My idea of what constitutes a big day has shifted quite a bit from what it once was. It used to begin at 7am and go on til 3am, with kids and work and classes all in there, and a pile of essays keeping me going on into the night with a half-bottle of wine to keep me company. Now it’s much less impressive – getting up around 9, going out for two or three hours, and then collapsing for the rest of the day, and heading off to bed by 9. A stark difference.
Recovery is different too. Where once a couple of naps during the week would pay back enough of my sleep debt to keep me functioning well, and able to continue with a normal schedule, now things are much more dramatic. Going out for a couple of hours sends me off to bed for a couple of hours’ sleep, and being utterly worn out the next day. It sometimes means that the next day is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, with tears well-distributed. It sometimes takes more than a day to rebalance after going out for a while.
I feel ashamed to be so fragile, for not bouncing back even a fraction as well as I used to a couple of years ago. I feel like the only person on earth to be like this – sadly unable to process the world to the point of ridiculousness. Sometimes I think that if I just tried to do things like I used to, then I would be better.
I know it’s not like that. I’m not the only one like this, and there’s not a lot I can do to make myself better except to keep going and do the best I can with the mental resources I have. I need to accept that I do not have much in the way of mental and emotional reserves, and live on what I do have. It’s hard though. The way is lonely and unmarked.