Going down with my wings on fire

Suck it up, buttercup. I knew that getting a full-time job would mean that I’d occasionally have days where I dealt with insomnia and would still have to drag my ass into work anyway.

What I didn’t realize is that it would happen in the first week or that being sleep-deprived would be much worse than just “feeling yucky.” Instead, I’m not sure I’m even functional. I probably wasn’t safe to drive to work. I run the risk of being grumpy to my coworkers or making my multiple sclerosis visible at work (which I’m trying really hard to suppress.)

When I get tired, I start running into walls and losing my balance and slurring my words. So far today I’ve already spilled coffee on myself twice because I couldn’t hold it steady while walking.

I really don’t want anyone at work to know yet, but if they pay any attention they’ll notice soon enough.

It was a well-intentioned gesture that my husband had a latte for me when I got home at 6 pm yesterday. But that also meant I couldn’t sleep and it messed up my sleep all night. I lay awake thinking about all the things I have to do in the next couple weeks and how worried I am about the potential impact those things will have on my health.

I was trying to stay awake instead of napping last night so I could get to bed earlier, but between the caffeine and lack of household organization, I still didn’t get to bed any earlier anyway. Sometimes it seems like I’m having to fit my new schedule into our old routines and it’s just not working.

The hardest part of my adjustment to working is that I have to make trade-offs that I don’t want to make. I love my job. Love it. Being outside the home on a regular schedule around other people I can interact and collaborate with is amazing for me. My coworkers are a fun and sassy bunch and we trade salty quips all day long. It’s really enjoyable.

But — and of course there’s a “but” — it’s really hard to adjust to my new sleep schedule. I am very much NOT naturally adapted to first shift; I never have been. Even in high school, I had a lot of trouble with the early wakings. The difference then was that my body compensated better for the poor sleep. Now it’s really hard on my body and brain and the lack of sleep makes my MS symptoms go into overdrive.

Maybe I’ll adapt after some point. But right now I feel like my life is just work and sleep during the week. I went from having 2-3 hours a day to talk to my husband to less than an hour. I don’t feel safe or alert enough to go anywhere in the evenings after getting up at 6 and working all day. My free time is now almost non-existent. I’d like to work out again in the evenings but I’m definitely not capable of it right now.

I’m really worried about both my upcoming concert to attend and the friend’s wedding in a faraway location. I don’t know if I will even be safe to attend either one. I could let my husband drive, which would make me safer on the road, but I don’t know how long it will take my body to recover after the fact of having attended. Or if the two events in relatively short succession will trigger a full-blown relapse that will put me back in the hospital.

I just want to be able to have fun in addition to working. I want to have a work-life balance. And so far there’s no balance at all because work is so much harder on me than I expected. It feels like I had to choose work over fun.

My peer in the exact same position said her first two months on the job felt like she had been hit by a truck. The good news is that she came out on the other side. The bad news is that I could be in for a rough couple months.

I think I’m going to have to start going to bed before my husband does, which I have never done and absolutely hate the idea of doing. Or we might have to get separate bedrooms, because I’ll wake up if he comes in after me and won’t sleep well anyway. And separate bedrooms wouldn’t help the general feeling of disconnection we’ve had since I started working.

Maybe I’m just really tired and disoriented from only getting three hours of sleep. But so far the adjustment is pretty tough. I’m hoping it will get easier over time, but so far this is much harder than my adjustment the last time I worked FT outside the home. Back then I didn’t need as much sleep and I could go out and do stuff in the evenings.

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