Friday, 30 December 2011

Schizophrenia and Sleep

Hi Everybody

I am an advocate of sleep.  I send my kids early to bed every night, or as early as I can now that they are getting older.  It is actually quite late these days, especially in the holidays, before the girls settle down, which bothers me.  The boys are easier. 

My husband is much more relaxed in his attitudes.  But I feel that our children will grow better, learn better, heal better, etc if they get plenty of shut-eye and all that I read in the health section of the newspaper and in magazines bears me out on this one.  So I push the point.

I practise what I preach, too.  I have gone to bed early for as long as I remember - ten o'clock, or ten thirty, like the boring old lady that I am.  Except in recent weeks, since I have become gluten-free.  I have found that now I have loads more energy; I go to bed each night a couple of hours later than usual, sleep soundly and feel fine for it (I have woken up later too though, to be honest, with no school run to do and a wonderfully accommodating husband). 

But last night an odd thing happened.  I failed to sleep at all.  I went to bed, did not feel tired, and found that the bed was uncomfortable (it is not usually) and I tossed and turned the whole night.  Toddler woke up a few times too, but he didn't disturb me because I was already awake.  Perhaps I woke him up, thinking about it.  To be fair, I must have slept a little at some point, because I had some dreams, but my feeling when I awoke was that I had not slept a wink (and Paul readily agreed - I must have disturbed him too). 

I was expecting a miserable day today.  But actually, it has failed to materialise.   I have had plenty of energy, despite a tiring time taking my eldest daughter to see the orthodontist at the hospital and then going to the shops to return something I had bought her in the sales that she didn't like.  I also went to visit my niece, cooked the dinner and then took my little daughter swimming.  Then came home and hoovered the house.  And I still don't feel tired - not sleepy tired.  And this is a little alarming.

I am otherwise compos mentis.  Not silly, not high, not low.  Just normal.  SO I think I am ok mentally.  If I didn't have the schizophrenia diagnosis (which I have discarded but still wrestle with occasionally) I wouldn't be thinking mental health at all.  But the advantage (disadvantage?) of having been through the system is that I am now well aware of any warning signs - one of which is failure to sleep.  I am fine though.  Happy.  Sane.  But such is my obsession with sleep that I can't help but feel a little disturbed that I am not tired. 

Oh well. Hey ho.  Life is a strange thing sometimes.  I am sure I will sleep fine tonight and all will be well.  I will let you know.

I am not sure why I did not sleep last night.  I didn't particularly have anything on my mind, although of course since I was awake I did find myself pondering various matters.  I suspect I may have an intolerance to oats as well as wheat gluten, because I had had an evening bowl of porridge and felt unsettled, kind of edgy afterwards, and also I had a really bad stomach ache.  An intolerance to oats would be a shame, because my in-laws have just bought me a huge new bag of porridge oats, and they are absolutely delicious.

I guess I will leave it a day or two and then experiment again.   Anyway, I don't know if all that is interesting to anybody.  But I might as well say here that in my view one of the most important factors in mental health is sleep.  It does a person so much good to sleep well, to process the day's events by dreaming, to rest and recuperate.  I am stating the obvious here, I know.

What else happened today?  I didn't walk my little dog - I was too busy, and it was too wet.  It won't do her any harm - I will take her out for an extra long time tomorrow to make up for my neglect.  I did enjoy seeing my niece and her children, and spending time with Little Daughter, who is so sweet and smart.  We were getting changed after swimming, and couldn't help listening to the lifeguard, who was laughing and joking with a girl who had been in the pool.  They got quite rowdy at one point, and I whispered to Little Daughter, 'What are they doing?' 

'They're flirting' she replied matter of factly, and she shocked me with this insight.  I hadn't realised she knew the word, never mind what flirting was, and she was so spot on, and so insouciant with it.  Sweet, funny, clever and now quite grown up - and the child is not yet ten!  What have I bred? 

I love my life!  There was a time when I would never have thought to say that - but I went into all that in yesterday's post, so will stop there before I bore you all solid.

Louise x

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