Surprise! Accidentally falling asleep.

I’m not entirely sure what happened — I lay down a little after 6 PM last night and slept all the way through to 4 AM this morning, despite being woken twice. I did have an assignment due that I was at least going to attempt to accomplish, but it obviously didn’t get done.

Right now I need to finish normalizing a database, as I had realized the night before that I had inadvertently missed a step for at least one of our tables. As this is the component I’m working on…I should try and attempt it.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m still tired, which is mostly due to having taken medication about 10 hours ago (at 4 AM), and likely because I didn’t get up to be active at 4 AM, but instead went back to bed until 11-something AM.

I also have a cramp starting in part of my lower back (I spent too long in bed)…and a lot of stuff to do, today. Which I don’t want to do. But.

It’s kind of hard for me to put everything into words, right now, so I’ll try and stop staring at the screen, and try to do something useful.

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Assignment recap, and an upcoming deadline:

The bright side of this: yesterday, I completed an assignment I had been very intimidated about for Database Management, and effectively showed myself that I could do it. I also completed my Discussion Post and comment. Both of those things were late. They also took all of yesterday, to complete.

The not-so-great side: Now I have a long-term project with an interim deadline of Sunday morning, which I know I won’t be able to complete adequately by then (this is a group project). It doesn’t help that I’m supposed to be using a print reference collection for part of the assignment, which is quite far away. Plus, I’m not really in any sort of hygienic condition to be going out.

I can get started on the Reference assignment. I have, I think, seven more questions to go, and many more which I will have to re-do because of inadequate direction on the part of the Professor.

Right now I’m typing this because I’m trying to stay out of bed. I got nine hours of sleep, even if I did go to bed after 2 AM last night. Nor am I tired, so I’m not sleep-deprived: I just don’t want to work on my assignment, and I’m trying to avoid going back to bed just because it’s my “safe place.”

The only ways I’ll be able to get this done before Sunday morning are 1) lucking out and finding a lot of digital reference sources; 2) not going to work tomorrow, or 3) pushing the interim deadline back.

This assignment is worth a lot of points, but then again…I can handle a B or C in this class, when most of my other grades are A’s. I just don’t want to, because I know I can do better.

Non-school-related:

So I’m entering the second week of classes, now. I’m not going to work as much as I was at the beginning of last semester…which is likely a good thing. A few things have come up.

Sleep hygiene.

Now that I’m entirely off the Prozac, at the very least I will need to be more diligent about when I take my medication. Last night I lay down at 9 PM because I was tired, and slept until about 1:15 AM, when I then remembered to take the medication I should have taken at 9.

Consequently, I was tired in the daytime again, today; and although I did initially get up (and ready to leave) at a reasonable time, I wasn’t active until around 5 PM again because of sedation. There is a date set out for me to see my prescribing doctor, as my case manager said that sleeping until 5 PM was overly excessive.

This is why I started the Prozac in the first place (to stay awake, because of the sedation from the earlier-prescribed medication), but if the Prozac is going to put me on a road that leads to obesity and diabetes unless I continuously go out of my way to take action against it, I’d rather cut the sedating medication and see what that gets me. I’ve been on it since high school, when I was with a prescribing doc I didn’t like, and who may not have cared if I was functional. It may be that it’s time to either reduce or change it.

Going down from 14g to 16g.

I had been having intermittent discomfort in my left ear piercing, which I think is related to going up in gauge too fast. I mentioned this in a backpost (though at this point I think the tearing sensation was likely from dried crust being pulled through the piercing: it may have bled or oozed and I wasn’t aware of it). The solution to this is generally noted as going down one size, staying there for 6 weeks, and then attempting to go back up again. I actually went down in gauge yesterday, to 16g. It’s much more comfortable.

Right now I’m wearing a curved set of barbells previously belonging to M (I did clean them), which have a nice combination of metal thickness and weight. Based on what I’ve seen, I’ll want to stay at 16g until March 14, when I can try 14g again. I have two sets of earrings at this size, so even if I lose a threaded ball from the barbells, I will have a backup set of captive-ball rings.

New interest in my appearance.

Right now I’m taking the step to start looking nice (to myself). I had been distinctly sabotaging my appearance because I get upset/angry when men try to hit on me (I am not a heterosexual woman, regardless of what I look like)…but there is a way to rebel against that, which is to look nice despite them and just not play their games. Outside of criminality, the worst they can do is call me a b****, and D says to take that as a badge of honor, more than anything.

And yeah, it helps that I can fight in the vast majority of shoes I have. It also helps that I’m willing to fight.

Exercise makes me feel better.

Last night, I went a mile on the Exercycle, which really doesn’t seem like much (to me), but after about 2/3 of a mile, I got bored of going at 6 MPH and cranked it up to 9 MPH (eventually).

I just reached the point where it was more tiring to go more slowly than it was to push myself. I don’t think I’ve ever had a time where I was going at 9 MPH for over 15 seconds, until last night. (Of course, going faster means that I’ll be done with a mile sooner, so that is also an incentive.)

After that, I did a bunch of thorough stretching (mostly legs and trunk), and most of the abdominal exercises I can remember (I just excluded leg lifts). I did feel better after having done that. D said that it might be because I was oxygenating muscles. I’ve got to remember that my Tae Kwon Do stretches (for kicking) were the only things that started to relax the tendons in my inner thigh (as I found in my Butterfly Stretch).

Today I’m sore, but only a little. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get more exercise done. I try not to exercise the same muscle groups on consecutive days, because over the long term that can lead to muscle weakening, not strengthening — as in the case of my abs. They were probably shredded to **** by my high school Physical Education classes (which were in turn run by an ex-Army drill instructor, which doesn’t give me much security).

Shoes and clothes that fit, help.

As does, getting my hair trimmed. I suppose that it is the beginning of February, so the worst of the cold season is probably behind us (here). I think the big issue is going to be drought, for the rest of the year. We’ve basically got almost no snowpack, so it’s going to be tough (again). The bright side of this is that I probably won’t need to rely on my sweaters for much longer.

I did get a couple of new pairs of shoes, but the close-fitting ones I got are a bit large after having stretched out. M has taken them. I think I really needed a smaller size than the one I got (I normally wear a 9, but I think I needed an 8.5, in this case, and got a 9 on principle).

And…the sedation is kicking in again, so I’m going to sign off.

Feeling better, now.

One good thing: my quality of life is incredibly better when I take medication around 9 PM, as versus 12:30 AM! For some reason, the impact is much less than the 17-hour thing I mentioned in my last post. When I take medication early and sleep with the blinds cracked, I spontaneously wake up at 6:30 AM, at least for now — and I’m able to keep going.

Another good, but odd, thing related to the holidays: growing up, I would often get depressed around Christmas. The reasoning why is clear enough for me (there are actually two reasons), but would likely be misinterpreted if read out of context. And basically, no one has context except direct family, who lived through it with me.

The bright spot in recognizing this (and growing up) is that I’m not wholly dependent on other people to get me what I want. We stopped doing “Christmas presents” several years ago — and it works. The thing is trying to figure out little things to make people to whom I actually do want to give tokens.

That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, with all the art supplies and papers I’ve got! There is always the issue of what to do with an overflow of finished art, as well.

Right now…I have really got to get some sleep, unfortunately! I got distracted during the middle of this post, and…my brain’s fuzzing out on me. 🙂 Because I took the meds close-to-on-time.

I really want to work on art, but at the same time I have about 2.5 weeks left of school to power through. I can wait that long, but maybe I shouldn’t.

Medication for Permanent Disability: med side effects are my current disease.

Alright, I’ve been scanning my archives for a while, tonight: I’ve had too much of school. And I’ve found it hard to do anything except schoolwork, eating, or sleeping. Well — besides reading, here. Records help.

I’ve been asleep for most of the day — it’s a pattern I’m familiar with from when I was not on Prozac. (I began the Prozac to try and fight the lethargy that is a side effect of an antianxiety/antidepressant medication, but the benefit in mood and wakefulness has been accompanied by slow, constant weight gain that I haven’t been able to reverse, so far.) If you haven’t been following the blog, this is my sixth week on a half-dose of Prozac — because I’ve finally said that this is enough.

At the same time I know that the tiredness is at least partially because I’ve been taking sedating medication at midnight instead of three hours earlier. I know this conks me out the entire next day; but it’s hard to take medication that you know will sedate you and may make you nonfunctional, four hours after you finally feel OK enough to get out of bed. From my calculations, it appears that sedation from my anti-anxiety drug starts 1.5 hours after it’s taken, and lasts for 15.5 more hours.

And actually, that looks pretty much…like my pattern.

I’ve been taking medication at midnight or around there, and not feeling wakeful until 4 or 5 PM the next day. That’s a total of 17 hours that are impacted.

I’ll try and take it at 9, though, and just see where it goes from there. If I go to bed at 10:30 PM…that is 1.5 hours before midnight, so I should be fully awake by 2 PM the next day…giving me about 9 hours of quality working time. (For the first 7, I’ll just be tired or asleep.)

Although I know I don’t actually need that much sleep; this is just the amount that my body wants to sleep on 150mg of the sedating medication.

That medication acts against anxiety…which is useful in my line of work, combined with my personal history and the patrons I have to deal with. It also keeps in check, a couple of phobias. There is the possibility of cutting the dose by 1/3, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly great option, at the moment. At least, I need to wait until the holidays are over: I don’t want to add to the yearly load of additional holiday Crisis appointments, if I don’t have to.

On the other hand, when I was on 200mg of this medication a night instead of 150…I missed so many doses that in practicality, I was on 150. And my sleep schedule was almost nonexistent. What I can say is that I was pretty heavily drugged, and not particularly on the right medication (which dates back to a prescribing psychiatrist from high school whom I basically hated — I feel she worked in the Pediatric division because kids didn’t push back).

So yes…taking medication in half an hour (and keeping to the 9 PM schedule) should tell me whether I need to reduce that medication as well, in order to be functional during the day. There is a big difference between 100mg and 150mg; at the same time, I do still have issues with anxiety (which could ramp up into feeling threatened, which could ramp up into hostility, left unchecked. And I do have rage issues…which aren’t entirely the fault of the people who tap into them except they keep tapping).

I wonder if there are other antianxiety medications out there that do not have a side effect of sedation? Do I even still have a diagnosis (as versus a history) of “depression,” at all?

Or maybe I should just consult with my doctor and lower the sedating dose by 25mg, and see how I feel…after confirming or disproving that this stuff takes 17 hours to stop making me tired.

Gah. So I started writing to try and get my mind off school, and got diverted into self-care and mental health…though at least it was productive, a bit.

Right now, in one class all I have left is a presentation and Final Project (which I haven’t started, yet). In another class, I have a relatively simple assignment and a Final Project to work on (which is well underway). In my third class, I have a lecture and two readings which I should have done by now (that is, I’m behind again), and group work to do by tomorrow (which was scheduled for today, but I slept most of the day). Some of that work is already done, and I just need to review some readings to prepare for the morning.

The problem is not having done anything unnecessary, for what feels like the past week, and having to bribe myself to get out of bed with lures like chocolate. I need a break! But then, I feel guilty because I know that if I take a break, there’s probably something on which I’m falling behind.

I haven’t even been able to do reading which isn’t directly related to school, without being too tired to stay up to do it.

I’m also taking an extra unit in Spring semester, and am not sure how I’m going to hold all that together, if I’m having this much trouble with nine units. Then again…the vast majority of my work this semester is coming from ONE CLASS. I guess I’ve just got to hope that I don’t get more classes like that, in Spring; or something is going to have to give…whether it’s classes, work, or medication.

(I generally do not oversleep, off of medication; I’m normally an insomniac and get by with 4-6 hours of sleep a night.)

Yeah, I think…the medication stuff just needs testing and adjustment. And I can’t rely on Psychiatry to empathize on that point for me, because they aren’t the ones experiencing the effects (the best I got from them on the issue of constant sedation was, “fight it.” And I was like DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO EXPERIENCE THIS [though I didn’t say this]. And the answer, obviously, is “no,” because they aren’t on my medications, and they don’t know how hard it is to stay out of bed when every fiber of your being wants to be asleep. And if people tell you you can’t sleep, you just want to sit in the floor and cry to be allowed to sleep.)

Anyway, I should take the ******* medications, now.

Lack of functioning

I officially started trying to wean myself off of Prozac on October 10th, so I’ve been on a half-dose for about 9 days (though it takes about a month for dosing changes to take effect).  Right now I can tell that my brain isn’t working too well.  I want to be engaged in art, I have a group project that I need to work on, I have other schoolwork to attend to.  But it’s hard to commit to any of that.

Although it is very apparent that I need to go through my backlog of digital images and do some curation.

Today I got up shortly after 2 PM, after having gone to bed at 11 PM the night before.  Then I was so cold that I spent another hour and a half in bed, around sundown (the only thing that got me up was that I was being summoned to dinner, though I didn’t want to do that either).  Supposedly, it should have been 74º F in the house at that time, but I was still really cold.  And right now my eyes are burning, even though it’s only 9:15 PM here.

In short, I’m dealing with the same pattern I was dealing with before Prozac (becoming wiped out and going to bed in the middle of the day), only now I’ve likely got some initial withdrawal stuff and stress-related stuff on top of it.  Which is why I wanted to get off six months ago, so I could adjust when I wasn’t in classes.

The positive thing is that it’s raining outside.  This means that it wasn’t just me; it actually was dim and likely cold inside the house.  The thermometer, unfortunately, isn’t great at relating when it’s 74º F inside and 44º F outside (thus heat is escaping from the house), and when it’s 74º F inside and 88º F outside (thus heat is radiating into the house).  The two extremes of temperature feel different even though the thermometer says they’re the same.

I’ve also heard that I may have been cold because I was tired (though this usually doesn’t happen for me unless I stay up until 2 or 3 AM).  I guess I did wake at 7 AM yesterday, got up at 7:30 AM, and didn’t lie down until 11 PM.  I usually don’t run for 16 hours straight — even on a work night.  Or, I don’t think I do, at least.

And my weight is still going up, but I’ve been hungrier than usual, for some reason.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was medication-related, but I’ve got to be honest with myself in that it also may be overwork- or depression- or stress-related.  (I gained 7 lbs. in my first semester of the MLIS program, which is part of why I initially said I wouldn’t go back.)  It could also be related to genetics, in which case I’m not all that upset.  I’m only upset if it is related to being on medication (as the medication can also trigger insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes related to weight gain).

Anyway…I am tired and I should likely get ready for bed, even though I just got up about two and a half hours ago.  I ran myself too long last night and so didn’t get to take care of hygiene before passing out — meaning it’s relatively vital that I at least do so, tonight (no, I didn’t brush my teeth when I woke up at 2 PM).

In other arenas, I am really tired of my Digital Archives class (which is making it clear that I don’t want to become an archivist [too many rules, reminiscent of Cataloging], kind of like my management class made it clear I wouldn’t want to be a manager [managing people] and my public service classes made it clear that I don’t want a public-facing job in a Public Library [managing people]).  The problem is that it’s a group-work class, so other people are depending on my doing my part on time; therefore, pressure.  And I don’t get any time extension on group assignments…I think if my classmates had been paying attention, though, I remember mentioning that I had a mood disorder.  Which is majorly what I’m dealing with, right now…although I haven’t consciously felt very bad.

Seriously…Web Development and Web Design look much shinier.  So much ******* shinier that it’s hard to believe.  I just don’t know if I’ll need even more specialized formal training in order to do it…and to be honest, even the math I might need, isn’t looking that scary, at this point.

(By that, I mean dealing with math is likely less frustrating than dealing with people…)

Catching up, and trying to take care of myself at the same time.

I need to manage my time, better.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of my work, this semester, is from one class.  While I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, in effect, it is a lot of work.  It’s also kind of stressful in that it seems, whenever I take some time out for myself, I fall behind.

For instance, now.  I know that writing here doesn’t have much to do with my studies (other than being a warm-up for a written assignment:  it’s hard to start cold), but I don’t think I’ve realistically done much other than study, eat, go to work, and sleep, over the past 5 days.

Oh, wait, no.  I did play around with some beads to make earring focals, but that…that was intentional.  There was one day — Monday or Tuesday — in which I started studying when I woke up, and aside from dinner, did not stop reading for 9.5 hours, until I went back to bed.  But I’ve been catching up on three weeks of work, which went by I-don’t-know-how (other than the fact that the class with the surprise heavy workload was the class with the almost-no-workload earlier in the semester).

I need to change the pattern of not checking the Learning Management System when I need a break, because then I don’t know how much I’m falling behind.  Of course, not thinking about it is kind of the point; but when in other semesters this would have been a viable option because the amount of falling behind was negligible, this semester it is not.  I simply have too much work due too soon.

So…it really does look like my life is again circling around my career choice.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing? but I’m having to use disability accommodations in order to get through it all.  That’s largely because of the sleep issue.

Speaking of which, it’s been working relatively well to take medication at 9 PM, take care of hygiene, fall asleep around 11, and wake up randomly between 6 and 7:30 AM.  The problem is falling back asleep after I wake up, even when my alarms go off.  This happened today, and so even though I woke up at 6 AM (before sunrise), I repeatedly fell back asleep, and didn’t actually get up until 12 PM.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that I didn’t take medication last night until around 11:30 PM.  The later I take it, the more bombed-out I am the next day.  I think it would be best to stick to the 9 PM med time when I can, even though it feels like I’m wasting time in which I’m aware:  9 PM is early enough so that I’m not totally wiped out the next day.  And if I can manage to find a way to stay out of bed after I first wake up, this should be workable (it should be easier as my body gets used to going to bed and waking up at stable hours).

Of course, that means that I’ve got a little less than 8 hours left to get my homework done, today.

I’ll get to work.