Question of the day.

   How are you really? 

   My answer: 

   Pretty neutral I’d say. Okay overall. Didn’t get much good sleep as for some odd reason I had really annoying  tinnitus that wouldn’t go away pretty much until morning and it kept waking me up and was really frustrating. This is definitely not something that would be a regular thing for me so I got a bit worried and wondered whether it’s going to stay like this for longer-term, but it’s fully gone now so seems like it must have been just quite random. And I was really cold all night on top of that and couldn’t warm myself even with the hot water bottle, so I’m sure you know what it’s like to sleep when you’re cold meanwhile. But despite little sleep I don’t really feel sleepy or anything so I don’t really have a problem with it. 

   Also I’m still feeling a little bit excited about what my Mum and I did recently. I think I have mentioned to you that my Mum was thinking about possibly buying herself an Apple Watch, because now that she has an iPhone she often gets a bit nervous when she goes running or cycling and when someone calls or texts her, ‘cause she has to take the phone out and she’s worried that one day she’ll drop it and it’ll break, and I guess it must be just a little cumbersome replying to someone while cycling. Plus, she couldn’t find a good enough app for herself on iPhone for tracking kilometres that wouldn’t at the same time ooze with gentle toxicity and try to get her into the rivalling mode, yelling at her to share her «achievements» with friends or to break her records or whatever shit like that, when she just wants to do what she wants and when she wants and simply record the details of her sport activities for herself, she doesn’t do training for the sake of training or losing weight or stuff like that, just ‘cause she likes it. Initially I tried to discourage her from that because I didn’t think that Apple Watch would be much better in that department, it seemed to me, and still does in a way, that perhaps it’s even pushier with that sort of mentality, but Mum said that if it did all the other things well, she can ignore all the bs she doesn’t need like calories. And the more she thought about it the more she liked the idea, saying how Apple Watches look nice and things like that. It took her some time to make up her mind whether it would actually be as useful for her as she thinks, because she’s known for making impulsive decisions on the spur of a moment, and how hers should look, so she would look on Apple Store quite frequently and try to design it for herself so that it would fit her style and be a little different. She changed her mind a lot in the process, sometimes saying she actually doesn’t need it and while it could be fun, it’s not really necessary so why waste the money, and then she would say that actually why not buy something unnecessary for oneself once in a while as she doesn’t do that very often, since she’s on benefits and spends most of her money on Sofi and the only Apple Watch she was considering was the new SE 2 as she couldn’t afford anything more than that anyway. And finally last Saturday she made up her mind and stormed into my room saying that she needs to be delivered from constant thinking about it and make the decision once and for all before her mind changes again. 😀 Problem was that she didn’t have enough money on her card at that very moment so asked me if I could buy her the watch and then she’d give me the money back when she got them. So I gave her my phone so that she could choose the right looking Apple Watch, and as she was choosing everything, suddenly a wild thought popped into my mind, and I was all like: «Y’know what? Let’s make a deal! I’ll buy an Apple Watch for you and you’ll buy an Apple Watch for me, when you get the money». That wasn’t really as impulsive an idea as it may seem, I was already thinking a bit about whether Apple Watch might be useful at all for me in any way when Mum was dealing with her dilemma. Last month, I happened to have learned something about myself, or rather about something being a possibility, which I won’t be sharing just yet on here because I don’t have all the info yet ‘cause I’m still in the process of finding out and so I don’t want to prematurely raise any unnecessary emotions or tension or something, but I promise that if I’ll find out that it’s something more than just a possibility, I’ll update y’all on it. But anyway, finding that out made me think that, actually, perhaps an Apple Watch would be useful for me as well indeed. Maybe not as much as for my Mum, and not in the same way because I’m a semi-hermit so my phone generally doesn’t need to worry about being dropped somewhere outside and even when I go somewhere I very rarely take it with me, but it could still be useful if the possibility turns out to be reality, and even if not, I wanted to give it a try regardless. 

   And my Mum was happy with the deal. In fact, she was probably even happier than me. She’s a real chicken with technology so I think it made her feel better that I’ll have an Apple Watch too so I’ll be able to help her out make sense of it because she assumed that I would learn it faster. I think the thing isn’t about fast learning but about me being more inclined to actually sit and read about it, rather than blindly and chaotically try to do something without knowing anything about how to go about it which is how my Mum handles her devices and then it’s all like: «Hmmm, let’s guess what’s broken in the process”. In this situation, Mum really wanted our Apple Watches to arrive together, which was enough of a motivator that she decided on the spot to go transfer the change that she had to her card and then placed the order for my Apple Watch. Aren’t we just crazy people in this house? We got the same ones except my Mum’s is obviously larger, since I have mini hands, and hers is starlight with a red silicone band, whereas mine is silver with a slate blue braided loop band. 

   Our Apple Watches arrived together indeed on Tuesday. When my Mum went to get them from the delivery guy, she later told me that he said (as if Mum didn’t realise) that one package is addressed to «Some Bib-Bi-Bibiel Bibielz) and couldn’t restrain himself from saying that it sounds like an interesting name. Well thanks, it made my day. Yeah, I am a bit ironical, in case you’re wondering. But also I like when people say the word Bibiel out loud so for once I regret that I wasn’t there to hear it. I use Bibiel Bibielz as my Apple ID name ‘cause you obviously use Apple ID in all kinds of situations and I don’t always want some random peeps to know my full name, and don’t bother changing it just because I order something. Perhaps it’s further evidence of craziness. 😀 

   Anyway, we’re pretty happy with our Apple Watches, except I’m super mad at myself because I told my Mum to get herself an Apple Watch with cellular since it made sense if she’s going to use it when running, but I didn’t even think about checking previously whether our carrier even supports it. It seemed like an obvious thing to me that, since Apple Watches have been around for quite a while, duh they must be supported by carriers, right? Except ours does not support Apple Watch. So yeah, that was a fun discovery to make at the beginning for sure. My Mum claims it doesn’t matter ‘cause she has her phone with herself all the time anyway but I think it still sucks big time. But overall our Apple Watches are cool. I still find it kind of amusing that we both have Apple Watches, I never thought that either of us could be that kind of person lol. My Mum even sleeps with hers, but to me it still feels kind of off and I’m skeptical whether it’s actually comfortable. But I think I’ll try to do that at least once in a while ‘cause I’m curious about the sleep phases stuff. I wish it was possible to use apps like Voice Dream Reader or Audible without headphones on it, then perhaps Apple Watch could become a viable alternative for my PlexTalk at night and then it would be a very solid argument for me to get used to sleeping with it. I still hope that Apple will make my dream come true in the future. 

   How about your real feelings? 🙂 

Jackie Oates – “Dream Angus”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Last night I couldn’t fall asleep till like 3 AM or so, and one of the songs that played on my Spotify was this one. I’ve always really liked it, because I generally really like Jackie Oates’ music – she’s been one of the first English folk singers that I started listening to when introducing myself to English folk and not just Irish and Scottish – and because I love lullabies and anything to do with dreams and folklore, but also because this song and especially its chorus reminds me so much of Emily of New Moon, and specifically her first novel A Seller of Dreams. I can’t think of this song without thinking of Emily and her novel, and I can’t think of Emily and her novel without hearing this tune in my brain. But yesterday, as I couldn’t sleep and heard this song, I thought how I’d really, seriously appreciate it if Angus was actually a thing. As you may know, practically the whole summer was really difficult for me sleep- and anxiety-wise, with loads of crappy sleep paralysis and scary dreams and stuff like that. So I thought how comforting it would be if you could just buy yourself a dream or two or five for the night ahead, so that you’d know in advance what dreams you’d be having and could fall asleep happily and peacefully. 

   I mentioned to you guys recently how my Mum is possibly getting herself an Apple Watch, and recently when WatchOS 9 came out I looked up its features for her as she was curious. I told her that there is some improvement to how you can track your sleep and she was like: “Oh, cool, it’ll be nice to look back at my dreams”. Obviously she was joking, but I thought that wow, I’d like it if one day we’d be able to do that, if Apple Watch had such a feature it would actually convince me to get it as well. 😀 I’m a very vivid dreamer, but sometimes when you have a lovely dream, the only thing you really remember upon waking is some sort of pleasant emotion, and it would have been nice to just open some app and have a look at what it was exactly what you dreamt about and always have it with you. Or if you wake up with heebiejeebies and don’t know what they’re about, you could also look back and see what the scary thing you dreamt of was and if it feels equally scary while you’re awake or perhaps just totally ridiculous and not worth fretting over. And even if they were scary in the waking world as well, I think that in many situations, looking back through your dream while being able to think rationally and clearly and being more in control of it could be a good way to desensitise yourself to it and make it feel less scary anyway, so it could even be a good therapeutic method perhaps. And so last night when I was listening to Dream Angus, I was suddenly all like: “What if one day we could have a virtual version of Angus?” Like, if you’d have a possibility to look back on your dreams, why not be able to buy dreams somehow, through App Store, Google Play or something? 😀 You’d have like a HUGE collections of dreams to choose from or could even design your very own dreams. I wonder though how these dreams would actually end up in our brains, any ideas, anyone? 

   As for Jackie Oates, I’ve already shared one song by her in the past – The Worthy Wood Carol on Christmas Eve one year – but I don’t think I’d introduced her properly then. Jackie is a singer and fiddle player who was born in Congleton in Cheshire, raised in Staffordshire, and now as far as I’m aware lives in Wallingford in Oxfordshire. This song comes from her 2013 album Lullabies, which s probably my favourite album by her. “Dream Angus” is a traditional Scottish tune, based on the myth of Angus or Aengus, Celtic god of love, dreams and poetic inspiration. Angus was son of Dagda and Boan who could shapeshift, and, just like in this song, he gave lovely, calm dreams to people. He is the equivalent of Mabon from Welsh mythology. In this song we can hear Jackie playing the viola, and she is accompanied by Belinda O’Hooley from O’Hooley and Tidow on piano and by a string section from Iceland. 

Jack Vreeswijk – “Man Borde Inte Sova” (One Should Not Sleep).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have for you a Swedish song about star gazing. It was written by Swedish author and poet Levi Rickson who wrote under the pen name of Jeremias i Tröstlösa, and set to a tune composed by Gustav Wennerberg. Many contemporary artists have performed this song but the only version I actually like is Jack Vreeswijk’s. Although I have very little to no idea about stars as I’m blind, I do think that night is a very particular time, and sometimes it really is good not to sleep it through when you can. I find it very interesting how I, but also people in general, somehow seem to think in a bit of a different way at night, and feel a lot more creative, think more deeply and feel sort of more open to everything, like if I read something or listen to music it tends to impact me a lot more, and sometimes I get cool ideas. Below is Bibiel’s translation of this song. Actually, the original was apparently written in närkingska (I don’t know what it’s called in English if anything) which is a dialect used in Närke in Sweden, but there’s also a standard Swedish version and that’s the one that Jack sings. 

  One should not sleep when the night falls
For then the stars shine high in the blue sky
It is so quiet and peaceful
It would be wrong to sleep
I walk my paths over plains and through woods
And the stars they follow me so I have company
They say they are a thousand miles and even more away from us
Yet they burn with a steady glow
Yet they blaze like flames
Like silver and crystals
Now their sparks are falling
And an occasional one keeps flickering when it has burnt out
So when she falls, it’s like a streak of smoke in the end
One can never dream so finely and wonderfully
Like the night itself appears then when stars are shining clearly
It is as if it could be heard
Like a silver game that moves
One should not sleep when the night falls
One should look at the stars, and one should be two

Plu – “Nos Da Nawr” (Goodnight Now).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today, I have a lovely little children’s lullaby for you, from Plu’s album called Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest). As far as I can tell, this lullaby is about what various animals do before bedtime and how they prepare for sleep. 

Question of the day.

   What are some things you do to cope with stress that aren’t really productive, but not really unhealthy either? 

   My answer: 

   I guess one such thing that comes to my mind and that fulfills these criteria is sleep. If I feel really stressed, or depressed, for that matter, or anything shitty like that, and can sleep, I will usually happily jump at the chance to shut my brain down even for a little while. Sleep is one of the best methods of escapism, imo, but it sure isn’t particularly productive. Unless you happen to have a dream that gives you a solution to whatever is stressing you out, or the stress is only a matter of time and when you sleep some time through, you’ll wake up in a better, less stressful world. I’ve heard that too much sleep can be similarly unhealthy as too little sleep (I’m actually really curious why, because with too little sleep it’s obvious, but I’d like to know what exactly goes wrong when you sleep too much and why) but I suppose that compared to various other maladaptive ways in which people, including myself, try to cope with stress, oversleeping is probably relatively harmless. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What is human kind’s greatest invention? 

   My answer: 

   Bed! Every time I think about what a great thing bed is, I’m reminded of the Six Bullerby Children/The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren and how they once got an idea to sleep in a haystack. Then they woke up very early in the morning and were freezing and went back home, had hot milk and buns and went to their own beds, and Lisa – from whose perspective the book is written – said that it must have been someone very wise who invented the bed, because it’s indeed so much better to sleep in a bed than in a haystack. While I never slept in a haystack, I totally agree with her. Sure it can be fun and exciting sleeping somewhere like a haystack or a matress or a sleeping bag or some really weird places where people can sleep, but nowhere is as comfortable as a bed, especially if it’s your own bed. I wonder how those people who invented the bed even knew that it’s going to be the best place to sleep in before it was even a tangible thing and before they could try it out for real? 😀 Anyway, I’m really grateful that someone had such a brilliant idea ages ago, so that now we can sleep as comfortably as we do. And I think double beds are a particularly amazing invention, especially if you can have one all for yourself like I do. 

   Your turn. 🙂 

Song of the day (18th April) – Nadia Birkenstock – “Dors, Dors, Enfant Cheri) (Sleep, Sleep, Dear Child).

   This lovely harp piece arranged and played by Nadia Birkenstock is a lullaby. I love loads of lullabies, and this one is no exception. As far as I know, this one originates from Alsace. 

Nadia Birkenstock – “Dors, Dors, Enfant Cheri”.

 

Llio Rhydderch – “Gorweddwch Eich Hun – Sleep Your Slumber”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I have a lovely Welsh triple harp piece for you from Llio Rhydderch. I think the English translation of the title isn’t meant to be literal, or perhaps it’s not even meant to be a translation of the title but simply a subtitle or something like that, because as far as I know gorwedd in Welsh means to lie, as in to lie down, whereas eich hun means yourself, in a formal way. So I would translate it as something like Lay [Yourself] Down or something similar. But Sleep Your SLumber sounds a lot better, and it gives you an idea about it anyway. 

Question of the day (11th February).

   If you had two more hours every day (a twenty-six-hour day), what would you do with the extra time? 

   My answer: 

   Right now, I’d say sleep. For the last week I’ve been feeling freakishly under-sleeped (lol, is that an actual word or my neologism? Is it even grammatically correct? 😀 Now that I wrote it I feel like it should be “under-slept”, if anything, but “under-slept” sounds like it doesn’t mean exactly what I want, and under-sleeped sounds just aesthetically better, so under-sleeped it is). I don’t know why. I guess I’ve been sleeping a healthy/normal amount of time or more than that, but no matter how much I sleep I still wake up sleepy and actually tired. Once I get up and my brain boots properly (which process normally tends to be long but now it’s been taking ages)  I no longer feel so sleepy, but getting myself to actually wake up and get up in such sleepified state is difficult. And even though once I get going I do not feel particularly sleepy or tired, I’m sure that if I laid down for just about fifteen minutes, I’d be out. Those of you who are regular here probably know that my sleep cycle and amount of sleep my brain needs shifts a lot, but this feels different somehow and I don’t think it’s solely down to my unpredictable circadian rhythm. I don’t know, my Mum’s sick with something again, so maybe I’ve picked it up too but my system is trying to literally sleep it out before I could develop any symptoms or anything? The night before last I didn’t even hear Misha crying to let him out, but thankfully Olek was getting up for work so he did. I normally always hear Misha because I’m so used to it and even when I don’t consciously, I still do, and I let him out while still sleeping. Not that it would be a huge disaster if Misha had to wait a while, but things like that are stressful for him and he’s already a ball of nerves so I’d rather avoid situations like that if I can, and he’s not as direct as most cats that he’ll go on the bed and nudge me or something if I don’t react to his meowing, he’ll just continue to stand by the door and cry, unless there’s a real crisis ahead like pee). So yeah, perhaps having two more hours in the day that I could use for sleep would put me back on the right sleep track. Realistically, we’d probably run into a problem that my circadian rhythm would go even more nuts with twenty-six-hour-long days, but who knows, maybe it would actually suit my internal clock better? 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

What time of day does your energy level start to decrease?

My answer:

It’s actually nothing fixed for me, since my whole circadian rhythm likes to shift around a lot, so it can vary a fair bit, also depending on how I’m doing mentally and all sorts of things. But, very generally, as I think I’m more of a night owl, at least by default, I think I can say that for me it’s more like I tend to start with low energy levels and then they keep increasing. It usually takes my brain some time to get going when I wake up, and I’m also kind of physically sluggish in the mornings as well a lot of the time. It’s not because I tend not to have refreshing sleep though of course this can vary too, I guess my brain is simply the kind that takes its time to boot and I tend to have low blood pressure, and I guess the dysthymia may also have something to do with this. Coffee used to be extremely helpful with this, but now that it’s started to give me really bad anxiety, I can no longer rely on it so I have to use other things that are less effective but eventually my brain will get going on its own, it’ll simply take longer. If I’m peopling a lot during the day then my energy will be draining a lot faster. Currently (that is for about a week) my sleep/wake cycle has been pretty messy and I sleep A LOT, and I can’t even really put my finger on why it’s so because I can’t say I feel tired or sleepy, but once I do fall asleep I just can’t stop sleeping. I purposefully went to sleep very early last night wanting to hopefully wake up reasonably early yet give my brain time to sleep if it needs it so badly, but despite I fell asleep at like 10 PM I woke up after 11 AM! I didn’t even hear my alarm go off earlier in the morning and must have turned it off in my sleep. 😀 The other night I slept through a whopping 15 hours. Sofi managed to come back from school and I was still sleeping! Such things do happen sometimes so it’s absolutely not abnormal in Bibielland, or, in any case, not extraordinary, but I’m not a fan of it unless I’m really depressed and thus really escapist and sleep feels like the only way to live or when I have super cool dreams but lately it’s been meh where dreams are concerned. But at least I do feel rested after this sleep, so it’s not like it’s all wasted time, and things will probably shift in a few days anyway. So the way it is right now I also tend to start with lower energy that increases over time. But sometimes it can just as well be so that I wake up insanely early, say 3 AM even, and feel very energised, and then my energy will start to decrease around early afternoon.

How is it with you? 🙂

Song of the day (20th September) – The Chieftains ft. Maire Brennan – “Lullaby for the Dead”.

Hey people! 🙂

I thought I’d share this beautiful, very sad, Irish lullaby with you. I like a lot of lullabies and I love how Irish Celtic folk music is so full of lullabies. This one is soulfully sung by, probably well-known by now to the readers of this blog, Maire/Moya Brennan from Clannad, Enya’s sister, who is accompanied by the very popular Celtic music band from Dublin – The Chieftains – who were formed in the 60’s during the Celtic music revival in Ireland and often collaborate with other well-known Irish folk musicians.

Question of the day.

What is your favourite word in the English vocabulary?

My answer:

I honestly wouldn’t be able to pick just one, in any language that I like. There are too many words I like and I like them in different ways, so it’s kinda like asking a child who she loves more, mummy or daddy. But I did decide to pick one word, just for the sake of this post.

When talking about favourite words, people often focus on the really sophisticated, long ones, or the particularly weird or funny slang words that they like, or some swear words that they find particularly useful, expressive and/or versatile. But people rarely talk about the really mundane, common words that are used on a daily basis. Perhaps they’re less thought about because they’re so rare, or perhaps no one likes them? So I decided to talk about one really mundane, simple English word that I LOVE very much, and perhaps part of why I love it so much is this simplicity. This word is sleep. No language out of those I know has a better word for the thing! The word sleep just says it all and encompasses everything about what sleep is. And it sounds so insanely cute. I like saying it. It’s so calm, peaceful and fluffy, like a sleeping baby, better even, like a sleeping kitten. In a tactile way, it feels really nice too. It’s also round and… not quite fluffy, because it’s made of something hard, metal I think, but it’s small and cute. And gustatorily it tastes like walnuts. The Polish word for sleep – sen –
feels insanely bland and flat in comparison. Plus at the same time it also means dream, not like a daydream but specifically the dream you get while you’re asleep, so it’s also not very logical because they’re too different things even if they occur together. If I’m Polish and it’s illogical to me, I guess it must be all the more illogical for non-native speakers. 😀 So mostly when I see the word sen without any context, I think dream, not sleep. It’s also cheesy, because synaesthetically it feels and tastes like cheese, perhaps because cheese is ser so it’s just one letter’s difference. And it’s not even good quality cheese in this case, it tastes kind of artificial. The Polish verb for to sleep is spać, and it’s also very boring, even more so actually, but I’m a big fan of some of its conjugations. Like the imperative form of this verb is śpij (SHPEEY) and that sounds so much better. Or you can ask someone “Śpisz?” (SHPEESh) (Are you asleep?). I wish the infinitive form was śpić, not spać, it would sound more like what it actually means. The Swedish sömn is way too heavy for a healthy kind of sleep, like you’re sleeping on particularly strong sleeping pills or something, or like you’re drunk and when you finally wake up, whenever that might be, you’ll be mightily hungover. Much like I always end up on Hydroxyzine. 😀 And the Welsh cwsg (COOSK) is really nice but too light in turn and just not enough personality (which is rare with Welsh words but here it’s just how it is), so like sleeping with no dreams and waking up at every smallest rustle. Sleep is just right. It’s the kind of healthy, peaceful sleep from which you wake up rested, happy and refreshed, and looking forward to when you can go to sleep again, but not because you’re sleepy or have nothing better to do, it’s just a nice state to be in.

What’s yours? 🙂

Question of the day.

What was the greatest pleasure you ever felt?

My answer:

It’s really hard to pick just one thing, since there were several experiences in my life that I felt great pleasure from, and now after some time has passed it’s difficult to say which one was actually the strongest. But I often have a whole lot of pleasure from hearing “my” languages. Sometimes it’s to the point where it goes beyond just being aesthetically pleasing or even synaesthetically pleasing and I feel it like on a physical level, especially right before I fall asleep or when I wake up but haven’t yet woken up fully, and when I hadn’t heard the language in question in a long time and the speaker has an interesting accent or uses some word that I like the sound of and that is new to me or something like that, it’s absolute bliss when it happens. The same thing can sometimes happen to me when listening to music when something really really really really really resonates with me on, like, a sensory level, I don’t know how to put it. Just like there is music which can give me sensory heebiejeebies, so there can be music which works in the opposite way, except the latter phenomenon is sadly less frequent. It’s kinda like frisson except more intense because I get frisson a lot and it’s not quite the same.

Another thing that stands out to me is the intense relief I felt after my final exams were over. I guess it was only then that I fully realised how much of a strain on my brain the whole year has been, especially with all the preparations for the math part. At that point I didn’t have the results yet, except for oral exams and I got 100% from both oral Polish and oral English (with oral Polish it was mostly just a stroke of luck that I got the best question I possibly could), and while from the beginning I knew that it’s entirely possible that I won’t pass the math (and I didn’t, as you may know) for the time being between passing all the exams and getting the results I decided not to think about it at all. And I can still quite clearly remember the feeling I got after all the exams were over and when I came back home (I wasn’t taking them in my actual school but a special school for the blind a few hours’ drive away, but a different one to the one I used to attend earlier, which from perspective I can say wasn’t a good idea because it only ended up being way more stressful and didn’t give me any benefit over taking them in my actual, local mainstream school). I came into my room and it was like I got hit by a wave of euphoria and relief and like my brain was flying, it felt so good not having anything to do with the screwed education system anymore haha, and not having to deal with all the math stuff or travelling to that fricken school anymore. It was like all the stress I’d been feeling for the past year suddenly left me all at once.

Also when I have some real cool dreams, the first seconds after waking up feel priceless. It feels a bit sad because you know the dream is over, but you’re still stuck in the dream with one foot and you can still experience the great feel of it while being almost awake, I just totally love it.

What was such a thing for you? 🙂

Question of the day.

How are you feeling?

My answer:

Very decent really. I got some good sleep, which is much appreciated because lately my brain thinks that when I’m going to sleep, it’s the best time for doing some deep, intense thinking, and then of course it’s difficult to fall asleep. The good thing is that I’m not having a particularly stressful time right now so there’s nothing stressful or scary to ruminate about, so I mostly think about neutral or really nice things, but still, when you’re trying to sleep and are actually tired, such very intense, all-consuming thinking sessions can get slightly exhausting. 😀 But yeah, like I said today I got real good sleep, and am having quite a lot of energy and generally feeling fairly positive about things. I’m gonna do some Welsh learning in a while so that’ll probably further boost my mood. I was slightly headachey in the morning so thought I’m going to end up with a migraine or something, but it went away completely.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?

My answer:

Usually it’s Misha, at least when he happens to sleep with me. I always close the door for the night so that if I’m up when everyone else is asleep I don’t wake up anyone, and if I’m still asleep when people are waking up, they don’t wake me up. Plus it just seems very privacy-invading sleeping with your door open. So whether Misha is or isn’t here, I always close it, which means that when he wants to go out in the morning, I must let him out. People are often surprised how I find that tolerable to hear a moaning cat first thing in the morning and have to get up even when I’m the sleepiest just to let him out, and that it’s like having a baby. I don’t really care, it’s nice to see Misha first thing in the morning and cuddle him for a while, and because I’m so used to doing it by now, sometimes I guess I do it without even waking up. 😀 Also if I need it, I can go back to sleep right away. Typically Misha will be back at my door for his morning nap, waiting to be let in, and then he’ll also need a snack.

If Misha’s not in the mood for sleeping with me, I simply rely on things I like that I have to do every day. Like my language learning or blogging or replying to my penfriends etc. It usually works to get me out of bed. Another motivator which works really well is that it’s not really something my brain likes to keep laying in bed for too long without actually sleeping, because then at some point before I even realise it, even if I had the best night’s sleep, I’ll start feeling extremely and quite unusually sleepy again, or more like tired, in a way that is really difficult to overcome, while at the same time the still awake part of me is getting all panicky out of the blue, in a totally primal, irrational way, and then if I won’t manage to get out of this state I end up having sleep paralysis within minutes. And then it’s all the more difficult to get out of bed, when I’m finally out of it, because it makes me really exhausted, floaty and foggy-brained, plus my anxiety’s usually through the roof at the same time. I don’t even have to lay in bed awake for very long, sometimes all it takes is being awake for a bit longer between sleeps, like when you wake up at night and then it takes you a while to go back to sleep. So I guess ideally if I wake up at night and am not asleep again within like 15 minutes I should get up, even if I’m still feeling like I could use more sleep.

I feel really grateful that even though my dysthymia plus circadian rhythm issues regularly make getting out of bed difficult, it doesn’t often happen to me that I’d be so depressed or out of energy that I totally can’t do it for hours or at all. I guess what also motivates me in a way to get going is that people around me, while mostly supportive, don’t really get the nuances of what it feels like when you have depression or stuff like that, and it’s difficult for people to make the connection between being depressed and having no energy, so I feel like I should get out of bed simply because otherwise people will think I’m lazy or something. One of the signs by which I can tell that I’m properly out of brainergy is that I don’t care about such details as whether people will think I’m lazy or not. I think it’s helpful to always have some sort of an idea, maybe not a whole fully-fledged plan but a reasonably clear idea, of what you’re going to be doing the next day, and especially regarding things that you generally like doing. Since I have dysthymia and not major depression, I’m not normally anhedonic (unable to feel pleasure out of doing normally pleasurable things), which makes finding things I like doing easy.

You? 🙂

Sian James – “Cysga Di Fy Mhlentyn Tlws” (Sleep My Pretty Child).

Hey people! 🙂

Since it’s already early evening here, I thought I’d share a lullaby with you, and I picked this beautiful Welsh one performed by Celtic harpist and singer Sian James, whose music I’ve already shared on my blog before. Here is the lyrics translation that I’ve found:

 

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The door is closed, and safely locked,

Lullaby, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

All the birds are sleeping too,

Lullaby, my little one,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The wooden horse is by your side,

Lullaby, oh darling mine,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

Today, I…

Recently, I came across this simple, mini prompt in the PaperBlanks app, and so I thought I’d share with you what I am doing, thinking, feeling etc. today.

Today I… feel really tired and sluggish. My sleep has been fairly weird lately, lately meaning a couple weeks, I think. It’s like as soon as it’s night time, my brain suddenly gets a kick of energy and I just can’t settle myself down for sleep, whatever I do. I had a proper zombie day on Friday, having not slept for the whole night, then the next night I crashed as is usually the case with me after a zombie night and so got a lot of good sleep, but my sleep system didn’t reset, for some reason, as it normally does after a zombie day. Today it was back to where it was. Well, except that I actually did feel rather tired and in need of sleep this time around, but was at the same time kind of wired or something and it just wasn’t happening. Since I had to get up at 8 AM, I’ve only got like 3 hours of sleep and my brain’s not impressed. I generally don’t like taking my anti-anxiety medication for sleep even though it does work, but if this keeps up I’ll just have to resort to it for a while, I guess. Since I guess Jack the Ripper is about to visit any time, PMS coupled with little sleep means I’m having a rather shitty day mood-wise.

Today, I am finishing a sort of prayer challenge or whatever it could be called, that I’ve set myself. I promised God and myself that I’ll be praying for three weeks in July, until this Sunday, for someone that I sort of know and am rather concerned about, even though I don’t know him very well. He seems to be dealing with a lot of yucky stuff, multiple addictions being one of those things, and many years ago I’ve decided that I am always going to pay particular attention and have special dedication in my spiritual life to those people that I know or have come in contact with, with whom it seems unlikely that anyone prays for them, or at least not consistently and seriously, despite it seems that they might need it particularly much. I’ve learnt it well in my life that God loves creating what we’d usually call coincidences, and so this time, when I got into it I learned that July is actually considered a month of prayer for people who struggle with addictions. At the same time, addiction is a sort of… hmm, hot topic in my family currently, and my Mum is also praying for someone who has this problem who is our family member, so I felt a bit stronger having company and support like that, especially that my Mum really has been my best spiritual director and always has the strange talent to say or point me towards something that is exactly what my soul seems to need at a specific time. This whole challenge thing has been rather difficult, with a lot of ups and downs, and I wasn’t even sure if I was seriously going to stick to it, I mean, I really wanted to, but some part of me didn’t think I could manage with all that praying, IFing etc. for long. I also often had thoughts that I don’t believe strongly enough in that God could actually do for me what I was asking Him for, because from a human perspective, a dramatic change for the better in this person’s life doesn’t seem very likely and is even hard to imagine. But I tried my best to believe as strongly as I could, and even though I always experience a lot of hurdles with praying, in that I find it difficult to actually concentrate on it properly, I have a feeling that, while I don’t know if I could have put more effort into it, I’ve put a lot more of it than I thought I even could. I am so hopeful for some better, fuller, more valuable life for this person, whatever God considers that to mean in practice for this guy. Pretty much exactly at the time when I took up this little challenge, I also learned about a 30 day Gospel challenge that is a thing now on Hallow (a Catholic prayer/meditation app that I sometimes use). The goal is to read 2-3 chapters of a Gospel every day, so that we’ll be finished with all four Gospels in 30 days. And while I thought it wasn’t for me at first, because I’d never be able to stick to it, and because I’ve always been somehow apprehensive of reading the Bible in English mostly because then I tend to focus on the language more, haha, eventually I figured that the timing of this is very telling, and that I probably should take this up too. I have previously read all four Gospels chapter by chapter several times, as well as the whole Bible, but I initially thought it would be challenging to stick to it every single day and finish exactly in thirty days. But so far it’s going extremely well and I’m actually very surprised! It’s day 14 and I’ve never missed a day. The linguophile in me also manages to keep reasonably quiet, and I feel like I’m more actually engaged into it than I was all those times before, when, despite being Christian, I’d always read the Bible more like I would any other great work of literature, more intellectually than anything else. It is rather difficult for me to just sit down and listen to the Gospel for 20 minutes without doing much else in the meantime, I usually do several things at once and it feels more natural, but at the same time it feels weird to be listening to the Bible while doing something else very trivial in the meantime and give God only part of my attention. So this has been an interesting time in this respect and I’d never have expected it.

Today, I am a little anxious about living practically on my own for the next two weeks. You might recall that in one of my recent posts I was saying that I’m going for a trip into the mountains with my family on Friday/Saturday. The Friday/Saturday eventually was postponed until this coming Tuesday, because my Dad’s leave was postponed until then. Then Sofi decided that she’d like to take our cousin along, as she thought she’d be rather bored otherwise. As I’ve said, I’ve been feeling a bit off recently, very crampy and with rather little energy, and am pretty sure Jack the Ripper’s coming any time, and I started to feel kind of doubtful whether going for that trip is a good idea in my current hormonal and brainstate. So, as our camper isn’t very huge, I thought that was a good enough reason not to go, ’cause our cousin could go in my place. And so that’s what going to happen. Olek is also going to stay, as he always does, since he has work and stuff to do, but he’s out most of the day, so it’ll be mostly me and Mishmish. Which is fabulous, but, like I said, I’m a bit worried. I’ve never really lived on my own for this long, and, while Olek will be here in the evenings and he’ll also bring dinners for us both, so that at least I won’t have to deal with any delivery people or anything like that every day, I’m kind of scared, like, what if something goes wrong? I don’t even know what… anything could go wrong. From Misha choking, to Olek forgetting to clean his litter box, to me letting him slip out accidentally, or having some sort of an accident and doing something to myself, like in the kitchen or whatever, as usually if I do something in the kitchen Mum supervises me more or less, to needing an “eye” to help me with something asap, to having a bad sensory anxiety flare in which case I really don’t cope well with being totally alone. My sensory anxiety has actually been pretty bad this week, and it’s the sort of thing that is extremely easy to set off or exacerbated by thinking about it, more than any other anxiety that I have, so in a way that feels kind of unavoidable, especially if we consider my shitty sleep lately. Still, an equally big part of me is really looking forward to this, and, if things go reasonably well, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for Misha and me to be pretty much only by ourselves for so long.

Today I am very glad that Misha has been with me all day so far, and not hiding under the bed or anything like that, but properly laying in his own bed, and he’s very cuddly. I hope this state of things won’t change soon and he’ll be like that once my family leaves for the trip.

What has been your day today like? 🙂

Question of the day (21st April).

What do you wear when you go to bed?

My answer:

Usually some PJ’s, and a light bra or bralette or something like that. Sometimes, after I shower but before I go to bed, especially in colder months, or sometimes when I’m already in bed but before I go to sleep, or on days when I don’t feel like putting anything more presentable on myself, I wear my overalls which I got from Mum on Christmas two years ago. They’re partially hand-made by her so that’s one reason why I really love them, and there is a cat on them and they’re very warm and fluffy.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Are you an early riser?

My answer:

Yes and no. I think I wrote about my crazy weird sleep a lot on here. I don’t like the morning lark/night owl classification of people, well I don’t mind it in general but it just doesn’t really work for me personally because I could say I’m sort of both and neither. 😀 And I’m sure I’m not alone with this. So in this post, I’ll go beyond just answering the question and try to explain in more detail why this labelling doesn’t work for me and what’s the deal with my sleep exactly, especially for those who don’t know me outside of the blog.

Basically, if you don’t know about it yet, I’ve been totally blind since birth, and totally also includes no light perception, so, quite naturally, my brain has always been more or less confused what time of day, or night, it is, so instead it decides on its own. There were times in my life when I was quite frustrated about this but generally I’m used to it and it’s just how it is.

Whenever my Mum talks about what my siblings and me were as babies and toddlers, she always says that she had no big problems with me in terms of behaviour then, except for sleep, and she learned quickly that mid-day naps were not for me ’cause then I’d be full of beans for most of the night, and that would of course affect my parents as well. I now know that there is something called non-24-hour sleep/wake disorder, which is a circadian rhythm disorder affecting mostly totally blind people, but I only learned about it as an adult and I’ve never found any resources about it in Polish so I don’t think anyone in my surroundings as a child even had an idea about it existing, plus even though a lot of problems that people experience with it sound familiar to me, I’m not sure that that is exactly what is the problem with my sleep, because it’s a bit different for me. I’d say it’s kind of more irregular, but at the same time I guess I seem to struggle with the whole thing less than most people with the condition and it’s easier to manage by things like avoiding naps, while many people who actually have non-24 diagnosed or are very sure of having it don’t seem to be able to resist the urge of napping as easily as I can, and no, I’m not particularly self-disciplined at all, although I do hate naps because they turn my clock upside down, but there are times when you just can’t fight it. I guess in my case, it must be quite a mixture of things causing the circadian rhythm situation that I’m in. I was born with hypopituitarism, and of course pituitary regulates a lot of things, and according to my Mum it’s circadian rhythm as well. I was taking growth hormone injections as a child as I had a deficiency of it and I remember reading somewhere that this hormone plays some kind of a role in regulating the circadian rhythm. And then of course there’s all the mental health stuff on top of it and it definitely has a strong impact on one’s sleep.

At this particular point in my life though, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t really matter whatever the name of my sleep problem is, because I can adjust my life to my brain’s whims if need be, having a very flexible schedule and being in charge of my own time for the most part, not having to work at strictly set times or anything like that, which is a great luxury after having had lived a very structured life earlier at the boarding school, where I felt quite sleep deprived a lot of the time, not just because of the schedule but also because I would often stay awake at night willfully when I could, to be able to do something more than the usual school stuff, like write the Jack Hamilton novel, journal, listen to music or just plain be with myself and my own thoughts, which I felt was essential to my mental wellbeing and for which I didn’t have a lot of space during the day but which also made me a zombie the next morning. I don’t think that, even if I had a diagnosis and a label for it, someone would actually be able to offer me a lot more help. I have an impression that accepting it as something that is a part of me (which of course wouldn’t be as easy if my life right now looked differently) and not fighting this all the time has actually improved my sleep situation over the last five years.

Usually what people say to me when I tell them more about my sleep problem, regardless whether they’re just casual people or some professionals, is that I should try melatonin. Since it’s such an obvious thing to try, I did and a few times. It would always make me feel drowsy during the day even at low doses, and, very bizarrely, I had the weirdest, scariest nightmares on it. Even more bizarrely, I’ve heard I’m not the only one in the blind community who had this experience, even though I also know a bunch of blind people who take it with no problem and it really makes a change for them.

I’d say the way my circadian rhythm works right now is that, most of the time I have a bit of a compromise with my brain, where both of us are having our requirements that need to be met but also try to be flexible as much as possible in regards to one another. I guess people with classic non-24 can’t afford that on a regular basis as their brain are less inclined to make a compromise.

I sometimes say that my brain is in something like a constant mild jet lag, travelling between different time zones. The times when I’m asleep or awake, or at least sleepy and alert, shift in a bit of a cycle. I still haven’t fully figured out how exactly it works, what kind of rules are there at play or maybe how many hours it typically shifts per what amount of time, because time involves too much math for me. And there must be many factors at play which can influence the way this cycle evolves, but there definitely is some sort of a pattern, even if it’s a subtle or a complex one perhaps. I’ve had my iPhone for over half a year now and I’ve been logging my sleep since then, but that hasn’t really given me much more of an idea so far either.

I’d say that one specific trend in my circadian rhythm will usually remain more or less of a thing for about a week, but it also depends on my lifestyle and loads of other things. So my brain may think one week that it’s really cool to wake up at 7:30 AM and go to sleep by 12 AM, which is okay with me too and this is always the sleep schedule I’m trying to aim for, because even if it doesn’t work out, I think it’s better when you have some sort of a reference of when you should/want to sleep and be awake. And then, gradually, I may be waking up later and later and falling asleep later and later, until at some point I won’t be feeling sleepy at night at all and will end up having a zombie day, which is, as you probably know already, what I call a day after a sleepless night. I typically have one zombie day a month, more if I’m stressed or something weird is going on. Zombie days are obviously quite horrid, I don’t think I have to convince anyone as I guess most people have enough first-hand experience of that, but I’m quite used to that and they seriously can have their upsides sometimes. The biggest upside to a zombie day, however, is that it resets my brain clock. It hardly ever happens that I’d have more than one zombie day in a row unless I’m having a lot of anxiety or something else is seriously off. Usually, after a zombie day, I’ll have a fabulous night of restful sleep and, if I go to sleep early enough – that is I think something between 7-9 PM –
chances are high that I’ll wake up feeling very refreshed in the morning and wake up at a decent time similar to when most human beings in my time zone wake up. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to fall asleep just as smoothly and decently, but a reset has happened, so I have a chance to try and do everything I can to continue a normal or near-normal sleep-wake cycle for as long as possible.

It doesn’t have to always look this way though, because I can just as well wake up early and go to sleep early, or wake up late and go to sleep early, any combination is possible. What particularly seems to disagree in my case with what I know about non-24 is that for me the amount of time I spend awake or asleep also shifts over time, whereas, at least from what I know, for non-24 folks it’s only the times. It can also change whether the amount of sleep I’m getting feels enough for me, for example I may be sleeping like four hours and wake up refreshed and bursting with creativity, or another time I may be sleeping just as much and feel like I could use some sleep. That’s also been the case lately, since about last Thursday, as I keep finding it difficult to fall asleep at night and usually do about 1 AM, and then wake up about 4-6 AM and would love to sleep more but it just doesn’t work. I still prefer that than over-sleeping which usually makes me feel awful even when it’s actually what I need and is refreshing.

So because of all that, as you can see, I can’t really say whether I am an early riser or not, it really depends. Like I said though, I do try to stick to some kind of sleep-wake routine, by having an alarm set to 7:30 every day and falling asleep by midnight. I do think 7:30 is pretty early. That does help with having a bit of a reference for my brain to what’s relatively normal, or getting back on track faster when things get messed up. I don’t know if that makes me more of an early riser, because even though that’s what I aim for and I manage to succeed sometimes more often and sometimes less, I don’t push myself for all means to get up at 7:30. If I wake up at that time and my brain says “No way, I want to sleep at least three hours more!” that’s what we’re doing, as long as there is nothing I have to do urgently in the morning and nowhere to go. Same about going to sleep. If it’s 11 Pm and my brain clearly doesn’t want to go to sleep, I’m not going to force it unless I really have to do something important the next day in the morning, but even so, I probably won’t be able to fall asleep anyway and will only get stressed about it more when lying in bed than if I were doing something more productive instead until I’ll feel sleepy. And feeling stressed makes me only less likely to fall asleep. I also won’t typically lay in bed if I wake up at 3 AM until my alarm goes off, unless I truly feel I may fall asleep again soon. If I don’t fall back asleep in about 15 minutes, and don’t feel any more sleepy than I did when I woke up, I’ll usually get up, unless I really have no idea what I could be doing this early and don’t feel like getting up. Usually I regret it though, because if I stay awake in bed for too long after having slept earlier, at some point I’ll often start feeling groggy and then drift off straight into sleep paralysis. It’s not the case every single time though, which is why I sometimes fall into this trap, thinking that maybe this time it won’t happen and not wanting to get up at such an insanely early hour, and then it starts happening so quickly that I can rarely pull out of it. Sleep paralysis is one sleep-related thing that I do find very difficult to live with.

I normally try to restrain my brain from sleeping after noon as that hardly ends well and is rarely actually properly restorative, but sometimes is very difficult if not impossible to resist if I had a bad night’s sleep. And like I said I really hate naps and avoid them at all costs. Sometimes when my sleep cycle is really messed up and it bugs me, and I can afford having a super low key, lazy day of doing nothing and possibly being a mental mess, I’ll go as far as to force a zombie day to reset my brain clock. I’ll get as much sleep as possible one night and day, and then won’t go to bed at all the next night. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I have to give up and go to bed early in the morning and sleep through most of the day, other times I just have to have a nap and then end up right where I started off. These days, ever since I’ve started having more frequent migraines, I don’t really do that because it’s a sure thing to give me a migraine, and migraines always make me sleep more so it just no longer works and is generally rather unpleasant and radical.

Other than that, my anti-anxiety medication also works for sleep and it really helps me immensely in crisis situations, but I try to only take it when I absolutely have to, plus I often only know that I’m going to have trouble sleeping when it’s already night, and no point taking anything for sleep at night as that will surely make me properly hungover tomorrow and I hate the feeling with a passion.

And of course I also have a lot of other ways of dealing with all the sleep stuff, which a lot of people typically use when they struggle with it. I have my sleep habits like how many pillows I sleep with, the fact that I listen to music quietly while sleeping or read before falling asleep, etc. and cultivating such habits helps me fall asleep and create a sort of sleepy atmosphere. I love to listen to Misha purring before sleep, even though he never purrs loud. I like having a hot bath before sleep when I can, or a mug of cocoa or something else that would make me feel cosy in a sleepy way. Or I like to imagine something calm and friendly before going to sleep. That doesn’t always work, because I’m a professional ruminator, but when I can focus on all things Bibiel-friendly, the results are often very good.

Okay, now over to you. 🙂

Question of the day.

If you could take a pill every day that perfectly replicated a good night’s sleep – made you feel physically refreshed and chemically balanced, like a real sleep – would you take it every day? What would you do with all that newly acquired time?

My answer:

I probably wouldn’t want to take it every day, because I love my sleep and dreaming and all that, but, if that was an option to do so, I’d probably take it once in a while. Sometimes I could use a longer day, to be able to squeeze more things in. Not because I’m that busy on a typical day, I just have a lot of ideas and things that I’m into, while at the same time being quite disorganised in general so having more time for things would sometimes be helpful. Also sometimes I don’t like sleep, like when I have a lot of yucky dreams or sleep paralysis or something, then I have a sort of mild fear of sleep until things go back to more normal. I could use such a sleep pill in such situations and just not have to bother with sleeping. Other times, sleep is just not refreshing or chemically balancing, so I’d take the pill after waking up to be more functional. Or when I’m a zombie and haven’t slept at all the night before. Or if I just wouldn’t feel like sleeping, wouldn’t be sleepy at all. That would be a fabulous invention if we had such a pill. Only I’m fairly sure that since it would have such a major effect on one’s overall state and affect the brain, which is still quite an unknown territory for us, it would probably come with its fair share of side effects and possibly addiction or some sleep dysregulation. Wouldn’t be surprised at all.

How about you? And what do you think about this idea? Would such a pill work out, if it was a real possibility? 🙂