Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sleep through the recession? Tempting, but ...

I had Friday off, which was unusual. As I prepared for bed Thursday night, I excitedly planned the next day. I'd go to yoga class. I'd visit IKEA. I'd clean my kitchen.

Instead, what I did was sleep. Almost the entire day. I only staggered from bed that night because I was hungry.

Some people clean like crazy when they're stressed. Others compulsively eat. I slide into deep sleep. It's the ultimate avoidance tactic -- you can't think about how bad life is if you're unconscious.

Have you ever slept for, like, 12-13 hours? The more you sleep, the more your body wants to sleep. When you finally get up, it's as if you've been drugged. Your head feels full of cotton and your body aches. There's guilt at having slept the day away, with nothing to show for it at the end. And then there's the ultimate problem: your life is still there, just as stressful as when you went to bed.

I think people who live alone have to be careful not to isolate themselves, especially now. It's so easy to turn your home into a cocoon and never leave it, but that "safety" can foster a sense of hopelessness and contribute to a spiral of depression. I know because I've been there, and I know how easy it is to go there again.

I had that sleepfest on Friday, but I pulled myself out of it on Saturday. By Sunday I was at the movies with a friend. We had dinner after, and a long talk. We discussed the very things I had slept to avoid. I told her about my fears, she shared hers. We plotted plans of attack on problems, instead of wallowing in them. I was still stressed after, but I also felt more empowered.

Avoidance and denial are temptations too hard to resist sometimes. I think the key is to not beat yourself up for giving in. Talk to friends, talk to family. Don't build that cocoon.

4 comments:

Cat said...

Ahh but if you don't have that friend to call the cocoon is even more tempting. It's a blessing to have real friends you feel comfortable enough with to tell your fears to. In the age of blog it, text me instead of call me, or just send me an email. I think you will find people with good solid friends they can talk to is rare.

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to indulge depressed feelings when you live alone. You can "keep up appearances" in public while eating, drinking or sleeping away your woes at home. I think that's why my depression went undiagnosed for so many years. It wasn't until I lived with a significant other that it became unbearable. Kind of hard to make a relationship work when you're unhappy and withdrawn.

Realtor in Toronto said...

Sure sounds like a good idea, I love sleeping. But in these tough times, I have to work even harder to keep going. But sometimes it sure would be nice to just leave it all behind and get those 12-13 hours :) Too bad that when you wake up the problems are still there. If there was a way they disappeared...

Elli

Anonymous said...

wow, this just summed up a lot of my own fears-not just regarding the recession. I'm young and single and live alone-I have always enjoyed being solitary. But when you live alone, I'm learning it's so so easy to fall into a 'depressive routine' and it's so much more difficult to even bother to make plans (for me, anyway) than when I lived with roommates and had built in hang out buddies. I'm definitely struggling through it.