Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Help Me ... I Can't Break Out This Prison All Alone

Here’s how it went.

Too many restless nights left me less than refreshed in the morning. In actuality, I was tired all the time.

Sleep study one determines I have severe sleep apnea, having 180 events over six hours. That’s 30+ times an hour I stop breathing. Bad.

Sleep study two determines that my sleep apnea is so severe, they can’t set the pressure on the CPAP properly because just when they nearly have it, I wake up, unable to exhale. Bad.

I get an APAP, which automatically adjusts the air pressure to my breathing. The problem: We all sleep in cycles. Light, medium, deep. The deeper I slept, the worse my apnea became. The APAP cycled up to compensate. But when I cycled back to my light sleep, the machine was still at maximum pressure and I woke up every two hours. Adjusting the machine left me waking up every hour. I came to realize I actually felt worse in the morning with the machine than without it. Still bad.

Now you’re up to date on the events.

Sleep deprivation does funky things to a person. A few choice experiences: lack of focus, shut down imagination, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, exhaustion, nodding off at inopportune times (work, driving), loss of hope of finding a solution, frustration, loss of interest in things that once made me happy, angry more often than I have the right to be.

You know, I wanted to tell you how I feel, dig into my heart and bleed my emotions across the e-screen without sounding whiny or self-pitying, but the truth is all the anger, frustration, self-hate, pessimism, hopelessness and helplessness I was coming to conquer has returned in full force. Debbie Ford calls this side of ourselves, the dark, shadow side of our souls, the Black Wolf. The Black Wolf has no faith and has forsaken God, making itself Lord and Master and I feel small and helpless under its baleful gaze.

Days and nights I remember who I used to be before the exhaustion tore my soul to shreds, leaving me apathetic to life. Yes, I’ve fallen quite far into the pit, a familiar way of living, as it seems to’ve been what I grew up surrounded by. Maybe I’m mistaken and my view back there is tainted by what I think happened. I don’t know.

All I know is, the Unholy Ghost* comes with his Black Dog** and keeps me company day and night and I’m in spiritual pain most of the time. I know there are doors and windows out of this glass prison***, but it seems such a gargantuan effort that I don’t have the energy for. At least for right now.

Gary . . .

*Unholy Ghost, taken from Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, edited by Nell Casey
**Black Dog. William Styron’s name for depression
***Glass Prison is a song that’s part of an epic storyline by Dream Theater that spans a number of the discs, relating to addiction and recovery. Here’s a link to the lyrics: