday's class. As it turned out, that part of the call was brief, and basically just went "Is there anything I need to tell you about that?", "No.", "OK. These things happen, but don't let it happen again". The rest of the call was actually my boss "checking in" on me and asking whether everything was ok at home, because he'd picked up on me sounding fatigued and distressed over the last couple of weeks. He has a background as a therapist, and we actually ended up talking some about ADHD, depression, medication and so forth (yeah, that wasn't awkward at all...). The call ended with him telling me to take some time next week to make a doc's appt, and at least get my adderall prescription, which I'd been going without for a couple of weeks, refilled and/or ask about other options. I've been having a hard time putting this in perspective. I'm a functional person, not nearly as fucked up most of the time as this post on its own probably makes me sound, and yet, when one's boss, with whom he only interacts only by telephone, clues into something being up and tells you to get help? That's kind of a kick in the pants.

Regarding this most recent trough, in addition to only just having recovered from the sleepdep-and-illness-fest that was Arisia'10, I think last weekend and the beginning of this week was just a perfect storm of things that wreck me. A lot of it (though by no means all of it) sprang from a difficult conversation with [livejournal.com profile] juldea on Friday. It's hard not to feel kind of pathetic when you've been broken up with someone longer than you were together and still find yourself mired in the past. And yet, events leading up to and subsequent to that conversation have included some realizations that, while complicating in their way, have also provided me some hopefully-helpful perspective. See, there's a subtle but essential difference I've clued into lately between wanting a relationship back and wanting things back the way they were, or wanting an event undone. A big part of the recent funk was due to me really acknowledging to myself that I have legitimate gripes with the way our relationship ended, what I could have been/done if I'd been given the chance, etc... and the fact that none of that really matters now, because unlike reinstating a relationship, changing the past isn't possible. Therein lies the afore-mentioned perfect storm of things that bog me down: first, the disparity between how I saw that relationship and what actually happened, as well as the abruptness of its dissolution, seriously damaged my self-confidence and security. In large part what I want back isn't the relationship per se (I've even passed on opportunities to re-kindle it when the circumstances didn't feel right), but the sense of security and being able to tell where I was in the world that I lost. Things are futher complicated by the fact that there really was a lot of great stuff about the relationship that I genuinely miss, but the former is still basically true. I also can't help but feel like in a lot of ways I was could have been a victim of circumstance. There was a lot of other stuff going on then, and I find myself wondering whether if circumstances had been different, maybe the rest would have been too. But in both of those cases I'm powerless to do anything about it, or even to know exactly what "it" is that I'd be doing something about, and nothing ties up my brain like a problem I care about but am unable fix. It makes me feel frustrated, powerless, and therefore without value (Go Team Male-Conditioning!).

Over the weekend I found myself at once finally allowing myself to be upset with Juldea about her role in my loss (edit: though, as I should have admitted when I first posted this, sometimes I think I might have done the same thing in her position-- it just still would have sucked for my partner), aware of my own role in same, resolved to finally change the way we interact so as to break this connection my mind has made that prevents me from fully accepting things as they are, and afraid that I'm going to lose one of my closest friends in the process. She commented later in the week that over the weekend she was picking up vibes that made her uncomfortable even doing group social activities with me. During the time she was referring to, while I was far from cloud nine, I at least wasn't intentionally radiating hostility or anything... so I don't know what to do with that. But it is true that I've been allowing myself to feel my frustration more freely, and using that to fuel the emotional distancing I need to maintain. Things feel uncomfortably precarious in this regard. I miss my friend a lot, but have to temper that so as not to latch on again. Nobody should have to be another person's human security-blanket. I suspect that maybe Juldea picked up on this phenomenon long before I did, and that it had a lot to do with the breakup, but that's just a guess on my part. In any case, it needs to stop.

I think/hope that this is me starting the last bit of a long, slow process of moving on. I at least know what I need to do now: I need to find my security, my anchor, elsewhere. Where, I'm not so sure about. "Within myself" is the obvious answer, but also frustratingly vague. It's gotta be in here somewhere, though, probably behind my brain-couch or something (ooh, there's a whole undiscovered cache of living-room-related brain metaphors-- "finding the bus fare of salvation beneath the cushions of adversity", etc, but I digress...).

Over the last month or so I've started dating again. It took a while before I felt like I could date with any confidence that I wouldn't just be looking for a replacement anchor, but in the end I made a profile on OK Cupid (the only site I've ever been to where 'usernamenumber' was taken. Grr.), which I'm rather proud of, and have been enjoying the site a fair bit. If nothing else, it's at least netted me two new lj friends (*waves*). My recent romantic history has certainly changed the way that I approach dating (inasmuch as I've ever dated, having been in one relationship or another for about the last 10 years). While not a committed polyamorist, and in fact still wanting to find the mythical "One" in the end, it's going to be hard to put all my eggs in one basket again until and unless lightning strikes and/or something seriously and consistently clicks and I just don't want to date anyone else. But isn't there some protocol, outside of poly circles at least, describing a point after which a pair either becomes exclusive or decides they're not meant to be? Seriously, and I don't mean this as a rhetorical question, how do the "rules" for this, inasmuch as such exist, work? I know it sounds naive, but I'm as terrified of losing an opportunity, or just inadvertently acting like a douche, as I am of allowing myself to feel obligated to move faster than I'm comfortable. Where's the line between dating, given that the expectation of exclusivity isn't immediate (right??), and polyamory? Unexpected confusion abounds.

...but for all this, I want to end on a positive note, and am glad to say that there are positive notes to be had. I had some fun times over the weekend and the week, am still ego-tripping on my rockstar turnaround on things at work (including adding a major-ish feature to one of the apps I maintain despite being told of the need for it at the last minute and juggling that with the lectures for my class, for which I got straight 5/5 ratings from the students on-- yee-ah!), and have been exercising regularly, for which my body thanks me profusely. I'm looking forward to the Tripod show and possible MassMOCA visit today (update: both were great fun-- particularly the tripod show which was fantastic. Thanks so much to [livejournal.com profile] rubicantoto for turning me on to them), and have more fun social stuff lined up for the rest of the weekend and subsequent week. I just hate being tired all the time. I have a lot to look forward to, I just have to keep my energy levels up enough to appreciate that. It's weird feeling like it takes a certain amount of energy to be happy, and that I spend more time than I'd like to at or below that line, but ultimately I think that has to be a solvable problem, I just need to try some new approaches to dealing with it.
This is the problem with all-nighters and me. After a whopping 3ish hours of sleep, upon the first occurance of noise within the house, brain is awake and going "Hey, you know what's terriffic? BEING AWAKE IS TERRIFIC. LET'S BE AWAKE NOW WHEEEEE!", despite body's exhaustion. Tempted to give in and just eat and watch TV until early evening to try and get sleep schedule back on track. Loopiness and Black Pit Of Despair vying for control of emotional state. *sigh*.

Also: tooootally craving nachos, such that I'm actually tempted to go out to Christopher's or Red Lentil for them. Mmmmm, Nachooooos...

ETA: If anyone would care to join us for chillings and noshings today, lemme know.

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