Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sleep Deprivation - The Worse Type of Torture?!?

So I haven't blogged for a while but today I feel compelled to!  It's not even about jewellery but about the exhaustion I'm feeling due to the sleep deprivation my two year old is causing.  People who know me know I'm always harping on about my lack of sleep (my five year old only started sleeping through when she started school!) but I wonder how much people who haven't been through this sort of sleep deprivation really understand.  I'm not talking about waking once in the night crying for 10 minutes then going back to sleep, or even a couple of weeks where the kids are up at night, I mean up and down any hour and every hour for the last 5 years!  Our house is as busy throughout the night as it is during the day!  As a result I am just so tired! By that I mean the sort of tiredness which eats away at every muscle, joint and bone of my body, every part of me feels like mush, every movement takes a huge effort. When I look in the mirror I don't see me looking back I see a blotchy skinned, grey, worn out version of who I use to be.   My eyes are no longer big and bright but small grey circled eyes squinting as if trying to tell me they want to close.  Some days are better than worse but today my eyes are definitely saying "close close close".  Today I found myself driving down the wrong side of the road (thinking it was two lanes going the same way) I realised I'm not just a danger to myself but others!!!  That was the second of my car incidences this week, the other involving reversing into another parked car!! ummmm... .time to leave the wheels at home I think!!

When you are in this torturous cycle of no sleep the simplest conversation is hard work, the thought of seeing people is stress in itself, I find it hard to hold a proper conversation and afterwards you find yourself analyzing what you've said, have I said something strange, did I remember to answer their question?!?  You get paranoid about making a fool of yourself by saying something stupid so sometimes you just try not to talk at all.  This makes being a sleep deprived parent a very lonely place where your normal relationships with people, friends and family suffer.  First of all you have limited energy and are far too paranoid to try and hold a conversation so you try to avoid people,  secondly you're generally too tired to leave the house anyway so it feels a safer option to just stay at home with the door shut and phone off the hook and thirdly you don't really feel that people understand you and how the sleepless nights are effecting you so this makes you resentful.  I may sound dramatic but it's true and I think anyone who has suffered with sleep deprivation would agree!  You get people who try to help with suggestions to help our little party goer sleep through the night but believe me we've tried everything and anything!  Black out blinds, routine, less sleep, more sleep, going to bed earlier, going to be later, lullaby's, stories, warm milk, lavender and of course the crying it out technique! Wow crying it out - that was a fun technique!  What you need to understand about my little one is she has stamina and volume, not a great combination when you also have a five year old in the house who needs to go to school the next day.  She won't just cry for an hour, she can go all night!   When we were trying out the cry it out technique I would end up back downstairs doing jobs at ridiculous hours because for anyone who hasn't tried it, lying in bed listening to your little one scream your name makes you feel like you are going against every natural instinct you hold as a mum.  I understood the technique though and would busy myself downstairs so I could try and ignore it!  We've tried this technique several times for a long period of time and she just doesn't get the message!  Friends tell me to toughen up and not faff about but that's easy to say when you don't have your baby screaming every night! And to top it all you reach such a state of tiredness you don't know whether you are coming or going!!  The worse times are when you drag your lifeless bodies into bed ready for the night and as your head hits that pillow you hear the stirrings coming from the next bedroom and you know that you're not even going to get in a few hours before your called for and it all starts again.  It really is torture, especially for me who is well known for loving her bed! Ironic really!

Then the other side of the coin is the guilt, guilty because you are so tired you can't bear to go the park, or get all the paints out for my little one to spend 5 minutes painting and 1 hour for me cleaning up, guilty because you don't have the energy or inclination to sit and play peppa pig, guilty because all you want to do is sit your little one in front of a dvd so you can sit still without talking or moving, guilty because your eldest is always being snapped at, guilty for screaming at your baby in the early hours of the morning like a lunatic, guilty because you and your husband only manage to get a couple of hours together where you sit like zombies too tired to talk!

But what are the options?  Sell her on ebay? Leave her on a friends doorstep with a little sign saying I'm all yours? Let her sleep in the shed?  No of course not, I pick her up, we have a cuddle, we get on with our day (in the hope we can play doctors so I can lie down) and it's all forgotten about, until about 11pm tonight when it will all start again!  After all that's what motherhood is about isn't it, getting on with it, no matter what comes your way!


3 comments:

  1. Hello! I've never commented on your posts before but couldn't just read and run! I have no tips, tricks or magic words but as a mother to an 18 month old toddler (called Heidi!!) I can sympathise x

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    1. Hi, Sorry ive only just seen your comment! Thank you for your comment and sympathy!! Toddlers are super hard work aren't they but I keep trying to make sure I take time to enjoy her too!! Before we know it we will be dealing with teenagers and no doubt be wishing for this time back!! Love the name of your daughter btw, theres not many of us!! x

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  2. I empathise totally - not had nearly as long but after our 3.5yr old not sleeping well (and that was broken sleep but nothing like what you've had) and our 13 mth old who, for various reasons, has never slept very well, I am struggling. No family nearby as support. But one copes...Cope and cope and cope - because as a mum, that's what we just do, isn't it? And then suddenly I'll hit that wall and, well, I don't cope so well. Understatement of the century. All the things I plan to do with my little ones, with our home, work (trying to run baby classes??), relationships with husband, family, friends....they all suffer due to that horrible sick feeling and total apathy from just not getting enough sleep, for such an extended time. Likewise, nothing anyone can do but it is nice hearing someone else voice just how it feels, rather than feeling that everyone else is doing fine and coping so well. It is getting easier in some ways but maybe that's just because I'm so used to feeling like this that it feels normal now?! Sympathising with you x

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