Zombie times

My normal state of being these days, I think, has more in common with a zombie than with a human being. I can’t seem to ever feel rested up since about the time we initiated our pre-coronavirus experiment with dog ownership and a dog who hated being kenneled at night (absolute requirement with six cats who liked to taunt him when no one was looking, at least if we wanted to keep everyone alive). We might have been decent dog owners if covid-19 hadn’t made an appearance and everyone was cooped in a home 24/7 that really wasn’t meant to house five people, six cats and a medium-sized dog who didn’t like being outdoors during the day or in a kennel at night. The short version of the sad tale is: when covid came around, he was too much of a disruption to at-home schooling because he wouldn’t go outside for even short periods of time during the school day without barking, at everyone and anything, to be let back in (among other behavioral issues), and then he’d want one of the kids to play when they needed to school. We ended up deciding someone had to go or we’d all be crazy, thanks to the confinement. Because I make money, it was decided I should stay, but it was a close thing — I was nearly voted out of the house, as he was a clear favorite.

But, getting back to my lack of sleep, the dog hated nighttime in the kennel so much that he’d start yipping in the middle of it. At first, we let him out to do his business, but it soon became evident that wasn’t what he wanted — he wanted to be out of the kennel. And we couldn’t leave him out, because then he’d get bored and lonely, which resulted in destructive behavior. Plus: cats, which he saw as fair game to roughhouse with, and him not realizing he could easily kill them just by playing. So, part of the routine for about six months of his time with us, was to start yipping between two and three in the morning, waking me up to let him out, corral him back into his kennel with the inevitable protest pee on the carpet, me cleaning up, go back to bed and start to sleep before we’d rinse/repeat until I had to be up at five am.

I was utterly exhausted and useless after a few months of this, but still we soldiered on, assuming we just had to find the key to getting rid of this behavior. We never did and ended up rehoming him when it became clear that the relationship wasn’t going to work (ripping up part of our carpet while I cooked dinner one night didn’t help, I’ll admit). Plus, as I said, the house wasn’t big enough for all the living critters to be living inside 100% of the time.

I thought — okay, bliss now. I’ll be able to sleep solidly like I did before we got the pooch.

Except, I still wake up at around that same time (for other, health-related, pain issues). Or someone needs their dad. Or I get a spot of over-thinking. Or I can’t get comfortable (again, largely for health-related issues). Or, apparently, my mind goes into overdrive with the whole dream thing and I start having lucid, intense dreams and don’t ever sleep deeply.

I’ve gotten to the point of fatigue that I am needing to take early-afternoon catnaps just to survive. And then I don’t want to actually get up from those, although I moan and groan and get up anyway.

I wonder if something has shifted in my circadian rhythm. I’ve always been fairly adjustable over my life, although I was never able to do the 3rd shift thing very well. Wake up early or late as needed to accommodate a job or lifestyle, I’ve never had issues with sleep cycles, though insomnia has always plagued me in spurts. But for the last few years, especially the last year, I wonder if I need to adjust my schedule to suit my body so I can feel rested. I’m not sure. For fifteen years or more, I’ve had the same core schedule — but I’m feeling as if it isn’t right for me lately.

Until I figure it out — I’ll end up moaning and drooling just like one of those slow zombies you see on that one TV show. Except I don’t bite. Unless you ask me to.

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