Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chasing Zeds

Last night I was physically exhausted.  I'd had two intense days working as a solo facilitator with two different groups.  Each group had its own personalities, dynamics, struggles, challenges and delights.  But both days ended on a solid note of satisfaction.

As the last person left the room, I could feel my last reserve of energy run out.  It's amazing how one can keep going without noticing and then the minute something finishes, switch off.  I struggled to stay awake on the train home.  For dinner I made toast, something I rarely do as I love to cook and even on the worst days have a stock of  frozen meals (made by me) in the freezer which only require reheating in the microwave.  I was hungry, but struggled to actually eat.

At 7:30pm I was ready for bed, but that just seemed ridiculous, so I put on an episode of "Seinfeld" and took up my knitting.  I made it through two 22 minute episodes and decided it was still too early to go to bed.  If I go to bed too early, I sleep badly, waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to fall asleep again. I pressed play for a third episode.  My knitting was slowing down and I wasn't really conscious of what George and Jerry were doing.

About an hour later I woke up on the couch.  The episode of "Seinfeld" long finished and my knitting left in the middle of a row (the ultimate knitting sin).  And I was sitting upright, not even lying on the couch.  I walked in my half sleep to my bed and that was it.  Until I woke up, thinking it was morning after a fairly wild dream.  It was 12:44am.  I had HOURS to go.  I tossed.  I turned.  I got up and had a drink of water. I went back to bed. I pretended to sleep.  I went through this routine a couple of times and then woke up this morning at 6:30, still feeling tired.

Sleep is fascinating.  Something I take for granted as generally I do it easily.  Boarding school and residential college at university trained me well to be able to go to sleep whenever and wherever I need to.  Bombs can fall outside and I wouldn't hear a thing or wake up.  But if I break my night owl habit and go to bed before 11:30, I'm awake at least once in the middle of the night.

I've shared space with sleep walkers who do all kinds of amazing things in their sleep.  It can be fascinating and frightening all at once, but I've always been glad that I'm not the one doing it.  However, I have been known to have episodes of screaming in my sleep.  Once when I was sharing a room while travelling in Spain.  Apparently before the scream comes out, I will groan and make a lot of sounds like someone fighting to make noise.  My friend in the other bed was awoken by my struggling and instinctively said my name and reached out and touched me.  At this precise moment I let out a full blooded scream.  She got the fright of her life.  I was terrified by whatever was going on in my head and I think we both then screamed at each other.  It was a wonder that the whole of Valencia was not awake and wondering.  But then again, Spain is a very noisy country.

I haven't felt so physically and mentally tired for a while.  It's amazing that when we're so tired our body just puts itself to sleep, regardless of what we're doing.  That's why I missed yesterday's blog post.

I'm very glad I didn't have to drive myself home.  I wouldn't have made it!

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