The last month has been stressful, to say the least. I have been nursing a sick guinea pig (she is a rescue and supposed to be a foster-pig); battling tight deadlines with my work that were made more difficult due to certain annoying characteristics of Word; trying to finish a story for an anthology that I would love to be a part of; and just generally trying to get back into my day-to-day rhythm, which has been disrupted since Christmas.
This week, I finally “got it.” I’ve figured out how to fit hand feeding the ill guinea pig into my regular daily schedule (this is made easier because I have found a recipe for her hand-feeding mix that she loves, so I don’t have to hold her down to syringe food into her mouth anymore). I’ve started running again. I’m nearly caught up on the dishes and I’m on top of the laundry (just need to get the ironing sorted out and I’ll be golden). My kitchen has been reorganized, my living room is nearly presentable, and my bedroom suddenly (as of this week) has a lot of open space. I’m on top of my work, I met the submission deadline for the anthology, and I’m even eating somewhat decently.
However, my sleep is totally buggered thanks to a few nights where I kept using the computer after dinner (that is as much a no-no for me as using it in the mornings when I’m at home, as it is a total time-suck for me and a huge distraction) and the early-morning sun that finds its way across my face every.single.freaking.day. Melatonin isn’t the answer here, either; I’m actually finding it easy to fall asleep once I get to bed, and I stay asleep most nights. The answer is threefold: I need to turn off the computer at dinner time and leave it off; I need to go to bed between 10.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. every night; and I need to get and install blackout blinds on the bedroom windows. I have an alarm clock to wake me up, as well as a cat, five guinea pigs (two are supposed to be fosters), and a crapton of songbirds outside. I don’t need the sun getting in on the act, trust me.
Aside from the sleep issue, which I think I’ve mostly figured out and can probably handle, the main way I’ve managed the past month’s stresses has been remembering to take my Adderall (even when I’m sleep-deprived, it helps me stay calm and focused) and trying to stick to my daily plans. Making my plans each day helps me feel more in control, even when I’m unable to follow them perfectly. The reason, I think, is that my daily plans have been working for nearly a full year at this point, so I am able to have faith that making them and trying to follow them will breed some sort of success in my daily life – I have, after all, experienced that success many times already!
Really, this past month has merely reinforced for me the importance of routines and schedules. I need those things, or I flounder (even with medication helping me deal with my ADHD). I need to know what to expect from day to day, what I need to do each day, and how my various interests, needs, and activities are going to be accommodated.
This is personal power. It is personal control. I count myself lucky to have these things, because far too many in this world (both with and without disabilities) do not have them.