Social Distancing Week 28…No Rest For The Weary

Friday, September 25, 2020…12:46pm

The end of week 28 and I seem to have lost the ability to sleep. No rest for the weary is one of the cruel jokes of my life.

I’ve never been a good sleeper and I’ve had bouts of insomnia before, so I am no stranger to the particular exhaustion that comes from lack of restful sleep. But this feels different than past times. This time it’s not just a misbalance in the things that lead to good sleep (nutrition, exercise, comfort, stress levels). I’ve made adjustments to all the usual suspects and yet still find myself sleeping so fitfully that even the smallest sound in the house has the potential to wake me up and then spend hours unable to fall back asleep as my mind races from one concern to the next.

I don’t generally feel helpless, but 28 weeks in on a global pandemic I admit to feeling a deepening sense that my actions aren’t having much impact on outcomes. So yeah, I’m feeling kind of helpless. And my brain is trying to problem solve me out of that feeling with no respect for time or for the havoc the lost sleep is playing on my energy and physical well being.

I was talking to my mom yesterday and said something about wanting to figure out how to be the type of person who can live life with seemingly little care about what is going on around them. I feel like those people don’t have any trouble sleeping. My mom, without missing a beat, responded that I could never be that person because it’s not how I’m made. She’s right, of course.

Like so many others, I spent the hours following Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last Friday remembering some of the things she said and did over the years that made an impact on me. One quote has been weaving its way through my heart and mind (both during waking and non-sleeping hours) all week, Ginsburg told her biographer that she wanted to be remembered “…as someone who did whatever she could, with whatever limited talent she had, to move society along in the direction I would like it to be for my children and grandchildren’” Me too. That’s what I want, but in the current reality, that is feels tenuous. Thus my late night overactive brain and wishes to live like the people who don’t seem to care about what’s happening around us. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

I know that one way out of feeling helpless, is to help somebody else. So I spent part of yesterday writing postcards to encourage other women to vote. It felt good to do something productive – I felt a bit of an endorphin rush that I recognize has been missing from my life in this strange season. I need more of that to regain some equilibrium and move out of the helpless space.

But first, sleep. Because I’m pretty sure my current state of sleep deprivation makes me a danger to both myself and others!

Be well my friends.

Exhausted me combatting the helplessness with concrete action…

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