The new adventures

This blog has been neglected for so long, mostly because I didn’t have much to write about.

In January 2008, I was officially diagnosed with a circadian rhythm disorder, specifically delayed-sleep type. My body naturally wants to sleep from about 4am until about 12:30pm, so this didn’t come as a surprise to me, given all the research I’d done before seeing the doctor. He did a physical, took my family history, asked questions about my sleep, my history of depression, etc.

During my appointment, while explaining CRDs to me, the doctor said:

Your body lives here in Philadelphia but your circadian rhythms tell you it’s Los Angeles. Your sleep is normal. This is a disorder only because society says you shouldn’t sleep at your normal time.

When he said those words to me, I felt a wave of relief come all over me. Finally! Someone understands me! This is a real thing! What vindication.

The doctor had several options for treatment, but said the most effective would be sleeping on my body’s schedule and planning my life around that. The surprise came with how easy that was! I explained the diagnosis to my supervisor at work, who talked to his supervisor, who got the proper forms from HR to change my work schedule from 9am to 5pm to a more convenient (for me) noon to 8pm.

(This change was done with the kindness of my company, as part of their “flexible work” policies. It was not done with any ADA compliancy in mind.)

However, I now find myself in a new state with a new amazing job. Sadly, the hours at this office are 10am to 6pm, but I’ve also got a two-hour commute to and from work each day. I’ve been leaving my house shortly after 8am and I often don’t get home until 8pm.

Needless to say, my sleep patterns are all out of whack. Because of my CRD, I am very rarely asleep before midnight, often not falling asleep until 1am. I’m now falling back into the habit of sleeping through my 7:30am alarm each morning. I’m cranky, fatigued, easily distracted, irritable, apathetic, quick to anger, unable to concentrate, and overall generally blue. My body aches, I suffer from almost-daily headaches, I’ve got an eye tic, and I’m having the weirdest food cravings.

So, yeah: all the signs of sleep deprivation.

After going to sleep at 8:30pm last night, but still being unable to get out of bed this morning at 7:30am, I decided I’ve had enough. I started this job with the best feeling in the world, and it’s only taken two months for me to go back to “the old Andrea”. The one I wouldn’t be friends with.

This morning, as soon as I got into the office, I began the task of making an appointment with a sleep specialist. I called Johns Hopkins Sleep Center, who gave me the information I needed to have my previous sleep study records sent over to them. Once the doctors there review my files, I’ll go in for an appointment, armed with my sleep logs and blogs.

In the meantime, I’ll still have to suffer the early morning, the little sleep, and the long commute, but it will be so worth it if someone can help me.

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