Love lays the cards on the table (the sleep thing)

by Craig on July 30, 2012

Laska the Love Kittie does NOT have a "sleep thing" ツ

But me, it’s been 15 years since I last slept more than 3 consecutive hours.

I call it “the sleep thing”. It’s technically diagnosed as insomnia, along with sleep apnea…but the apnea part has a solution. Today, a post to explain it once, because writing about it over and over is a little self-serving and whiny and obnoxious.

Here’s the skinny.

15 years of unrelenting sleep deprivation has changed nearly every part of me. The mind that was once sharper than the edge of pin, it still has its moments, but like a stubborn computer drive, it misses pieces of information.

Short term “working” memory is continual challenge.

I ran health clubs. I was a personal trainer. I was a brilliant volleyball player…a shortstop who never missed a play…and until this, never had a struggle with weight.

But lack of sleep for so long robs you of physical ability. Getting no sleep prevents the muscles from repairing, the nerves from firing quickly, and slows the metabolism like wet cement. It basically makes me feel about 20 years older than I am.

But it’s ok.

Everyone has their thorn.

On the best of days, one out of…fifty…I can feel normal. But the new normal is a weakened immune system, and lack of energy, and a body that looks healthy…

…but with little to no sleep is a shadow of what it was.

If you’re a mom you know how this feels. Pregnancy and those first few months with the baby…that’s a lot like this. Except this doesn’t pass with time. Friends with cancer, who are on chemotherapy, tell me it’s the way they feel.

Injuries don’t heal quickly, every pain gets magnified, and I always feel foggy headed and sick. There are often days in a row with absolutely no sleep.  I can pretend for periods of time to feel just fine…but at the end of any such effort comes a crash.

I’ve seen scores of doctors…had every test done…
but still wake between 5 and 25 times a night.

I’m thankful for people who kindly offer advice.

But honestly, every avenue has been explored, and the doctors familiar with the case have run out of options. There has been melatonin, sleep hygiene, sunlight therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis, every drug under the sun, herbs, supplements, therapy, diet. It’s all been tried.

When sleep is less bad, I’m able to see possibilities.
When it’s more bad, I can’t see a shadow of a chance.

I fight through it because it’s sleep deprivation, not clinical depression, so antidepressants have no effect, Sometimes I fight well, sometimes not well, and sometimes to fight is impossible. But…

it’s OK…it’s just my thorn in the side.

source

Who knows if Paul’s thorn ever left him? (2 Cor 12:7)

But it humbled him and made him more usable.

The decade and a half with no sleep has stolen so much, but it’s humbled me and made me…more usable.

Pretty much any way of making a steady income is beyond possible for me. I can’t guarantee any boss that I will be at work tomorrow – and if I am that I’ll perform at any acceptable level. I know me, I wouldn’t hire me. I’d say, “Craig, your talented, smart, but we need someone we can count on to be here, and be 100%.”

So I can’t blame them for wanting someone else for the job.

But I can still write, and now is the time to follow hard this dream of finding a way to make a living with my words.

If God should choose to take this thorn, I’ll praise him.
Should God choose to leave it, I’ll praise him still.

It is what it is.

If the thorn is doing its good thing…

then, although I hate it…

I’m ok with it.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle July 31, 2012 at 6:05 am

Thank you for you honesty with your story. Sometimes we can fill in the gaps with a little info, but now we know specifically what we can pray for – that we can trust God with you and your needs (sleep, income, Laska 😉 ).

“If the thorn is doing its good thing…then, although I hate it…I’m ok with it.” – Who said Paul liked his thorn! 😀

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Craig July 31, 2012 at 6:35 am

Well, I needed this all in one place, not in dribs and drabs. And I will have to “monetize” LOVE and SCRIPTURE. With the sleep thing it’s really the only way I can have an income. SO I’ll be starting really soon with this – I have a love flippy desktop calendar – it’ll be a start. And the only prayer I ever need is for God’s will to be done. I like what I like -but he knows better. No? And, yeah, I rather suspect that Paul wasn’t very fond of his thorn either. By the way, yesterday, for a while, was the first time that the pull of the “here and now” was stronger than the pull of the “there and nowhere” – that’s a start. God bless you my friend.

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A. July 31, 2012 at 10:16 am

Craig, this post helps me to understand more, though you have shared pieces already. I am praying for God’s will, and for the way He may choose to bless you through your gift of words. Waiting for that sidebar with the flippys. :) I may have put this smiley here, but I know your situation is serious, far from smiley.

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Craig July 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

No, the situation is what it is. It’s serious. But it is what it is. Your smiley face – I know exactly what you meant. First a paypal bar – don’t know how to do that!! Then the flippies. There are only 30 or so of them. Then I need to find someone to make an app – or maybe I’ll make it an ebook. The only way for me to make enough income to live – after much thought on the subject is to make an income through my words. But you know me and those negative voices….you arent’ good enough….nobody’s gaonna want to pay for your words…you know…those voices. Anyway I’ve been meaning to write a one post says it all “sleep thing” post so I stop grumbling in public about my thorn. God bless you A. (◠‿◠)

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Caddo Veil July 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm

WOW, always Wow, brother Craig. I’m glad you kind of gave us a hint about “advice”–so I won’t waste my brain cells (and annoy you) trying to come up with somethin’. What is the demon that tells us we should be able to “fix” things, everything, something?–it drives me crazy some days. I don’t want to fix the whole world–just the people I care about. So I’ll continue to Pray for you every night–send “sister love” to you–and go “WOW”. love, sis Caddo

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Craig August 1, 2012 at 3:08 am

Thank you Caddo, I have been wanting to write this for a while, you know, have it here mentioned so I don’t grumble about it all the time. SO I can say “the sleep thing” and some nice people who read me *ahem* will know, and others who may not know can link back to it and find out. SO no more whiny – woe is me posts. Just that it is what it is and we get it out of the way and – well – you know. As normal as my posts can be – just so some people know things are NEVER normal – and I don’t have to pretend all the time – that’s nice. Anyway – the next important step for me is to find a way to make some income from my words, income that because of these last 8 weeks is now more than immediately critical. Just finished a prayer for you – and that’s a good sign – that when I hear someone cares enough to pray for me I immediately want to “pray back” – I think God likes that – and it’s a sign I’m stepping back into the here and now. God bless you my friend.

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Caddo Veil August 1, 2012 at 3:27 am

I was just so touched that you would “pray back”–it must have been some prayer, as the killer headache I had is GONE. So praise God, and thank you Craig!!! I’m glad you put this post up to explain a bit about what you live with. Deb F and I have gotten really close, and she seems to know you from awhile back, so was able to get me up to speed quickly. I just want to say one other thing–and it is not to minimize your situation at all–we all have “something”, so I don’t think there’s a whole lot of what people would like to think is an ideal normal. Although God did a miraculous work of deliverance in my life, Mar 2011, I still have what I refer to as “residual” issues (mental/emotional) which I have to “live around”. I have not been able to work for years, but am blessed to have a modest disability income–so that’s one less stress. I will certainly continue to pray daily for you–especially about work/income from your writing. May God continue to bless you in all ways, causing you to thrive in Him.

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Craig August 1, 2012 at 3:47 am

yeah – Deb was one of the first people to read me – she knows some history. A heart of gold that girl. And you’re not minimizing anything at all, Caddo. As I said, everybody has their thorn, Everybody’s broken. And next week I’m going to put my first thing up for sale, my little Love flippy calendar. I heart that little thing. And I’m blessed Caddo, I’m always blessed, so are you. Whether or not we have “blessings” doesn’t matter – what matters is whose we are, and who we are in the eyes and hands of the God of everything. Glad your headache is gone. I think God really hearts it when we pray for each other. 【ˆ◡ˆ】

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Katie August 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Thank you for sharing you story in details Craig. I appreciate you sharing so honestly.

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Craig August 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

thank YOU, Katie, thank you. I’ve always wanted to write a post where I just explained, “the sleep thing.” – So I wouldn’t have to keep dropping bits and pieces of it everywhere. Now I can just refer to the sleep thing – and if someone knows what it is – lovely – and if they don’t – I can link back here. And you know how I am with honesty on a blog – if it’s not real – if it’s not honest – if it’s not transparent – why bother. God bless you my friend

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Miz Liz August 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Dear Hero Craig. THANK YOU for your honest post about “the sleep thing.” I “stumbled” onto this post today after a oh-so-very-long bout of being absent from writing my own blog, from reading words of my favorite faith giants like you, and for a season I was even absent from God’s words. Just.too.tired. Your words explained sleep deprivation so well… thank you !!! Even if my words don’t make it to my blog, I’m back in my praying chair so I will cover you more faithfully. You are a blessing to this old grandmother. Hang on!!!! Love, Liz

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Craig August 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

no hero at all, Liz, a broken vessel doing what I can – and not doing it very well at the moment – and won’t be able to for a little while. I think. But trying, trying. And a faith giant? Not at all – oh, me of little faith. Thank you for your prayers Liz – I am so, so happy to count this “old grandmother” among my friends. God bless and keep you!

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Tracie August 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I struggle with insomnia (although not to the level and severity as your “sleep thing”) so in a small sliver of a bit I feel your struggle. It is hard when you aren’t where you want to be because of something that is beyond your control. Offering prayers for you – for rest, and for favor as you set out on monetizing.

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Craig August 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

Tracie, first of all, thank you for coming by. These last three months I’ve been invisible from this community – I haven’t read – I haven’t commented – I haven’t even tweeted much and I tweet like crazy. This seven days with no sleep has radically changed my brain and its just beginning to piece back together. So thank you for being here. Thank you for your prayers. It’s my thorn. I don’t think I’d have it if it weren’t doing what it should be doing. And it IS doing what it should be doing – I’m prideful, I don’t see things well enough or clearly enough or fast enough – it’s changing me for the better, even while it takes bits and pieces of life as it does it. I’m okay with that. Gods will not mine be done. Thank you again, I just finished a prayer for your “sleep thing.” Make sure it’s looked at and understood before has a chance to get out of hand my friend. God bless and keep you Tracie.

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Djemila Macklin August 16, 2013 at 2:35 am

I wrote you regarding my husband who just passed on Father’s Day from Cardiac arrest due to sleep apnea, and now reading through your articles, I read YOU have sleep apnea, and insomnia, which I have(insomnia). I don’t believe in coincidences. I hope you read my post on the picture with the rainbow and the heart, and I hope you can email me. If ever I needed to hear from someone kind, it would be now, They say treat others the way you want to be treated, well, my experience hasn’t shown me that, but maybe now it will. I would reach my hand out to you if you needed it, hopefully, I’ll hear from you. God bless you and yours

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