postgrad / codeine / sleep

March 22, 2008 at 10:49 pm 9 comments

Today I looked at post-grad courses, got high on codeine and watched some X-Files episodes. In that order. One of my so-called long term plans involves going back to university. I had a look at the various courses available and at various funding options and I understood none of it. If I can’t even work out how to afford a masters degree, what’s the chance I’m going to be able to do the work? I’m sure I used to be smart; now I’m not so sure.

And, of course, to do a masters would involve being able to regulate my sleep patterns. It took me until 2am to get to sleep last night and I woke up after mid-day today. In two nights I stop taking the temazepam every night and start taking it every other night. If I’ve having trouble sticking to my sleep pattern when I’m drugged into submission, how exactly is this going to work when I’m not? The idea of using temazepam for these couple of weeks is that it should establish a sleep pattern. The idea of switching doses to every other night is to avoid the tolerance and dependency issues that come with hypnotics. But at this point I can’t see it working. I can’t even see it working tonight.

And if this doesn’t work, what will? And if nothing works, am I going to be stuck in my flat watching old TV shows for the rest of my life?


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Therapy yesterday What’s he building in there?

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Prester John  |  March 22, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Taking on something major, like school, doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Not now anyway. Why set yourself up to fail?

    When you get a handle on the sleep thing, take another look at it. Hell, when you get straightened out you may not even want to go to school.

    Decisions made in desperation are almost always bad decisions, at least in my experience.

  • 2. Gabriel...  |  March 23, 2008 at 1:53 am

    XFiles Movie Part Two is filming in Vancouver… I think it comes out this summer. Good times.

    Small steps first… when I looked at getting back into school I tried a couple of six-week courses first. There was a writing class I took which really helped me get my confidence back and prepare for having a schedule again.

    If this doesn’t work there are always options to sitting around watching TV for the rest of your life… I’m sure at some point they’ll develop some kind of holographic interface, or more likely a chip you’ll be able to implant. Plus, honestly, I’m pretty sure in the next couple of years they’ll cut your benefits back far enough you won’t be able to afford your flat so you’ll most likely be living in a park somewhere… but that’ll be cool cause you’ll have that chip implanted.

    Small steps, dude. Get your sleeping patterns under control, or at least learn what they are, then worry about Other Stuff. Setting up time-lines and “I’m gonna do’s…” before you’ve got a foundation is Not a good idea.

  • 3. K  |  March 23, 2008 at 3:56 am

    If you are having trouble understanding the funding options available in post graduate education, it might be a good idea to take a trip to a potential institute and see if you can talk to someone. I’ve had the experience myself where on a website, or in black and white publication the information can be rather daunting – having someone explain it to you can really help clarify things.

    You say you used to be smart, but you aren’t so sure now – whilst it’s true your brain does degrade somewhat with age, it’s probably more just unfit at the moment =p, I don’t know much about your situation right now, but perhaps part time study is an option – as Gabriel said, small steps are what you need.

    Learning is an active process and even if you’ve been out of school doing nothing but watching TV for decades, I promise you, you haven’t forgotten how to learn.

    Life is long when you aren’t enjoying it, and short when you are. Lead a life of fun, or a life of meaning – and constantly ask yourself…is it possible to do both?

  • 4. Alison  |  March 23, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I had to laugh at the watching old TV shows, I’ve been watching an old TV Drama for the past two weeks so much so I have become worryingly obsessive about it and for the past week cannot get it out of my head, I dream it constantly – I feel like I am going mad!

    I am just about to and watch series 1 again for the 4th time in about 5 days!

  • 5. adifferentvoice  |  March 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    EC, what do you want people to do? Agree with you that it’s all impossible, or tell you that you can do it? Or just listen? I’m sure you can crack the sleep problems and it seems a shame to let those problems stop you from moving forward when you are clearly so intelligent and could do with an intellectual challenge and cannot possibly waste all your life watching TV programmes. Without in any way wanting to minimise your sleep problems … if you were living in a Mediterranean country you wouldn’t be going to bed until 2am anyway, and, besides, you’d be unlucky to have many lectures or seminars timetabled for the early morning. And sorting out the funding problems is easy if you’ve had to navigate your way around the benefit system. Every university will have an office to help you.

  • 6. experimental chimp  |  March 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Prester John: Taking on major stuff isn’t a great idea right now, I agree. But there has to be something at the end of the process of getting better, if indeed I’m actually on that process…

    Gabriel: Yeah, pretty much. Although hopefully I’ll get to keep the flat.

    K: The problem I’m having is that sure, I’m as smart as I ever was, but it’s become so much more difficult to concentrate because of depression and the drugs that are meant to be treating the depression, that I never get to the point where the smartness can mean anything.

    Alison: I haven’t started dreaming about the X-Files yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time.

    adifferentvoice: I keep this blog for several reasons. Writing stuff down helps sort things out in my head and is one of the few positive coping strategies I’ve developed. Before I had this blog I used to keep an offline journal. Putting what is essentially my journal online has a few benefits – it connects me to a community of people who are doing likewise and allows me to get suggestions and ideas. It also makes it easier for me to search through it, which is handy because I’m not naturally inclined to organisation and working out when things like doctors appointments is handy. In the past I’ve used it to fill out a mood-chart retrospectively.

    Just because I’m whining about stuff on my blog doesn’t mean that’s how I’m feeling 24 hours a day. Sometimes writing an entry is enough to cope with the feelings at that point. I don’t expect any particular response but responses are always welcome. I’ve self-censored some of the more negative posts in the past, which has proved counter-productive.

    The thing is, I can’t crack my sleep problems. I spent three years trying to do so and ended up nearly killing myself in the process. I’m not a night-owl. I find it impossible to keep to a set sleep pattern. Trying to do so for more than a couple of days at a time really messes my sleep patterns up. It’s difficult enough when I have two appointments on subsequent days – trying to get up at the same time for a week, whether it’s in the morning or afternoon – is difficult. Doing so for multiple weeks is impossible and leads to massive sleep deprivation.

    Which is a bit of a problem if I want to go to work, have a social life or go to university.

  • 7. Gabriel...  |  March 24, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Dude… I think, for now and maybe for a few months, you should just not worry about sleeping patterns. Give the medications some time to get to know your body and vice versa. Try to gently push yourself for the appointments you have, but if you miss them, don’t guilt yourself out about it… setting up appointments on consecutive days, for me, is nuts. I describe it to friends and family as though I were working shifts, and sometimes by setting appointments on consecutive days it’s like having two shifts in the same day with two hours of sleep in between. Basically, sooner or later my brain is going to seize and I’ll find myself having gone a week with twenty hours of sleep.

    Basically I have my personal schedule, then if someone wants me to do something like fix their computer, suddenly I have a second schedule. Which isn’t too bad, but then there’s an appointment which means a third schedule and a party which means a fourth schedule and suddenly I have to be up 24-hours three times in a week to fit it all in.

    It comes down to keeping yourself in a low-key kind of place for now… work and school can come later, that’s why you and I are getting a cheque from the government every month. Just sleep when you can… two things which are vital for your recovery right now are 1. good REM filled sleep, and; 2. no guilt.

  • 8. Margaret/adifferentvoice  |  March 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Caught part of this on the radio whilst driving, and thought of you – you’ve probably heard it all before, but still … I thought there were quite a few practical suggestions. You can listen here, or there’s a podcast, whatever a podcast is (never have worked that out).

    Radio 4, Check up, Sleep Problems

  • 9. LauraLouRah  |  August 4, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    The more I think about this idea of ‘postgrad’ the more i seem unable to sleep.
    I think it unfortunate we spend so much time thinking and overthinking such a taxing issue but when we get to do it (or should that be if) we could blink and it could be missing forever.
    I’d love to do it, but I’m not sure I’d ever be able to afford it.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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