Category Archives: Insomnia and Sleep

Allergic to Life

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I’m sitting here sniffling. Well sniffling and snotting and sweating and itching and spitting up things I shouldn’t. Kleenex ain’t got nothing on me brother. Sounds like a head cold right? Holy hell no!

The bullshit of life is us pale, freckly, pigment-limited folk are basically allergic to life. I know there are terms for it now – mass cell disorder, pregnenolone deficient, histamine intolerant, genetic inflammatory condition cursed, but whatever you want to call it…it sucks.

Basically too much dust, dander, sun, food, alcohol, seasonal temperature or foliage shifts = itchy, red, stuffy, sore, insomniac days. Ya, it’s bullshit I tell ya. Benadryl is my best friend and explanations to people get fewer and farther between as my fucks given are less and less.

“Well my dear it’s not a real anaphylactic allergy,  but basically too much stimuli makes your system react the same way.” Gee thanks Mother Nature. Or my Maker. Let’s meet. It’s hard to admit, but basically the gist is I’m allergic to life.

And sadly (for them) more and more people around me are starting to see similar trends as they age. Maybe this makes me lucky as I navigated the trials a decade or so ago, and have worked out a daily coping strategy, but screw you Batman – I spent my teens and twenties having no damn idea why I was sick all the time. I was a relatively-healthy drinking, eating, adjusted athlete who just seemed to be damned. Those gingers I tell ya. 

However, misery loves company, so not so sadly (for me), the rest of my generation, guys and girls alike, seem to be catching up. My bf has mystery redness, my boss has pressure-induced stiff neck, her boss is stuffed and calamined, my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law had an unknown attack and here I am counselling and educating those poor unfortunate souls (cue evil Ursula laugh). And handing out migraine and allergy pills like they are candy. It’s not really good or bad, but it’s life. And you know what? I’m still standing. Maybe not pointing and laughing, but certainly thinking that maybe something good came out of all of this lifelong cursed crap. Maybe stretch marks from pregnancy won’t be my undoing, maybe navigating how to work alongside migraines and nerve damage won’t devastatingly derail my career, or even learning how to eat at restaurants and home without totally offending the cook...maybe that’s my silver lining, maybe that’s my happy place, or more appropriately, maybe that’s my ginger lining in life.

“You know, I’m still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. And I’m still standing after all this time. I’m still standing….”  – Elton John

The Ginga Ninja

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Where’s Freud when you need him?

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freud-illustrationAwhile back I tried to write a post about dreams. The problem? It was only a dream.

I’m kidding. The problem was that I was having so many at the time – holding hands with friends, spooning strangers, random people and sad situations…it was a very long and complicated entry; one I always thought I would edit when things were a little more clear. Instead I’m starting over. The other morning I woke up from some very strange and unsettling dreams. Nothing overly bad happened, but sometimes you gotta wonder – what exactly is your subconscious trying to tell you?

My buddy Sigmund Freud is considered the Daddy of Dream Decoding. He believed that nothing happened by chance and that every action and thought is motivated by your unconscious at some level. http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtheory/freud.htm

I awoke from a dream where I was at a party with a lot of my old friends. Correction, my ex-boyfriend’s friends, but once we broke up they slowly left my life. It’s sad, but hey, it’s life. Anyhoo, I was catching up with them all – slowly making my way around the room to find out where they lived, who was married, who broke up, their 3rd careers…you know, the usual coming of age fare. It was nice, except for my ex beau and his new squeeze were fuzzily in the background avoiding me like the plague, or more accurately, barely aware I even existed.

Fast forward time, as dreams often do and suddenly we were in my apartment (which was really a hotel room) and I was having an after party. For some reason I owned two places and was being told that I had to give this one up (ha – as if I could ever afford that) – but, this very loft that has helped liberate and create who I am today. A lot of lonely nights and a lot of blog entries have existed here, but a lot of independence too. Like usual, there were now two roads diverged.

But, in that room were a few of those friends, an annoying new suitor, my ex and even the boy before him. When I awoke, it seemed so real, having the two lost loves in the same room. The one was chatty and friendly, like he was in real life…the other hard to read and silent… like he also was in the flesh and blood. My feelings about them in the dream were reminiscent of my feelings about them in life. The one that is more resolved left the room and left it in a friendly way. The one that may or may not hate my guts sat there quietly and mysteriously not saying a word.

I told a couple of people about my mixed feelings when I awoke. It all felt so real. It made me for about an hour want my old life back. It made me for about an hour want my ex-boyfriend back. It made me for about an hour feel like nothing had changed, when really everything has changed. Dreaming about an ex can mean many things – feelings unresolved, the desire for affection, missing a relationship, entering a new one, or even meeting somebody who reminds you of them. Usually they are proposing, you are kissing, they are dying…but very rarely are they just there. I’ve dreamt about them separately and at times with confusion, but never, ever have I dreamt about them together – two worlds crashing, but neither my world any more.

The funny thing about my dream was it wasn’t set in the past, it was in the present. The fact that they were both with other people was known and my feelings about them seemed to be screaming from their actions. Subconscious my ass. It could have simply been emotions unresolved about the way that life and love worked out. But, more so than that, the fact that old chapters of my life were there and I was being told to let go of this new one because clearly the second apartment was newer and nicer may speak volumes. What I have tried to avoid is people telling me how to be or what to do and yet, it still plagues me from time to time. What I have tried to avoid is the need to have the best, the most, the biggest or the baddest and only have what works for me, but it too still haunts me every now and again.

As my life progresses I have a difficult time of supporting my decisions, but also of letting go of the past. Even if it’s wrong right now, a day will come when I will need to let go of this sanctuary and move on. Maybe them being there and being there in the exact same way they were in life was simply speaking to the choices I’ve made, the roads less travelled and that well-known fact that life is ever-evolving and ever-changing. Maybe mentally I’m preparing for something big again. I’m acknowledging what I have had to sacrifice to get where I am and what I may have to again to keep moving forward. I don’t know what that something is yet, but perhaps we need to let go of a bit of the past in order to have a shot at the future.

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.                                                                                                                                                         –  Sigmund Freud

The Ginga Ninja

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Sick of Being Tired and Tired of Being Sick

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I am currently sick, sick as a dog so they say.  I’m pretty sure Charles Darwin is laughing right about now in his little monkey-filled hell over this tiny theory he liked to call “evolution”.  Well, us gingers know what survival of the fittest means…trust me, we get it. We get sicker, we get crazier, and we are going straight up – extinct.

http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/gingers-extinct-in-100-years-say-scientists/story-e6frfkp9-1111114243424

Either way, I am currently laying in bed with a heated wheatbag on one side, soup on the other, a mountain of Kleenex (the real name brand kind), a scented candle, and my trusty TV remote….oh….and computer.  Let’s not forget the hallowed computer. This month has rocked my world, and more particularly my body.  Maybe it’s a reminder I’m not invincible….maybe it’s a reminder that I’m genetically deficient, or maybe it’s the universe giving me what I sort of wanted in a sick and twisted way.  I did want to lose a little weight…

Anyways, if you have ever witnessed a dog getting sick, I guess that’s where the saying came from.  Apparently it was first cited in 1705 and the theory is that the dog, being closest to humans was the animal most often witnessed getting sick.  I guess the author didn’t own a long-haired cat.

If I had to rewrite history and overrule the saying, I guess I would go with sick as a hungover sorority girl, or better yet, sick as a ginger.

It’s no longer a question of staying healthy, it’s a question of finding an illness you like. – Jackie Mason

The Ginga Ninja

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Morning People Are Only People Without Happening Night Lives

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Do you ever go through body phases, whether it be you get really really achy, extremely hyper, or suddenly are having the soundest, deepest sleeps of your life and cannot physically pull yourself from bed?  Sleeps like when you were a kid…like if there were no reason to get up, well then maybe you never would?  But, the mere fact you were pulled from this slumber meant you were late to work, forgot your mascara, and will be walking in a daze the remainder of the day just dreaming about going back to bed.  I want to say maybe it’s just me, but somehow I doubt it.

I am currently going through this phase.  As per every, single, thought and occurrence I (or anyone) has ever had – I’ve *shockingly* had it before and yet every single time I find it puzzling and curious as to why I would suddenly be so tired or sleeping so sound!  I go through the usual process of wondering if I’m getting sick, could it be mono, am I over-stressed, is it that I’ve been really busy, is it the ups and downs of weather…and usually yes, it seems to go hand-in-hand with any number of these things (well, maybe not mono), or maybe, just maybe there is no explainable reason and it just is.

About a month ago I was turning into an amazing sleeper who actually woke up BEFORE my alarm clock, rested and full of energy…I actually thought “this is it, this is the ‘someday’ I always imagined I would transition into as an adult!”…You know what I’m talking about, you’ve all thought it.  “When I grow up I’m going to be a morning person”.  That fated day when your alarm clock is no longer necessary and when you lean out and open that window with a smile…and cartoon birds land on your shoulder.

But, alas, for the past 4 days I cannot wake up to save my life and find myself…horror of horrors…GRUMPY.  Now, I’m not a great morning person, but I’m almost never, ever grumpy.   I usually just get up and get ready quickly.  I don’t normally talk a lot, I’m not normally entirely awake, but almost never.. gasp…grumpy. Maybe this is because I had a super-packed weekend, maybe it’s because the weather has been so up and down it could be an amusement park ride, or maybe I really am fighting a cold.  What I can tell you is that when you are 30 and your mother decides to come in and lie about the time of the morning, turn on the light, and immediately begin lecturing you on cleaning the house before walking out the door…it definitely adds to the grump factor. Maybe that grump has just followed me into the following days.  But for whatever reason, I am still half-asleep as I sit here and ruminate.

Maybe not all parents wake their kids up this way…what a terrible start to the day!  Maybe some are patient, understanding, and always forthright, but I know for certain my parents have…let’s call them “parenting” traits I would happily trade in. I know that my mom, as long as I can remember will just time-machine herself to the next ominous sounding part of the hour.  If it is 8:11, she will say “it’s already quarter after”.  If it is 8:16 – she will tell you it’s 8:30 and depending on how bad her mood was, sometimes she will shoot right to “It’s nine o’clock” when the clock clearly reads 8:34.  It’s a trait that I’ve found incredibly annoying over the years as I don’t take long to get ready and in a small town 5 minutes can make the difference of getting there on time…so give me the extra 5 minutes of sleep any day!  It’s just an unnecessary stress that has been there my whole life long and I keep praying for it (like many other things) to just stop one day.  I continue to dream that someday, someday my parents will treat me like an adult.

Now, don’t even get me started on the other little parenting fibs I’ve been fed all these years….in some cases literally. Being a ginger, freckles are obviously a part of the territory.  Though today I cherish these little fake-tan miracles, as a kid I abhorred them.  My parents knew that I hated my freckles…my dad also knew that I hated brussel sprouts.  So, you do the math.  Using this information to his advantage would be an understatement, as he told me that with every brussel sprout I ate a freckle would disappear.  They tasted like feet, smelled like farts, and I had to plug my nose…but you better believe I swallowed those disgusting little cabbages down to rid myself of those nasty little speckles.

So, like parents, like the weather, like the unpredictability of my sleep patterns….I guess everything is bound to keep coming and going, perhaps never changing, but only resurfacing.  I keep waiting for the someday to come where my mom doesn’t treat me like a child (except for when I want her to), I don’t need an alarm clock, I’m never over-tired, I’m never unable to sleep, I’m always on time, I always have my laundry put away, and I always immediately do my dishes.  These things haven’t happened yet….I guess turning 30 wasn’t the event into “real” adulthood that I thought it was going to be.  But, as one of my favourite Creedence Clearwater Songs states, “I’m here to tell you now each and every mother’s song, you better learn it fast; you better learn it young, cause Someday Never Comes.”

The Ginga Ninja

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What came first…Chicken or The Egg?

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Lack of sleep and anxiety…anxiety and lack of sleep?  I like to think of this lovely little combo as a cursed chicken and egg scenario…which comes first?

Have you ever noticed the vicious cycle that evolves when you can’t control these fundamentally mood and perspective-changing aspects of life?

If you are stressed, you think too much and lead yourself down that road of anxiety…which in turn leads to sleepless nights, over-thinking, and eventually physical exhaustion.  However, if you aren’t sleeping well, this in turn leads to physical exhaustion and eventually stress.  Go figure.  And lastly, if you catch an ailment, this generally also leads to insomnia and eventually over-thinking.  You can’t fall asleep, can’t feel better, and can’t turn off that darn brain.

So, I guess for those people who have never felt this snowball effect, thank your lucky stars that you are a sound sleeper and a chilled out Zen persona.  For those who perpetually feel this way (my brother, my father, my friends, at times myself)…I feel for ya, I really do.  I guess the key is to take your vitamins, drink your water, go to bed early and hope that when you feel physically your best you stay on top of your crazies.  And when you are stressed, you take care of yourself.

Good luck with the battle, for all those who say “You can sleep when you are dead”… wweeellll, if you can’t sleep…then sometimes you wish you were…

The Ginga Ninja