Essential Sleep and My Spare Room Haven.

For almost two years now my husband and I have battled with each other and within ourselves over the state of our marriage all because things changed for us sleeping together. Gone were the days when a night apart seemed for ever and lust was in abundance and well, lustful! Sharing a bed and getting a good night’s sleep was becoming an absolute nightmare for so many reasons. They’re coming don’t worry! I want to see if anyone else relates to any at this time of life.

Separate beds, let alone separate rooms, was a slippery slope to doom and gloom to us for our marriage and the thought of it was giving us so much angst. It was something you did in your eighties when teeth needed removing or oxygen tanks maneuvering surely? Until two weeks ago that is, when we came to a unanimous decision to stop fighting each other and ourselves and accept the inevitable, make the spare room fancy schmanzty and one of us move in Sunday night until Thursday night for everyone’s sanity. And that one was me. I will get to that bit too and why it wasn`t “The Snorer”. Nearly ten nights in, we are already more refreshed and excited for another weekend rendezvous!! Keeping the fire alive is no joke when you are both knackered and resentful.

Going back briefly to when we met in our twenty’s, I could sleep through anything pretty much, which always amazed my future husband. He just could not get it that I hardly moved for eight hours straight and was quite envious at this strange phenomenon. Move on a few decades and all that changed as I headed into my forties and the perimenopause and all it brings to cause insomnia. (I won`t re hash that as it is all in my previous post “Hello 2am!”) and I was becoming the most agitated, foul tempered person, just at the thought of sharing a bed because we were both so sleep deprived and really because of each other and that was proving hard to accept.

So what were the reasons it was becoming so difficult? In no specific order and sometimes multiple times! :-

Snoring

What happens to men in their forties? Why do they become so snorey? My husband sounds like a drill that starts off slow and then goes full throttle. This can either wake me up out of nowhere and then insomnia starts and I can`t get back to sleep for a few hours or it starts to rumble as I am drifting off and I get what I call “Snore Anxiety” because I am on edge that he is going to snore and then can`t sleep. I can honestly feel my heart rate increase at every sound he makes. I have tried a few options. Exclaiming “Oh for God’s Sake” (or worse), nudging (ok shoving), earplugs (they don’t work so save your money), holding his nose (I know really mean that one but strangely satisfying!) and eventually throwing myself out of bed and storming off to the spare room. He was oblivious to it all so all dramatics were wasted.

Toilet Trips

So apparently from middle age onward, the wall of our bladder begins to thin so we need to wee more, especially at night it seems in our case. It`s bad enough and so annoying if someone needs to go, but in mid slumber and darkness, it is easy to stub your toe (and yell), turn on a light or god forbid flush the loo (we have an ensuite) and then the other poor soul is awake. I can`t blame my husband for this one as I do it too and probably more (cougar syndrome!). No point trying to deny you need to go either I have found. It just prolongs the inevitable.

Tossing and Turning

My husband will put his hand up and say this one is all him. I don`t really move even when lying there awake for hours, but he does what we had in the early days fondly named “humphing”. He tosses and turns and makes “humphing” noises (in between snoring) and suddenly I wake up with his face right in mine doing a great impression of a heavy breather. I am not so fond anymore That sends me off into the spare room too. As there is no hope at that point. He is not one I can budge, even an inch.

Passing Ships

Unlike our early years we have completely different patterns of when we need to get up and go to sleep. Gone are the days of a midweek romantic meal and wine, some rumpy pumpy , blissful cuddles and dreams until the 7am alarm. Now he needs to be up at 4.45am for a 7am start an hour from home and so he needs to be in bed at 9pm. At which point I am usually walking through the door from picking up our youngest from gymnastics. I then want to unwind. I do come up, be very careful not to wake him and then 6 hours after I hopefully nod off (with a 2am insominia interlude) his alarm is yelling, “It is 4,45am” (speaking clocks should be banned). Do I get up or nod off for a few hours of restless weird morning dream sleep (I always get weird dreams in those pre-waking hours, I wonder if it is a thing?) leaving me groggier still.

So all this, as much as I have tried to make light of it ,has been leaving us absolutely knackered in the day and rather resentful of each other, yet determined to stick at it until “death do us part” because surely it is wrong not to share a bed as a married couple? But then we said, “Well is it wrong?’ Only society tells us it isn`t normal and there is a stigma attached to it and there is always the old couples who preach they haven`t slept a night apart. And I think that is wonderful. It warms my heart. But times have changed. Life has changed. Sometimes it is so fast you just want to get off let alone sleep a night uninterrupted to re charge for the next day. Sleep, to both of us, is absolutely crucial to functioning properly on a daily basis. We were spending the weekend catching up on sleep rather than enjoying family time and having a laugh together. We needed this compromise.

So in the end that was the decision we reached, that we would sleep separately for five nights a week and enjoy those two nights together on the weekend when I am not in at 9pm and he is not up at 4.45am. OK, it might not be all plain sailing, I might have to hold his nose once in a while, but we are looking forward to it and right now, we have a kiss, wish each other goodnight with a smile because we are gong to sleep without waking each other up all night. There`s no morning grumbles because we don`t see each other and I have a nice blissful fancy schmanzty room to watch The Crown in peace 😊

Until the next pondering

PP xx

PS. I took the spare room, so he can use the ensuite in the morning in peace and quiet without disturbing the rest of us! And I get to share a bathroom with my very clean, anti boys and their smells, daughter ( she`s eleven, say no more!) I read somewhere once that the way to a successful marriage was to have separate sinks, well we are taking that to another level and I think we might be onto something! 😉

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An Aura Migraine.

When I think about the word “Aura”, I think about all those people who believe that others walk around displaying good or bad “Auras”, you know, like lavender or silver. It`s not that I don`t believe in any of this, I am quite open to all sorts of beliefs and feelings, but I haven`t seen it myself…..yet. I did have a visit from my own “Aura” of a different kind recently though, a very uneasy feeling and sadly no colours around heads. It seems, according to my GP, that I have been experiencing Aura Migraines and they are an absolute bitch to handle to put it mildly. They never seem to time their visits well either!

Like the fear inducing first painful migraine that had me bed ridden, vomiting and having diarrhea soon after childbirth, this too had me panic stricken that I was either going blind or having a brain haemorrhage. It, like the painful type, did pass and only then did I realise what had happened and waited for the next one ☹. I knew there would be one and it was a few weeks later.

This is how my first one happened, completely out of the blue and not good timing at all but if it stops anyone else freaking out it`s worth a go at describing…….

I had just had a morning at a local organic farm I have joined. It was a fabulous morning and we were just finishing up lunch after working. It was a gorgeous sunny day. Now, I do need glasses for reading but felt I couldn`t see the other girls in my group properly as we were leaving, so put them on thinking I had best see the optician next week. But no help at all.

Suddenly, and I will try to describe this moment…I felt like I could only see through a speech bubble through my left eye, everything around it as I walked was a blur. All vision but that small circle went. Stairs were a nightmare to fathom and I felt really unsteady on my feet. Covering my left eye didn`t stop it either and I was about to drive to pick my daughter up. In hindsight had I known it was going to subside I would have waited. But in the moment I wanted to get us home as I didn’t know what was happening. As soon as I saw her I had to ask her about my left eye. She tends to think I`m a drama queen at times but she could see I was in a different state of worry than usual. I was convinced my eye must look odd, I don`t know, red or bulging but she convinced me it looked fine. We sat for about 20 mins and it suddenly went as quickly as it had appeared. The relief was unbelievable. I felt elated. My sight was fine.

On googling when I got back home, I was convinced, if it had been an Aura Migraine, then any images I could look at would be useless as how can anyone know what you are seeing ?? A little like hypnagogic hallucinations that I have, that no one else can see, but only describe. But no! Google images captured, and I have no idea how, what I had experienced spot on! Here is an idea of what it was like….

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=aura+migraine&rlz=1C1SQJL_enAU771AU772&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC0un48PfaAhWEfrwKHX82C5MQ_AUICigB&biw=1242&bih=602#imgrc=EAty0DB0BspVZM:

So, my next mission was to see if these are linked to the perimenopause and bingo! What do you know, they are! Oh joy 😕! Another thing to worry about and dread getting at any time of day. Perhaps I shall keep a log of when they occur? The third paragraph of the article I have attached links the perimenopause and migraines.

https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/trigger-factors/menopause-and-midlife/

It was not so long ago I was grateful the migraines I suffered in my thirties had pretty much stopped, so to have a few of these has p+#@*d me off ! Yes, they are shorter, yes there is no pain or vomiting or days of head fuzz after but they are so disconcerting especially that initial one. Bloody hormones!! Bugger off you’ve caused enough havoc already !!☹

Becoming Invisible.

So far, the tempo of my blog has been somewhat upbeat, and I have taken a comical swipe at some of the symptoms I seem to be experiencing all of a sudden as my perimenopausal years kick in. Not to worry, there are more up my sleeve and how I feel about them. (As a taster I will want to talk about last week and my first aura migraine!) But today it is not so much physical symptoms that I wanted to ponder about but emotional symptoms of loneliness or as I am calling it feeling ,“Invisible”. Is it linked to emotions we experience in the perimenopause or would we feel them regardless I wonder as the years tick by? Anyway, let me explain about this one that is bothering me so much lately, and one that frustrates me, when really, we are in our prime with so much to give and offer. I want to celebrate and embrace the perimenopausal years but then there is…Invisibility!

So many times, I have read that women over a certain age feel they are becoming invisible which until probably last year, I couldn’t understand. These women often seemed outgoing, friendly, part of a family, employed and well, in my eyes, far from invisible. And then as last year went on I began to understand. I think it`s a very individual thing in how we feel invisible. Maybe it`s in our relationships, maybe it`s in our opinions (what do we know after all in out forties and fifties ?? Well actually rather a lot as we all know 😉!), Maybe it`s in our looks or how we dress (that dreadful age of not wanting to look like mutton, nor wanting to look like an old fart either or the dreaded “beige”!), whichever way we feel it, it feels lonely.

For me it has been a shock to realise that to the outside world, as a woman who wants to work and has worked hard to get to where I am, studying to get a BA Degree whilst my youngest was growing up, I have become invisible. The world outside my safe cosy home changed, as did I, unwittingly to any employer to be, as those 7 years passed. Cover letter after cover letter and resume after resume has not seen me get one foot in the door anywhere to say “Look at me! Here I am! This is what I have to offer!” (Well that isn`t quite how bold I would be, but you get the idea!). Eighteen months has passed since my graduation and I have put it all to one side for a while as it is soul destroying. As one friend put it “You can keep applying, keep getting despondent until something comes along unexpectedly (Like when! ) and until then you can be the best damn, wife, mother , friend etc that you can be or you can sulk! “One of the best pieces of advice I had.

Don`t get me wrong I didn’t give up easily. I spoke to careers advisors at the Uni and they had to admit that without experience in my field and having been at home for some years my options were limited and if I hear “sell your life skills! “one more time I will scream. Employers aren`t interested in life skills. As one person quipped to me, they want a 25-year-old with 20 years’ experience. It`s tough out there in on-line application world. I have done some volunteering and also applied to all the supermarkets etc. Anything to get me out amongst others and back to work.

So here I find myself, 48 years old with a husband, three girls aged 27, 24 and 11 and at home, far more employable at 34 with no qualification ( like a degree) but lots of work experience. Take a break for a few years to have my youngest and most gorgeous daughter who I would never be without, and life passed me by and I have emerged the other side a little lost with not much direction and well, feeling just that topic I started with,invisible.

If I were to tell my friends and my family that I felt this way, I am sure they would laugh. I don`t look invisible. I am loud, chatty, dress up, go out, still to bars may I add! What a strumpet at 48 I hear you cry !!  I love a good time with friends and family, but I would also love to work, to be ME, not just a mum or a wife…just to be ME, outside on my own and showing off all those things I learned, whilst studying my backside off, alongside those bloody life skills!!

I know I am not alone, women my age are the most unemployable and most likely to be made redundant, I think the exact age range is 48-55 years old, but I guess in my own head I am not the woman that the world so readily stereotype. I am bubbly me who doesn`t want to be set aside as too old and inexperienced to have a go. Would I employ me though is another question I sometimes ask myself? Yes, if I met me but probably wouldn`t even make interview stage on paper.

Well what a moan that was. I hope it wasn`t too depressing and other readers can resonate. But I would like to end on a positive note for perimenopausal me. I read an article recently that I shall post a link to about how poorly work places are adapted to women during the perimenopause and menopause and how much it affects them. Enjoy, it`s a good link from Meg Mathews. She has a great blog on the menopause.

https://megsmenopause.com/2018/04/11/menopause-and-the-workplace/

So, to end, at least that is not a worry for me like so many others and I can enjoy my fourth hot flush of the day in peace 😊

PP xx