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learn to say no! - helen-louise
learn to say no!
I am stressed and tired and frayed.

Here's a story: Imperial College Union has one of the largest collections of pewter tankards in the world. The tankards, or pots, are awarded to student union officials and the chairmen or team captains of the various clubs and societies. There is a whole system of ettiquette called "potting", which relates what happens if you're in the bar and someone else with a claim to the pot comes in. I have my name on at least 3 pots, although it's all fairly irrelevant as I don't ever go to the bar and wouldn't be drinking beer in any case. (You can't put cider or fizzy drinks in the pots because the acid dissolves the lead, which is dangerous).

Anyway. As well as getting your name on the shared pots, some people were rewarded each year for continued outstanding contribution to the life of the Union over several years. The prize for this was a Personal Pot, which you didn't have to share with anyone. You could have it engraved however you wanted, but if it was over a certain budget, you had to pay for the excess yourself. One particular individual, a year above me chronologically, who spent far too many years on Union Exec, asked for his pot to have the words LEARN TO SAY NO! engraved all around the bottom, as many times as would wrap around the pot. I always had a certain amount of empathy with that, for I too have a pathological inability to say no in certain circumstances.

So, here I am in early February - tired from chronic fatigue; unable to get out of bed because of SAD, depression and delayed sleep phase syndrome; extra-frayed and unreliably sleep-patterned due to the random, intermittent gallstone pain, nightmares and flashbacks. I'm maintaining a sleep schedule of crawling out of bed sometime between 1 and 4pm, and falling asleep somewhere around 4-5am. This is honestly the best I can manage. The normal "just go to bed earlier" thing doesn't work for people with DSPS - I would lie awake for quite literally hours on end, even with sleeping pills. And as for "just get up earlier" - ha bloody ha - some days I'm lying in bed with the lightbox alarm clock shining bright light into my face for 2 1/2 hours before I can face being vertical.

Therefore, for some completely unknown and fucking stupid reason, I agreed to work every day next week starting at 9.30am. Which means getting out of bed by 8.30am. To put this in perspective for you people with functional body clocks, or the scary morning people who bounce out of bed at 7am even on a Sunday, this is like you being asked to get out of bed at 2am. And I won't manage to adjust to it, because I never can - I'll still not fall asleep until 3 or 4am, then have to be up again at 8. Doing that for 6 days on the trot is going to fucking kill me, and it's all my fault. Because I never learn to say no.

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Current Mood: crappy crappy

3 comments or Leave a comment
resmc From: resmc Date: 10th February 2006 22:50 (UTC) (Link)
*Resmc hugs baratron*
From: (Anonymous) Date: 10th February 2006 22:50 (UTC) (Link)

as one who has been there, done that, I know how you feel! Was bedridden for a month with CFS because I kept pushing myself to work... and managed to go for four days straight at the same time with absolutely no sleep at all.

I wish that what worked for me could work for you, but I know everybody's CFS is completely different and you are probably sick of people saying "have you tried XXX" - they drove me completely around the bend!

Take care of yourself, and be gentle - beating yourself up will not make dealing with it any easier... If you get a few days in and really can't do it, just back out. I know it's hard to say no, but sometimes, when you are as sick as all that, it's a painful necessity... learnt it the hard way...

*hugs* again.

otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 10th February 2006 23:05 (UTC) (Link)
3 comments or Leave a comment