I’m nearly three months into my new job as an executive assistant. The job itself is great, and I feel rather accomplished as I get up each day and choose a semi-professional outfit (sometimes dresses, sometimes slacks, and obviously there’s a casual Friday with jeans and university theme shirt). I still am learning about everything every day, and despite the chaos that ensues, I find myself feeling more like a person at work than I do at home.
Home feels more like a bunker; a place to hide, to sleep, and get away from everything and everyone. Specifically upstairs in the bedroom where I can lounge in soft clothes on a soft bed and just feel comfortable. Some people drink to unwind (being drunk doesn’t appeal to me anymore as it just makes me sick), some may go outside for a smoke (never quite enjoyed cigs nor found the appeal of them), and other illicit substances that I either don’t care for or have no access to. So when I go home, my bed, blankets, and loungers are my sedatives of choice. My brain never fully shuts off otherwise, and even watching tv or videos on my phone feels like too much focus energy that I don’t have to spend.
Exhaustion hits me every day at 5:30 when I cross the front door’s threshold. Any good intentions of cleaning, hobbies, writing, or even just reading my borrowed library books dissolves and I have enough strength to get upstairs, change into pajama-level clothes, and I think “I’ll just lay down a minute.”
The minute turns into two hours or more by the time I wake up. Sleep time medicine helps me get back to sleep at bedtime so I’m not up half of the night.
At some point last week, my parents called after not hearing from me all week. “What have you been doing?” I didn’t try to hide it. I admitted, “any free time at home, I’m sleeping or cooking dinner, eating dinner, and then back in bed.”
My counselor asks if the extra sleep interferes with my life. Thankfully, it doesn’t. I just wonder what happened to the hobbies I used to pursue, the novels I wanted to write, and the characters who I think about but have yet to sketch out with words. I’m told I’m still getting used to the 8-5, Mon-Friday work schedule. Perhaps that is all it is. Maybe it’s the fact that my professional life has changed so much but my home life has stayed the same; perhaps I’m eager for us to get out of the apartment and “catch up” to life in a house.
All I do know is that I am tired and no amount of sleep seems to help. Obviously I have energy to be up, but even sitting at my desk, I think about being home in bed or on the couch under a warm, soft blanket.
The counselor mentioned the words “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Yeah, I saw that Golden Girls episode. That would be an explanation but let’s hope it’s something more solvable (I remember Dorothy being relieved that someone diagnosed her with something real but the show never addressed how she dealt with it afterwards). I’m urged to get bloodwork drawn, go shopping for vitamins, and to get more exercise in…frankly, the idea of going back to any gym makes my muscles cringe. I worked out religiously for an entire year and never once felt that “runner’s high” or addiction to exercise. I wish I did; it would make a lot of things easier, I feel.
So today, I’ll start with two-sentence horror story, due to it being September 1st, which at my house, is the beginning of spooky season:
“My little girl cries so loudly through the night, and I’ve lost days worth of sleep. I go to her grave every day and ask her to stop, but she only wails louder.”