I was tripping along beautifully through this new life of mine, remarking every few days or so how smoothly the whole transition had gone, how amazing it is to no longer drive much at all, how much I love this city, how serendipitous it is to just be me…and then Day Light Savings Time hit on Sunday.

Have you had a rough week? Because let me tell you, this time change, which has never really impacted me before, has me completely muddled.  First of all, I am once again in the throes of one of my insomniac periods. I often go months without even the flicker of insomnia, always long enough to forget how bad these bouts actually are, and then find myself snared up in another one, left keening for the week before when I slept so well. This particular jag has lasted for six nights now, and I’ve hit the point where I have a low-grade headache all day and feel sort of doom and gloomy. I wish I had inherited my mother’s ability to sleep, instead of my father’s.

This in and of itself would be enough to work through but this time switch has done something to me, has put me all out of sorts, as I told my dad yesterday. He said both he and my mom feel the same way (and for the record S. has struggled with sleep this week as well) and their dogs are acting funky as well. In addition to the circumvention of my circadian rhythms, I don’t feel I’ve hit any sort of routine here yet…from chores to exercise to writing, to things I like to do online, to returning phone calls from friends – again, all out of sorts. I don’t yet have a computer routine or a yoga studio and I’m not as far on my novel as I intended to be by March.  When I get like this – sleep deprived, out of sorts, muddled, this is sort of what it’s like to be in my head:

Hmm. Well. Lost another pound this week. Yay, weight watchers. But I’m hungry all the time lately, what’s wrong with me? Maybe I should add in activity points for all the walking, but then eventually my body will adjust to the exercise and I’ll just gain weight back. Maybe I’m hungry all the time because I’m not getting enough protein? What I really want to eat is meat, red meat, but I promised myself I would adhere to the Mediterranean guidelines of no more than twice a week, a serving the size of my palm. Then again, I’ve always been quite anemic, so maybe I NEED to eat more meat? I’m hungry! But maybe I should try upping my water intake this week…hold the fucking phone, there are WHAT in my tap water? Antibiotics and sex hormones and ante-depressants? So gross. So so so so so so gross. ( I don’t know how you do your job on a daily basis, my mother says at one point this week. You are so easily disgusted) Screw my commitment to the environment! I am buying bottled water – bottled EXPENSIVE artesian water and never looking back. I work. I earn good money. I do not have to drink water with drugs in it! (This, says a science friend I know, is the worst thing I could do – bottled water is in fact much worse for the environment than drinking tap water is for me, tra la, back to tap) I don’t really get disgusted easily, I don’t think.  My mom is wrong about that! She never has understood me. It’s one thing entirely to work to understand cancer research and another entirely to put sex-hormone riddled water in my body. Of course, this week has been overwhelming – I wonder yet if they realize they hired someone totally incompetent and overwhelmed by the work? I’m never going to be good at this job. Never ever ever ever. Everyone else is so smart, so glamorous, and then there’s me. I’d probably really better finish my novel and try to sell it before I get fired. God, I’m tired. And if I work on my novel, when will I blog? If I blog, when will I read my personal email? The laundry sure is piling up, and I need to sweep the floors…I wonder where S. and i will go to dinner this weekend? And I should go back to church,  finally. Also I need to finish putting my photos in albums…I’m such a housekeeping slut.  I’m just a loser. I can’ t  keep the house clean. I’m going to get fired from my job because I’m not glamorous and smart. I don’t know whether to blog or work on my novel, work on my novel or do the laundry, do the laundry or buy groceries, buy groceries or read, read or read the dozen newspapers I should be reading, read the dozen newspapers I should be reading or call my friends whom I don’t talk to because I can’t DEAL with email anymore, talk to my friends or catch up on facebook, catch up on facebook or finally attack my mfa manuscript, finally attack my mfa manuscript or paint my toe nails, paint my toe nails or go to yoga (god! I can’t go to yoga with my crappy toe nails. And, god again – that is SO not the point of yoga!! I’m totally missing the point of my practice if I’m worried about my feet!) and, damn, the whole world is just closing in on me…

Yep, that’s sort of what it’s like to be in my insomniac head right now. But, the one cool thing about growing older, is before, when this kind of thinking threatened to take over, I would allow it to paralyze me, to completely interrupt my life. Yesterday, before S. arrived from Detroit last night, I stopped everything. First, I read a chapter of my book. Then I went for a long walk, beginning with one of my favorite streets in the neighborhood. Then I came home, made a tuna sandwich (tuna, kalamata olives, mozzy cheese,artichoke hearts) and a martini, and read blogs until S. arrived. I didn’t sweep. I didn’t do the laundry. I didn’t check my work email. I just stopped. And last night I slept a bit better – not great, mind you, but a little better. I had a couple of dreams. And this morning, the headache is ebbing away, and the coffee is waking me up instead of sending me into panic land. And I am blogging. And I feel like things will get done…they always do.

I am a creature of habit, like so many of us. And I don’t yet have habits here. This lack of habits, combined with this absurdly early day light savings time, combined with feeling sort of lonely ( a natural state when one moves one’s entire life, and a state I don’t worry about) has me muddled.

Okay, that’s it for this Friday. I hope you all are well. If this time change has got you muddled, you have company. If it hasn’t, can you please share your secret? And if you know any good tips for breaking the insomnia jags, I would greatly appreciate them!

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11 Responses to Muddled

  1. For insomnia, milky drinks and long hot baths. For a critical internal voice, exercise. Go easy on yourself, Courtney, you’ve just moved home and jobs (major stressors) and you are doing brilliantly, and managing to be funny about it too.

    I’d love to hear more about the novel sometime.

  2. The article is good enough to read and also the things you have suggested are interesting. But above all exercise is a must to keep ourselves fit.

  3. musingsfromthesofa says:

    Also, the scent of lavender is supposed to be good for insomnia.
    I hate those times when it seems impossible to make any decision about what to do. I think you have taken the right approach – doing something, anything, breaks the deadlock. And I am so glad you chose to do pleasant things, rather than the dratted laundry. Or sweeping. Bah to housework.
    Oh, and you are so manifestly not going to get fired. Any organization that fired someone as smart as you is too stupid to have you.

  4. Cam says:

    The time change has me muddled too, and is totally messing with my sleep cycles. Insomnia and fatigue and total brain fog has been my life this week. I was just beginning to feel good about waking up when it was light, and now it isn’t light until 8am. Where I live should definitely be in the CENTRAL time zone, not the Eastern. I hit the alarm today and fell back asleep until almost 9 — the time I’m usually at work. Lucky for me, my boss isn’t here today. Work is lax about start times, but please! strolling into the office at 10 am is a bit ridiculous, even for me, even for a Friday. Today is rainy and that isn’t helping the muddle either.

    I wish I had some tips for the insomnia. Instead, I’ll be checking back here for tips others leave in hopes that some of them will work for us insomniacs.

  5. auntjone says:

    We are cursing our dear governor in Indiana for allowing the state to switch to DLT. It makes no f**king sense for us to get up while it is still pitch black outside and have daylight at 7:30 pm. There’s a reason for those “Ditch Mitch” bumper stickers.

    I’ve never suffered from insomnia but I do have times when I have trouble falling asleep. Like the past week. And I know what I need but it is a bit personal so I’ll whisper it….


    Maybe you’ll sleep better this weekend now that S has arrived. You might not get any laundry done but that’s ok, it will be there when you wake up.

  6. Jean says:

    funny….I didn’t sleep a wink last night and I am not sure where all this anxiety is coming from but I feel like I am barely treading water! This week has been ultra-stressful at work and I was pulled over for going 60 in a 45 (no ticket! Thank God!) And today, I got into a fender-bender. And I am convinced it is all this anxiety! (I truly can relate to your random thoughts of fear and “I am an inadequate housewife, employee. etc.) So, I am thinking of you and hope to speak to you this weekend…But first I am off to drink a bottle of wine (damn the points!) and watch mindless tv! miss you-JEAN

  7. kimhaasdesign says:

    Well, I’m glad to see it’s not just me feeling a bit frayed around the edges this week. I took a three hour nap in the middle of the day on Thursday. Three hours?! Craziness… but I’m happy to blame it on the time change. Insomnia tips… I do a gentle nighttime yoga series sometimes. A cup of chamomile tea. And no caffeine at all during the day. Hang in there, Courtney.

  8. Dorothy W. says:

    I’ve been muddled lately too, although I don’t have the any recent upheaval to explain it! It makes sense to me that all the transition stuff would catch up to you sooner or later — that if you didn’t feel muddled right away, it would happen eventually. I hope you pass through it quickly and begin to sleep again!

  9. litlove says:

    I’m pretty sure I read in your blog last year about the time change being troublesome for you, Courtney, because I’m sure I recall sympathising because I don’t like it myself. It does take a good week to get used to it, and I think it has a tendency to freak you out (and I’m still sympathising!!).

    Insomnia: oh yes, been there, done that a lot. The thing that really helps me is meditation. Get hold of a tape if you can to listen to (Jon Kabat-Zinn is reliably good) and follow the meditation practice in it as you lie in bed waiting for sleep. It just slows down those racing thought processes, clears your mind, calms you. It will help with the transition to your new life as well. I thoroughly recommend it, in fact!

    Take great care of yourself.

  10. Charlotte – I will post more on the novel soon, happily! And unfortunately warm milk has never appealed to me, but I may give it a try the next time one of these jags hits.
    Musings – thanks so much for the kind words. I am feeling much better – Friday was a great day at work. But I continually alternate between being totally overwhelmed, and mostly confident…
    Cam – brain fog is EXACTLY what I had last week! I’ve been doing much better since Friday, though – hope you can say the same.
    Aunt Jone – LOL. Maybe that’s why this weekend’s sleep has been much improved…
    Jean – GREAT catching up with you today. Dates for visiting coming your way tomorrow morning.
    Kim – hi! I sent you a long email last week – did you receive it? And no caffeine during the day – I know, I know how right you are…but it’s such a hard thing to stick to.
    Dorothy – I think you are right, I have to cut myself some slack with all of this. The transition had to catch up with me…
    Litlove – did I really post on this? How funny! I’m sure I probably did! I’m going to look into those tapes you recommend…I think my current bout of insomnia has passed but another one will occur eventually.

  11. Andi says:

    Get out of my head! (mine sounds just like yours)

    I haven’t had trouble sleeping, but I’m definitely muddled like hell.

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