Pandemic Diary: Of sleep and guilt

I’ve been sleeping a lot the past few months. In bed between nine and 10, out until seven or eight, and crawling out of bed with reluctance—then, on many afternoons, laying back down for a 20 minute nap—how has 90 minutes gone by, impossible! My energy during my waking hours has been decent. Not up to my standard—and honestly, I no longer know what that is. What is it on which I’m basing my expectations? Pre-pandemic? Pre-Flora’s illness? Pre-flood? Pre-children?

I don’t remember. I vaguely suspect that it’s always been a struggle—that I’ve always thought I should be doing more than I am, that I am never satisfied with what I manage to achieve.

I am trying, for the seventeenth or seventieth time in my life, to simply surrender to what is.

And what is right now—I need a lot of sleep.

Maybe it’s catch up—2019 and the first months of 2020 was a time of no sleep, interrupted sleep, bad sleep, waking nightmares.

Maybe body wisdom is a thing, storing sleep against the next bout of depletion.

Maybe it’s body wisdom reacting to nothing more than pure in the moment situation stress, depletion. I mean, people! Doing nothing and staying home? It’s exhausting. Taking the dog for a walk—did I walk too close to you when I passed you on the path?—is exhausting. Why did that woman give me a dirty look? Oh my god, I need to cough and sneeze—it’s allergies—am I going to freak people out? Should I go off path and cough in the bushes? Will someone push me into the river while I’m doing that, or scream a bunch of names at me as they walk by, because, the pandemic is turning people into assholes?


I’m going to have a nap when I get home.

Being with my children is exhausting—exhilarating, because this time is suddenly so precious, but also, different, weird—exhausting. On the nights that they are over, I go to bed, drained, as soon as I take them home—which is no longer my home. On my days with Ender, when I take him back and get to my solo home, I lay down to recharge, to release all the feelings—not all of them good, all of them exhausting.

Being with people is exhausting. There aren’t that many people I’m allowed to be with right now, and most of them are drained, strained, and exhausted, and we irritate rather than feed each other—we feed each other’s dark. I see you, and I need a nap. Or ten hours of sleep.

Well. And so be it. So it is. I think. At least I’m able to sleep, and my sleep is deep and restful. And when I do get out of bed, even on the days I don’t really want to do so, I do most of the things I have to do. That’s got to be enough. Right?

I think one of the reasons I feel guilty about how much I’m sleeping is because most of my friends seem to be suffering from life-inflicted insomnia—and the ones with little kids, of course, hardly ever get enough sleep. Me, I am. And it’s wonderful and delirious, really. I mean, I wish everyday life didn’t drain me as much as it’s draining me right now—but damn. The fact that I can sleep ten hours a night?

That’s sweet.

That’s awesome.

Why am I feeling guilty about that, at all? It’s not as if my abundance of sleep is taking away from your abundance of sleep in any way, is it?

And it’s not like crawling into bed at 9 pm is keeping me from doing anything. Well. I guess I could be writing into the night… but. These days, I need to sleep instead.

It’s 8 am. I was in bed 9:30’ish last night, asleep shortly after 10. Up at 7. I’ve walked the dog, written my morning pages, done a writing spring, and now, this blog post. Drank half a bodum of delicious coffee.

Another writing sprint now, maybe even a third before breakfast and a hike to the Coop to see Ender, check on Flora, walk the dogs. Drive to pick up Cinder from work—that will take me to 2:15 pm, and after that, I’ll probably need a nap. In the afternoon, what? Another writing sprint after the nap. Maybe editing. Make supper for the kids—brace myself for their complex moods and emotions. Try to hold space for all of them, value all of them. Walk them home (not my home) afterwards, heart aching. Walk the dog. Crawl into bed at 9 pm, exhausted.

I think, when the sun comes back, I might want to meet you for an evening walk or drink. Chat, hang out. Right now… I need to sleep.



PS And with all of that—OMG, I miss you and I miss dancing and parties and concerts and all of the things we used to do together. And also, I don’t want to talk to you, at all. All of this can be true all at the same time. It all gets sorted out while I sleep.

4 thoughts on “Pandemic Diary: Of sleep and guilt

  1. Pingback: Pandemic Diary, the Collection from Nothing By the Book | Nothing By The Book

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