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Sleep – to be functional, and also to enjoy

Posted Feb 01 2013 7:12am

Sleep makes it all better

So, I’m extremely happy to report that I got about 9 hours of sleep last night. Perhaps a little more. I did some reading before I went to sleep, so that might have added on to my awake-time, but who cares – I woke up about 9 hours later, and I am actually feeling human again. This is huge progress. Usually, I push right through — have a bowl of ice cream or some other sugary snack to keep me awake. Or I go channel surfing and indulge my inane side with late-night talk/comedy.

Not last night, though. I ate my dinner, helped my spouse with some web searches, and went off to bed.

This morning I woke up and started reading my book again — it’s a how-to book for my work, with stuff I have been needing to know, and I cannot advance my career until I know it. This is stuff I needed to know four years ago, when I had a different job that was much more technical than what I’m doing now — it’s the stuff I actually was doing… but didn’t understand at all. I fudged my way through that work, and it was pretty painful (and I made a quick exit at my first opportunity)… but now I need to get back into it and really understand it, not just fake it.

Faking it is not an option with me anymore – after doing it for years, I can no longer keep two steps ahead of those who might find me out. So, my only course of action is to study and learn and master the material. It’s not that difficult, actually. I just have had a hell of a time in the past reading and understanding and putting what I was reading into action.

It’s pretty wild, this whole reading and comprehension thing. I struggled with it for years, after my last TBI. I couldn’t read anything for about 5 years — it just didn’t make any sense to me. I would read online articles, that I thought made sense, but I was really just skimming through them, and I had no real comprehension. And that was a tremendous loss. Because reading was always my “thing” — it was an integral part of who I was, and when that went away, part of me went away, as well.

In the past years, I have more actively read — specifically to practice understanding what I read. I can’t take that for granted, anymore. And in fact, as I look around, I realize that an awful lot of people (who may have never had TBIs) also don’t really “get” what they’re reading — they just think they do. But anyway, back to me… I need to really exert some effort in reading with comprehension — reading and understanding what I’m seeing… and also (in the case of this technical training), doing what I am reading about. It’s not a given that it’s going to make total sense to me — I need to exert myself, I need to make an effort. It doesn’t just come easy-breezy to me anymore.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. And it just wears me out. Seriously. I get so tired. I have to pace myself. But I also can’t let up. I need to keep going, but I also need to keep my strength up… or I just don’t enjoy what I’m reading. And if I don’t enjoy it, then it becomes that much harder to do, and the words become that much harder to remember and understand.

Now, when I get good sleep, like I did last night, everything changes. It’s no longer a struggle and a trial. Sure, I still need to keep focused and maintain my level of effort, but it’s not nearly as painful as when I am tired. And when I am rested, I remember why I am doing this — to learn and grow and take more control of my life, and get back to earning the kind of salary that I should be, so I can have the kind of life that my spouse and I should have.

Okay, that being said, it’s time to sign off now and turn my attention to that work again. I got a good 9 hours of sleep last night, and I feel human again. I’m going to use my first good hours of the day building my skills and moving towards the future. And I’m going to enjoy myself.

Rock on.

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