Chicks From Hell

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

My mind is still blown by what Jean at the sleep center said about inducing fibromyalgia in the sleep-deprived. Mostly, I think of this experience as a rabid mutant chick with a razor-sharp beak and talons for toes: whether cause or effect (chicken or egg), my quality of life just keeps sliding downhill. But cause or effect could make a difference in how I go forward. Are sleep disorders more curable than the ME/CFS/fibro cluster(fuck)? Could there be a third factor somewhere in this mess, the gene that caused my sweet fluffy chick to mutate? Apparently it’s bizarre to dream the way I do. I don’t need horror films; I make my own at night. I visit what feel like alternate universes, becoming not myself but a person with a different set of memories, sometimes several people in the course of one sleep. Why is my head so loud that it keeps some part of me wide awake? Can that part be quieted without sedating me into a stupor the rest of the time?

I have played with sleep hygiene. I’ve been moving my sleep/wake cycle using only an alarm clock, and now I wake up around nine in the morning. This is an improvement, trust me. I used to sleep in pitch darkness, but I kept waking up in a panic, so now I have my comforting string of lights and to hell with the dark. I experience the same intensity of dreams during the day, if not the same length of sleep. I still need, all told, about the same amount of sleep as the time I spend awake, and if I do not give my body room to accomplish this in one go, it will take what it has been denied. Resistance usually results in flulike symptoms–can’t regulate my temperature, skin starts to crawl, I become weak, and it’s like I’m trying to think through molasses.

I’ve slept thirteen hours in the last twenty-four.

The amusing part in all this is that I really couldn’t tell you how this began. I know there was a semester in high school when I started going to bed early and getting up around four-thirty because I wanted my evenings to myself, and all that homework had to get done somehow. I know I lost ten pounds in a week and was never quite the same again. I have been dreaming vividly all my life. How do the pieces fit together?

Nobody has been able to tell me how, yet. Hopefully Friday’s sleep study will provide a few more clues.

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