This is my third day of this iteration of accepting and working with my oddly calibrated circadian rhythm, and also the third day of grooving on a happy outlook and mental clarity — with greatly and increasingly diminished, and at times completely absent, brain fog. It might be nothing more than random coincidence, but it was also my goal and that makes it difficult to entertain for very long or very seriously the notion that the two might not be related.
I found the physical effects of the caffeine in my first mug of coffee mildly unpleasant. It’s just too much. A few days ago I was hobbling along on a caffeine crutch because without it I couldn’t function at all, but last night I found myself dancing around the kitchen while washing dishes. It just happened to be this song that got me started:
I’ve recently subscribed to a discussion mailing list for folks afflicted by the same disorder, mainly so I could get access to the protected archives. It seems that just accepting and working with the reality of a skewed rhythm isn’t a popular option, as the discussion is all about fighting it with light boxes, blue blocking glasses, melatonin, pharmaceuticals, and so on. All things that have never maintained their efficacy for me for more than a few weeks when I’ve tried them. Well, except pharmaceuticals. I’ve not tried those, and don’t intend to. What I find most interesting of all is that there are retired people still fighting it. I won’t ask them why because it would surely be seen as offensively judgmental, but I am really very curious about that. Why bother? One of my herbalist pals said something several years ago to the effect that it’s all very well to know a lot about how to make up a salve to treat burns, but the most important part of it all is to first have good sense enough to step out of the fire.
I guess I should have taken that more to heart, eh?
The topic at the time was stress and psychic pain, but the wisdom of the analogy is applicable to many aspects of life. Many of us, myself included, have a nonsensical habit of ignoring what our bodies and/or our situations are telling us, and attempt to modify our responses rather than directly addressing the problems to which we’re responding. We want our quick and, more importantly, easy fixes. Don’t ask me to stop doing the shit that’s killing me, man, just give me a pill or tell me what to eat or not to eat so I can continue ignoring the shit that’s killing me.
My favorite example is the so-called French Paradox. How do Americans, including highly educated Americans whose fields of study are health and nutrition, respond? Oh, it must be the red wine. We’ll just drink red wine and then we’ll stop having heart attacks! It’s quick but not a fix, and the only real benefit of it is that we feel better about ignoring the root of the problem. If you want to see the root of the problem in action, take your typical hard working American who, through superhuman dedication, self-motivation, and drive has risen into the ranks of middle management, and send him on a work assignment to Paris. Midway through the third day, ask him what’s most irksome to him about the experience. He’ll tell you that he cannot stand those damned two hour lunch breaks. Isn’t it bad enough already that they’re wiping out the employer’s bottom line with all of those long vacations, family/medical leaves, and all of that other socialist bullshit? Do they have to put all of that important work on hold for two or more hours every damned day while they sit around laughing it up over lunch?
No paradox at all. We demonize our food because we will not even consider demonizing our god. In addition to outrageous rates of heart disease, the thing we’ve got that the French don’t have is Protestant work ethic. It’s not so hard to reconcile that working ourselves to death kills us, but we don’t wish to see it that way.
It seems like much the same thing with folks trying to force a normal sleep/wake cycle onto an immovably skewed circadian rhythm. Reality is this, but I don’t like and won’t accept this, so I’m going to do something else. ‘Cuz I’m just that fucking good, don’tcha know.
I’m just carrying on about it now because I’ve rediscovered that it’s a lot more rewarding to work with rather than against reality. I’m loving how much better I feel and how quickly it came about.
Be well, friends and neighbors!