Perchance to (Please!) Sleep

How am I supposed to write 150 words on being tired, when I’m completely exhausted? I’m tired. I’m so, so, so tired.

I work a very early weekend morning shift a local ABC/CNN affiliate in Scranton, Pa.

I’ve been working this shift for about five years and my body still hasn’t completely adjusted to getting up at 1:30 every weekend morning.

I live about 40 miles away from the station.

Not only does the job require mental focus and sharp attention to detail, but I need to be alert enough to make the commute in.

Knock on wood, I haven’t fallen asleep behind the wheel – yet. I thank Spotify for that.

There are long hours some days and schedule changes without much notice. Take for example last Thursday. I didn’t get home until midnight. I slept approximately three shitty hours. Rigby, our cat, jumped on me in the middle of the night.

My two tweenage children were slamming doors while getting ready for school. My husband was yelling at said children, finally a child shoved a paper in my face from the school nurse to be signed at 7 a.m.

OK people. I get it, I am awake. No use in trying to go back to sleep, because it won’t happen. My husband gets to comfortably sleep in until at least 10 a.m. every day.

He works from home and the people on his team are in the mountain time zone. Some days, he sleeps until noon. It infuriates me. I think the last time I had a decent night of sleep was in maybe 2002 or 2003, which were the years before I was pregnant with my first child.

I woke up every day and night with my children when they cried, had a dirty diaper, were sick or needed something. In a way, the lack of sleep during motherhood has trained me for my current role at the news station.

What are the effects of my exhaustion?

Off of the top of my head, my feet drag, my mind isn’t sharp, I’m short with people, I’m in a constant state of exhaustion, I lack motivation, my mind is soup.

It feels a lot like having the engine of a Ferrari inside the body of a Yugo. I want to do things, but I tire out so quickly. I bargain with my alarm clock every morning. I’ve tried taking sleeping pills, but they make me groggy and I’m terrified I’ll oversleep and miss my alarm.

Caffeine helps me get through most mornings, but I know it isn’t healthy for me. For the first few months of this schedule, I was slamming energy drinks. The result was that I was feeling lightheaded and my heart was racing. I felt like I was going to faint all of the time.

I went to see a specialist and they sent me through various rounds of tests. Nothing solid was ever diagnosed, but eventually I was put on beta blockers after I passed out during a tilt table test.

A few years later I was sent for a sleep study. Nothing of value was diagnosed there either, other than “you need to change your hours or find a new job.” Sure, I’ll get right on that.

I miss out on a lot of things in people’s lives. Birthday parties, holiday celebrations, etc. are normally held on weekends, and I am unable to go because either I’m asleep, or know that I’ll have to sleep soon.

I feel like I live on borrowed time most weeks. This is where the bargaining with the clock also begins.

“Well, maybe if I sleep in like 20 extra minutes, I can stop by this event for an hour and leave.”

I also get frustrated with people very easily. I’ve gotten into yelling matches with people for seemingly no reason or over something so insignificant and relationships have suffered.

It leaves me feeling terrible and guilty. I don’t mean to be a jerk to people, but they just don’t understand how crappy I’m feeling.

To learn more about Michelle,  check out her bio and her blog.