I've been reading a book about sleep lately, and it has verified what I already suspected: I should try to get more of it, and the health consequences of not getting enough are hugely serious, not just a mild inconvenience. Mood is the first thing to plummet when you don't have enough sleep. Reaction time and sharpness of thinking suffer too—basically, you get stupid when you're sleep-deprived. And your immune system takes a grievous hit as well, opening you up to all kinds of problems.
But let's just look at mood for now.
I found myself wondering this morning, as I stumbled around getting ready for work when I wasn't quite awake, "Does everything seem so stressful in my daily life lately because I'm not getting enough sleep? Or am I not getting enough sleep because everything is so stressful?" The book hasn't said yet whether we actually need more sleep when we have stressful situations going on, but it has said that we feel stress a lot more acutely when we're sleep-deprived. So, I suppose it follows that more sleep would ease stress.
Or maybe it's all in my head. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the brain can screw you up any which way. Question is, how much can you actually do about it, even if you know it's just in your head?
I've wondered a similar thing before, years ago, when lying in bed with an upset stomach: "Does the world seem so nightmarish because I'm sick? Or am I sick because the world is so nightmarish?" Some days, probably just the former. Other days, it's got to be the latter. Most of the time, though, it's hard to tell.
Lately, with the changes at work, my stress has led me into my usual dichotomy: low self-esteem and the certainty that I suck on the one hand, countered by narcissism and the belief that everyone is being unfair to me on the other. Which is truer? How can I tell in any given situation?
Recently, I've decided most of what I write is stupid, my intelligence is severely overrated, my attempts at humor are pathetic, and my social skills are appalling. I've also decided I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do, am being unjustly condescended to, and am perfectly normal in being quiet and introspective to the point of isolation. No, I don't think I'm bipolar. I just think I'm full of conflicts and am always questioning whether my actions are "right". Perhaps I over-question and simply need to relax.
I have no point to this, except to hope it explains my personality a little better to those who don't quite get me. Several times in my life I've been told I'm mysterious. I'm not trying to be; I'm just not sure what I think of myself, so I'm standing over here quietly musing over the subject, when I probably should be doing something productive.
Maybe the constant conflict is good for me, as a writer. No story without conflict, right? Then, hey, I'm your gal!
But I know there are two things I must keep at the top of my list of priorities: one is sleep. The other is humor. It's life-threatening to skimp on the former, and a cardinal sin (in my book) to skimp on the latter. That goes for all the rest of you, too.
No, make that three things. Chocolate. Yes.