Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sarah's Insomnia Update

So it's 5:16am on a Saturday morning, and I'm up. No, I wasn't up all night partying, nor am I waking early for an exciting flight somewhere. I have insomnia. And it SUCKS.

Last night (it feels weird saying that when a night's sleep doesn't separate the "last") Eric & I went out with his friend and former co-worker to La Mela, a fun Italian restaurant in Little Italy. You just kind of sit down and they bring out course after course. Eric has been bugging me to try this place for awhile so it was fun to go! For appetizers they have roasted red reppers, asparagus, mushrooms, the typical antipasti, which is followed by a pasta course (my favorite). I was full by then, but Eric insisted on ordering the third course, so I had a couple bites of veal and chicken and and shrimp. I rallied by dessert and was definitely able to fit room for ice cream, ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu. Did I mention the three of us finished a double bottle of white wine?

While it was a fun experience, I wasn't that impressed with the quality of the food. The mozzarella slices in the caprese salad (the other appetizer) were seriously like an inch thick, but didn't have much flavor...we BUY better mozzarella ourselves, and we get juicy tomatoes, not ones that are pale--the tomatoes would have been acceptable in the winter, not the summer.

But so anyway it was a lovely dinner with good conversation and atmosphere--that was the best part. We didn't look at a menu, and Eric knows I get stressed about money, so he wouldn't let me look at the check..but I was just looking at Yelp reviews of the place and they all say that the 20% tip is INCLUDED in the price...but Eric and his friend were both talking about how much to tip...our portion of the bill was around $100 (of course I sneaked a peek!) so if he tipped on that we're basically out $20. I AM SO PISSED. This is why I need to look at bills!!! Mistakes like this KILL me. I went over and woke up Eric in the other room when I found this I seriously get irrational and want to call up the place and rescind the tip and even change my opinion of the place since I feel cheated. ARGH ARGH ARGH ARGH!!!!! It makes my stomach all aflutter and sick-feeling too. I wish money didn't have this kind of control over me!

But anyway the reason I am awake is because I had cappuccino with dessert because I thought maybe we would stay awake for awhile or something. Instead, the wine won and I fell asleep, but in a weird way and woke up threeish hours later when the alcohol wore off and I was left with caffeine. I blame the wine and the crowd effect (Eric ordered the coffee so I wanted one too!)

I actually have been having a BIG PROBLEM with insomnia though. It started in mid-July, I think. I had an interview with someone who was calling from Japan at 9am. I normally get into the office a bit later than that, between 9:15-9:30, so the stress of waking up an hour early (which sounds eye-rolling in retrospect!) and wanting to get a good night's sleep plus the first interview for a piece I wasn't feeling that confident about kept me up all night. I haven't had insomnia (with a couple of health scare and random exceptions) since high school, so I didn't even have those blue over-the-counter sleeping pills (apparently they are the same as benadryl) that I used to take to mixed effect in high school. Unfortunately, this bout with insomnia kicked off a wave of sleeplessness. I had insomnia later that week, and several times since then. I've gotten more sensitive to noise, can't tolerate an air conditioner which makes Eric unhappy--it sucks. Thankfully, I read some stuff online that helped. Mainly, I try to avoid going to sleep until I am so tired I'm dragging myself to bed, about an hour past my bedtime. But this means I'm getting less sleep. The other part, which most people have probably heard, is not tossing and turning. You're supposed to get out of bed after 15 minutes and do a quiet activity. Haven't figured that one out yet. I think I need to find my diary and write in there...that was my initial plan tonight but I couldn't find one, as I haven't written in a diary for ages. What I'm doing now, which is play Spider Solitaire on a brightly lit screen, only makes me more awake. Like I spent from 3:30am-5am kind of laying quietly because the idea of performing any kind of activity that involved thinking seemed way too difficult, but now I am WIDE AWAKE. Lovely. Anyway, this bout of insomnia is clearly caused by my mistake of drinking caffeine, and will not be repeated. Hope it doesn't eff up tomorrow though.

The other health problem that I'll touch on briefly since I guess I need to get all this out is MIGRAINES. I'm seeing a doc soon to be sure, but I've had two now in the past month and they are scary and crazy. I was at work when suddenly I start seeing white spots in my field of vision. The best way to describe it is as if you look at the sun and then see a bright spot when the sun is gone. It was worse looking at a computer screen. I tried to type and literally couldn't see half of what I was typing. After half an hour the white spots went away and was replaced with a mild headache above my eyebrows. Which turned into a RAGING headache. With nausea. The first time I mainly stood over a toilet trying to throw up and the second time I went out to try to eat something, settled for a somewhat bland-looking slice of margherita. As the guy hands me the piece I'm suddenly overcome by a wave of nausea, ask for it to go, walk outside, throw up in my mouth, spit in East Village garbage can. It was classy. Anyway, the second time was followed by a night of insomnia (don't remember the first time) so I am hoping that the two are related (and it doesn't have to do with my birth control pills, because I seriously do not want to have to stop taking them...people with migraines are really limited in their BC options).

These health issues seem pretty stress-related despite the fact that I seriously have nothing to be stressed about. I'm in a great relationship, have wonderful friends, like my job. It's really silly and I shouldn't let little things bother me. I've always felt that I have this set level of anxiety that's a bit high, and it comes out in different ways--insomnia, hypochondria, being too focused on controlling what I ate, etc. I've been able to stop most of these problems, but they come out in other ways. What IS the healthy way to discharge stress?

This past week I've decided that I am seriously lacking in the exercise department. There is no gym nearby, so I've been exercising in a rather ad hoc manner. I walk or bike to work, which is 3 miles a day and takes 1 hour (walking)/30 minutes (biking) round trip. But that's really not enough. I swam eight times this season (pitiful, but I picked up at the end) at this outdoor city pool that has lap swim in the summer, and now that that's over I have some guest passes at the Y (I can go 6 times for free at each Manhattan location, which is fabulous considering a membership is $90ish a month for an individual). I played tennis with Eric's friend and hope to do that more.

I also bought this Yoga Passbook for $80 that lets you go a couple times to different yoga studios (I've now used 3 of them, so gone 6 times...yeah I need to work on that too). But since yoga is $10-20 a class this option is so preferable for people like me on a budget. Obviously I work better when I have a gym membership and can be like, oh, it's Monday, I can catch the 8pm yoga class. However, I really do want to make good use of this yoga book...because I've been so derelict I basically can go a couple dozen of times at places within a 5 minute bike ride from work, so I have no excuse. It's just the newness part of it each time that is a turn-off.

Anyway, I went to yoga on Thursday and it felt so fabulous. I need to do it more for stress reduction and, of course, fitness. Distance swimming was my "thing" and there are parallels for me between yoga and distance swimming. Yoga emphasizes breathing, just as swimming does, and the movements are slow and fluid. I am definitely not a fast-twitch muscle person. I am SLOW. When I leave class I can feel so incredibly happy and almost euphoric. Why wouldn't I want to do that more often? So now my goal is 2-3 times a week, which will be much easier now that I've discovered biking, which makes getting around to different studios and toting a yoga mat much easier. I need to buy a yoga mat strap though...

So now the sky is changing from black to light blue and I am still awake. Damn caffeine! However, I've caught the blog up with all my raging stress-related illnesses and plan of attack--MORE EXERCISE, ESPECIALLY YOGA.

What else?

Eric and I are going to Panama for vacation this November. I just bought the guide book and we haven't planned out what we're going to do yet. When I read through last afternoon I was overwhelmed by everything and kind of disappointed with the beach options--we're going at the end of November, which is towards the end of the rainy season (mid-December), but the Caribbean and Pacific sides have totally different weather so it seems like we may be in for rain no matter where we are. Last year in Costa Rica (one country north) we also had rain but looking back it didn't really bother us (and it only rained one day at the beach, which was beautiful and we didn't really mind). So we'll see! It also sounds like Panama City will be fun and there's plenty of buildings and ruins etc to see so we can fit that in.

I think that's all for now...

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