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I'm done! Can you help me think about sleep.


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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Oooh. You too, eh? I don't get a migraine if I sleep in, but I do get a tension headache. And I pay for it both on the day I sleep in and the NEXT day. My rhythm is persistently out of whack.  

Yep, and both my parents get headaches, too, when they sleep in.  

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4 hours ago, regentrude said:

Sorry coming late to this, maybe this has already been suggested.

Can you sleep when you have had a good amount of physical exertion?
I don't mean an hour walking around the block. I mean several hours of hard physical activity outside (sun is great to help with circadian rhythm and mental health).
I found that for optimal functioning, I need a great deal more physical exertion than our civilized western lives deem normal. I would suggest you experiment with this (even though it might not be sustainable for your routine once you go back to work), just to figure out if it may help.
I never feel as good as when I am working on my friend's farm for a few hours, even in the heat, or hike/kayak to the point of actual exhaustion on a regular basis. Physical exhaustion, at least for me, is a good help for mental/emotional exhaustion.

I think this is what I need to try.

It's not really my go to strategy.  I have zero coordination, and I don't really have a life that has room for several hours of anything, but the next month is a little more flexible.  

The exercising in the morning approach didn't work when I was just walking, but a lot of it wasn't in the sun, just because I needed to be finished by about 7:30 a.m..  I managed to reset the time I wake up to 5:30 - 6:00 a.m., and now can't sleep past that point without a ton of pharmaceutical help, but maybe more exertion and sunshine would be better.  

I would need to figure out how to do that, if I'm on medication that prevents me from driving in the morning, and there are 5 kids here.  

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

The only thing that has really helped change sleep hormones in our household is figuring out the right timing for sun exposure. So, if we needed the kids to sleep in, having them stay in the sunlight until 7 pm did wonders. If we wanted the kids to wake up earlier, more morning sun was good. 

We've never tried medical interventions, but this one was surprisingly successful. So you might try to see if you can get a TON of outdoor sun exposure in the morning and see if it helps. 

I also find that being militant about waking up at the exact same time every day really helps my wellbeing, although I don't think it increases my total hours of sleep. But it helps my sleep levels stay even. 

My body is pretty militant about waking up at the same time, whether I want it to or not.  I did take more medication this morning, to stretch it out.  I slept 7 hours in 3 segments.  I still can't decide if doing that every day would mean that I catch up on sleep and things get better, of if I'll end up addicted to medication that I can't really be on in the fall, or if my body will just adjust and it won't work.

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2 hours ago, mathnerd said:

I highly recommend trying this. There was a period of time when I could not fall asleep in my own bed for months (trigger for anxiety as well). So, we swapped bedrooms with my child for almost a year. I was able to sleep better in another room. It is worth a try and you have some time to switch up furniture and see if another room helps you.

We've moved multiple times since this started. I'm not sleeping in a bed where the bad things happened.  This bed and room are ones I haven't slept in before we moved in with FIL a couple weeks ago. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I think this is what I need to try.

It's not really my go to strategy.  I have zero coordination, and I don't really have a life that has room for several hours of anything, but the next month is a little more flexible.  

The exercising in the morning approach didn't work when I was just walking, but a lot of it wasn't in the sun, just because I needed to be finished by about 7:30 a.m..  I managed to reset the time I wake up to 5:30 - 6:00 a.m., and now can't sleep past that point without a ton of pharmaceutical help, but maybe more exertion and sunshine would be better.  

I would need to figure out how to do that, if I'm on medication that prevents me from driving in the morning, and there are 5 kids here.  

Ca you exercise while your kids are at swim practice? Maybe swim too? Exercise with the kids some time during the day? (We hiked as a family since the kids were babies) Maybe gardening with the kids, or exercising while watching the kids at the park, or whatever it is they spend their day doing? 

Edited by regentrude
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12 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Ca you exercise while your kids are at swim practice? Maybe swim too? Exercise with the kids some time during the day? (We hiked as a family since the kids were babies) Maybe gardening with the kids, or exercising while watching the kids at the park, or whatever it is they spend their day doing? 

A lot of people were exercising with their kids during lockdown with the trainer Joe Wicks on YouTube. OP, could you combine an early walk to see the sun with later vigorous indoor exercise with your kids if it's too hot outside? Search for PE with Joe 2020.

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14 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Ca you exercise while your kids are at swim practice? Maybe swim too? Exercise with the kids some time during the day? (We hiked as a family since the kids were babies) Maybe gardening with the kids, or exercising while watching the kids at the park, or whatever it is they spend their day doing? 

The pool is closed to non-swim team members during practice, and the kids are in different age groups, so they go at 3 different times.    I like to swim, maybe I need to figure that out. The pool is a couple miles away.  

I'll sort it out. It's my first day.

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38 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I think this is what I need to try.

It's not really my go to strategy.  I have zero coordination, and I don't really have a life that has room for several hours of anything, but the next month is a little more flexible.  

The exercising in the morning approach didn't work when I was just walking, but a lot of it wasn't in the sun, just because I needed to be finished by about 7:30 a.m..  I managed to reset the time I wake up to 5:30 - 6:00 a.m., and now can't sleep past that point without a ton of pharmaceutical help, but maybe more exertion and sunshine would be better.  

I would need to figure out how to do that, if I'm on medication that prevents me from driving in the morning, and there are 5 kids here.  

If you want to sleep past this time, you probably need blackout curtains. It sounds like you're currently sensitive to sunlight -- I am, too. And we're near the longest days of the year right now, which is just hard. 

If I were you, I'd instead make sure you get tons of sun in the morning (this is compatible with exercise!) so you can crash early. 

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Another thing: if you can't increase exercise time, increase outdoor time. Even in the summer. Sunlight in the morning, at mid-day, early afternoon. As much time outdoors as possible. Morning coffee on the porch. Reading in the yard. Etc. I found that to have a huge impact on my mental health and sleep.

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

If you want to sleep past this time, you probably need blackout curtains. It sounds like you're currently sensitive to sunlight -- I am, too. And we're near the longest days of the year right now, which is just hard. 

If I were you, I'd instead make sure you get tons of sun in the morning (this is compatible with exercise!) so you can crash early. 

I don’t think that is the issue because I woke up at the same time in the winter when it was pitch black outside.  

I took the rescue med last night and a sleeping pill when I woke up this morning and managed to fall back asleep, but then I was foggy and stupid all day.  

 

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18 hours ago, Tap said:

Said gently and with kindness.....It sounds to me like you have developed a habit of falling asleep due to pure exhaustion (physcial and mental). You need to retrain your body to fall asleep to just rest. 

 

Yes that is what I need, I just have no idea how to do it.  

18 hours ago, Tap said:

I would look into bio-feedback. A professional would be the most beneficial, but maybe a bio-feedback ap and some work on mindfullness would help. You would likely benefit from some retraining of your brain's rest and sleep cycles. 

I will look into biofeedback.  It’s something I haven’t considered, so thank you!

 

18 hours ago, Tap said:

I have not been through as much as you, but I remember a period of time when I could not.shut.my.brain.off.  Even if I dozed off, I woke up an hour later and my brain was swimming in anxiety producing thoughts. It took a while for me to learn to turn those thoughts off and to teach myself to save those intrusive thoughts for the next day. I don't like to write, but a journal is one way people release tension and give themselves permission to  'postpone thoughts'.  For me, I imagined I put the thoughts in God's hands, and asked him to hold them for me till the next day. I asked him to give me back the thoughts that I needed in the future and to keep the ones I didn't. I am ot an overtly religious person, but it helped me to prioritize problems I didn't need to solve at 12:30AM. I also have one dream that I had one night that was very, very restfull. I try to take my self back to that place and focus on those feelings. It doesn't always work, but on the rare occsionan it does, it is blissfull. 

I keep a few alarms set so I know I can go back to sleep in the morning if I am actually resting. One alarm for the ideal time to get up (allows time for morning chores). One alarm for my normal wake up time. And a final alarm, for "you need to be in motion, right now!". I like having all three because it allows me to make decisions in the morning on what time I am getting up, not before I go to sleep. 

 

((((Hugs)))) lack of sleep is so debilitating! 

 

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I remember reading when I had little ones that “sleep begets sleep.”  I know you haven’t seen this work in the short term, but, if I were you I would repeat what you did last night for several nights—trying to get at least seven hours anyway you can—probably for at least five nights. At the the same time I would work on the sunlight and exercise part of it. I would also use calm or something to do breathing exercises before bed. After those nights your cortisol levels may be lower which should help. At that point I would try the waking at the same time part. I wouldn’t do that until I had several nights of seven hour plus sleep, though. 

Magnesium and L-theanine also help me sleep.  Massages do, too. Have you considered a weekly full body massage for the next month?

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. 

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49 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I don’t think that is the issue because I woke up at the same time in the winter when it was pitch black outside.  

I took the rescue med last night and a sleeping pill when I woke up this morning and managed to fall back asleep, but then I was foggy and stupid all day.  

Hm. I don't know, then 😕. Could anything at all be waking you up? Noise? Anything else? That sounds super frustrating. 

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32 minutes ago, freesia said:

I remember reading when I had little ones that “sleep begets sleep.”  I know you haven’t seen this work in the short term, but, if I were you I would repeat what you did last night for several nights—trying to get at least seven hours anyway you can—probably for at least five nights. At the the same time I would work on the sunlight and exercise part of it. I would also use calm or something to do breathing exercises before bed. After those nights your cortisol levels may be lower which should help. At that point I would try the waking at the same time part. I wouldn’t do that until I had several nights of seven hour plus sleep, though. 

That’s what I am hoping that if I medicate for a week my stress will go down?  Especially if I try and I exercise? 

32 minutes ago, freesia said:

Magnesium and L-theanine also help me sleep.  Massages do, too. Have you considered a weekly full body massage for the next month?

That might be worth trying.

32 minutes ago, freesia said:

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. 

 

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Another thing: if you can't increase exercise time, increase outdoor time. Even in the summer. Sunlight in the morning, at mid-day, early afternoon. As much time outdoors as possible. Morning coffee on the porch. Reading in the yard. Etc. I found that to have a huge impact on my mental health and sleep.

I do pretty well at that.  My little nieces who are here everyday, their mother is due with their little brother any day and so we are being super covid cautious and we keep the kids outside a lot, and usually have them eat lunch there.  So I’m outside with them for lunch, and now that I’m not working I can stay and hang out in theory. Today it was raining cats and dogs so things switched up. 

And then 4 nights a week I am hanging out at some sporting event for one kid for a few hours, plus swim meets or baseball games.  

Anyway, I do pretty well on being outside.

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1 hour ago, Seasider too said:

Epsom salt soaks in the tub?

i have a serious addiction to baths, with and without epsom salts.  I'm half joking when I say that, but this winter a nice hot bath was the only place I could calm down before bed, and I gave myself really bad eczema all over my legs.  So now, I try to have a little more self control.  

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I do pretty well at that.  My little nieces who are here everyday, their mother is due with their little brother any day and so we are being super covid cautious and we keep the kids outside a lot, and usually have them eat lunch there.  So I’m outside with them for lunch, and now that I’m not working I can stay and hang out in theory. Today it was raining cats and dogs so things switched up. 

And then 4 nights a week I am hanging out at some sporting event for one kid for a few hours, plus swim meets or baseball games.  

Anyway, I do pretty well on being outside.

But it's not just being outside -- it's specifically being outside as early as possible and as much as possible in the morning. Sunlight later in the day is actually kind of counterproductive and can make you stay up. 

All the sun stuff always feels very odd but worth experimenting with. Again, it's the only kind of variable that has made a difference for resetting my kids, who are both very sensitive sleepers and have a hard time with sleep in general. 

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4 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I took the rescue med last night and a sleeping pill when I woke up this morning and managed to fall back asleep, but then I was foggy and stupid all day.  

How soon after you woke did you eat and drink water?

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When I wake up in the night, I usually pee and drink some water and then take a sleeping pill and go back to sleep.  Usually I do that once in a night.

In the morning, I wake up, brush teeth, drink water.  Then I ate breakfast pretty soon because my kids were eating when I went downstairs.  Usually, when I was working, we'd go for a walk walk, and then come back and have some breakfast.  

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7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Why?

Overnight blood sugar hormones are different to day time ones. (Don't ask me the details. That's all I managed to absorb from my two bouts with gestational diabetes.)
Dehydrating overnight is a thing and will only be compounded if all you've got time for first thing in the morning is coffee. (For example)

Those sorts of things will contribute to that horrible brain foggy feeling.

 

Edit: Ah, I see I missed a post. If breakfast is carb heavy, it'll contribute to brain fog. 

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Overnight blood sugar hormones are different to day time ones. (Don't ask me the details. That's all I managed to absorb from my two bouts with gestational diabetes.)
Dehydrating overnight is a thing and will only be compounded if all you've got time for first thing in the morning is coffee. (For example)

Those sorts of things will contribute to that horrible brain foggy feeling.

I'm pretty good about drinking.  

I have the constant brain fog of grief and exhaustion, but I can drive with that, and be somewhat functional.  The brain fog from the rescue med is more pronounced.

 

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Posted (edited)

Take magnesium.  80% of people are low in it. 99% of my patients are low in it. People who end up at a chiropractor tend to have tighter muscles than people who don’t. People who hate yoga might have tighter than usual muscles. Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxer. Lack of it can make people tight and  sleepless.

Stress makes you pee out more of it.

Don’t take magnesium oxide, it is cheaper by 1/2 but only 1/10 as absorbable as mag glycinate, malate, citrate, aspartate, chloride, taurate.

Mag malate by Designs for Health is my favorite, mag citrate  is my favorite if patient is constipated. I get all types from emersonecologics.com. Glycinate is my favorite for people who can’t take mag without it making their stools too loose.

Don’t bother testing for it, standard mag tests are serum mag. Serum is an extra cellular fluid. Mag is an intracellular mineral. Don’t expect your doctor to know about it. It is a nutrient. Doctors get 1 hour of nutrition in medical school and one year of pharmacology.

Take it with food. Start with one pill. if your mag has 170-200mg per pill, work up to two to four pills. I needed 5 so that is not unheard of.

It will help sleep if you are low in it but it might not help all the way. Some people need GABA raising nutrients also, like l-theanine, chamomile, lemon balm, melissa. There are supplements that contain all of them in one pill like Gabatone by Apex Energetics, my favorite.

Some people need serotonin boosting things too, like 5-http or tryptophan. It takes a minimum of 200mg of 5-http to do anything. Most people who have tried it on their own, haven’t taken enough of it. Serotonin makes melatonin.

Magnesium has 300 known functions in the body. If you are low in it and have trouble sleeping, you could have 299 other things wrong with you because of it.

If you can’t take pills, there are liquid mags and powdered magnesium that make into drinks also available on Emerson Ecologics.

Any caffeine at all makes sleep harder, even for those who don’t think it effects them.

A brain hack to help someone get out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest” mode is to put firm pressure on both closed eyelids until you see lights. And then hold for 30 seconds.

 

Edited by drjuliadc
Changed the word serotonin to 5-htp
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I've not went through anything nearly as devastating as losing a child but will share what worked for me, in the off chance it might help you.

When I was the most stressed this spring I found that I needed to focus on relaxation not just at night time but all day long. I avoided anything that was the slight bit of stress. Things that normally would be no big deal at all were too much. I just had way too much adrenaline and cortisol in my body all the time. I was just on edge, of course not getting sleep didn't help in the least because you are pushing your body to do more when you don't have the energy. I stopped doing that as much as I could because every time I pushed myself to do something when I was already exhausted that was adrenaline taking over the energy I didn't have and I didn't need more adrenaline.

 

I told dh I didn't want to hear about any conflict at work- no matter how small. I only talked to people that would be supportive and I felt good to talk to. I didn't watch anything that was dramatic or the least scary- only light hearted and happy things. I brought my exercise intensity way down and kept it to morning hours. I practiced some progressive relaxation while in bed and also mindless games- like crosswords and scrabble- things not all that interesting but keep my brain focused. I do better to stay in bed and at least work on relaxing, even if I wake up or having a difficult time sleeping. 

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4 hours ago, drjuliadc said:

Take magnesium.  80% of people are low in it. 99% of my patients are low in it. People who end up at a chiropractor tend to have tighter muscles than people who don’t. People who hate yoga might have tighter than usual muscles. Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxer. Lack of it can make people tight and  sleepless.

Stress makes you pee out more of it.

Don’t take magnesium oxide, it is cheaper by 1/2 but only 1/10 as absorbable as mag glycinate, malate, citrate, aspartate, chloride, taurate.

Mag malate by Designs for Health is my favorite, mag citrate  is my favorite if patient is constipated. I get all types from emersonecologics.com. Glycinate is my favorite for people who can’t take mag without it making their stools too loose.

Don’t bother testing for it, standard mag tests are serum mag. Serum is an extra cellular fluid. Mag is an intracellular mineral. Don’t expect your doctor to know about it. It is a nutrient. Doctors get 1 hour of nutrition in medical school and one year of pharmacology.

Take it with food. Start with one pill. if your mag has 170-200mg per pill, work up to two to four pills. I needed 5 so that is not unheard of.

It will help sleep if you are low in it but it might not help all the way. Some people need GABA raising nutrients also, like l-theanine, chamomile, lemon balm, melissa. There are supplements that contain all of them in one pill like Gabatone by Apex Energetics, my favorite.

Some people need serotonin boosting things too, like 5-http or tryptophan. It takes a minimum of 200mg of serotonin to do anything. Most people who have tried it on their own, haven’t taken enough of it. Serotonin makes melatonin.

Magnesium has 300 known functions in the body. If you are low in it and have trouble sleeping, you could have 299 other things wrong with you because of it.

If you can’t take pills, there are liquid mags and powdered magnesium that make into drinks also available on Emerson Ecologics.

Any caffeine at all makes sleep harder, even for those who don’t think it effects them.

A brain hack to help someone get out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest” mode is to put firm pressure on both closed eyelids until you see lights. And then hold for 30 seconds.

 

I will try that.

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I wish I had something useful to offer here, but the only thing I found to help with sleep while processing grief and extreme stress was utter exhaustion and time to process.  (Or actually, that and a very difficult pregnancy, I guess.)  I hope you get better help from some of these suggestions, and just wanted to offer my care and support for you.

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2 hours ago, Condessa said:

I wish I had something useful to offer here, but the only thing I found to help with sleep while processing grief and extreme stress was utter exhaustion and time to process.  (Or actually, that and a very difficult pregnancy, I guess.)  I hope you get better help from some of these suggestions, and just wanted to offer my care and support for you.

Thank you!

I hate to keep saying no to strategies but the bolder is one we will NOT be experimenting with. 

I hope you are finding solutions to stress too!

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Just now, BaseballandHockey said:

Thank you!

I hate to keep saying no to strategies but the bolder is one we will NOT be experimenting with. 

I hope you are finding solutions to stress too!

Yeah, that'd be one I'd be reluctant to experiment with 😉 . 

What are you planning to try? Do you have a game plan? 

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, that'd be one I'd be reluctant to experiment with 😉 . 

What are you planning to try? Do you have a game plan? 

I'm still experimenting.   I was so sure I had all these days to sleep in, but so far, I had to get up early on Friday for a doctor's appointment I forgot about, and on Saturday because I was timing at a swim meet.  So, taking the rescue med wasn't an option either of those nights.  As predicted, after taking the meds for one night (Wed-Thurs), I had more trouble sleeping the next night because I wasn't as tired. 

We did have a couple days of good weather, so Friday I took all 5 kids minigolfing, which might not count as vigorous exercise but it was something, and today I took 4 of them to see where they're going to be competing in a triathlon in a few weeks, and then for a walk/bike ride/rollerblade around a lake with the dog.  That might help, we'll see.  It's nice to have more time with the kids. 

So, I'm muddling through.  

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Posted (edited)

Can you move your bed? Buy a new bed? Change up the bedding? Switch sides with DH? Something that might help to shift some associations? Switch bedrooms? Wear new silky pajamas that you've never worn before? Put your lamps on voice control if turning out the lights triggering? 

Edited by theelfqueen
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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

You mentioned a swim meet.  Is it possible for you to do some laps yourself either before or after meets/practices?  Swimming is a great exercise for wearing the body out.

No, not really.  I could swim at 7 a.m., there is lap swimming before practice, but the pool is closed for 3 hours for swim team, and then the lap lanes don't open till the evening, and that doesn't work for me.  

I might be able to swim some at a different pool, depending on whether I take meds that prevent driving.

Edited by BaseballandHockey
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Just now, theelfqueen said:

Can you move your bed? Buy a new bed? Change up the bedding? Switch sides with DH? Something that might help to shift some associations? Switch bedrooms? Wear new silky pajamas that you've never worn before? 

We've moved a number of times.  A different bed in a different house in a different state didn't solve it.  

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

We've moved a number of times.  A different bed in a different house in a different state didn't solve it.  

Well darn. I still vote for silky pajamas and things that make bedtime more appealing in a new way. 

Edited by theelfqueen
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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I suggest that you try to avoid the meds, try the swimming at 7am.  You don't have to be good at it or have the stamina to do many laps in order to get the benefits.  Swimming provides a lot of the physical work benefits, plus it's an activity that can help the mind calm as well.  It's difficult to "ruminate unproductively" while swimming, but it's still possible to think, if any of that makes sense. 

 

I wish I could do the 7am swim thing, but I would have to bring my kids and it would end up being more trouble than it's worth.

I need to eat breakfast with my kids, and start the day with them.  It's important to me to see them before they head off for the day.  I also just finished months of waking up at 6:00 to exercise.  It didn't budge my sleep time, and I'm exhausted.  I think I need to find another way.  

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52 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Well you did say that there might be the option of another pool so if the early morning isn't going to work for you, then try that other option.  This isn't so much about the time you do the exercise, it's about the type of exercise you are doing.  Swimming is a different type of exercise than most others and works your body in different ways. 

 

Friday was DH's service, and when 9:30pm hit, I took advantage of DD25 being here, and I left the kids to her.  On the one hand, I felt a bit guilty because DD12 in particular was still processing things, she was crying, etc.  On the other hand, I simply recognized that I could NOT anymore.  I holed up in my room with an adult beverage, some snacks and my tv and I let her deal. 

I can't say this was the best choice for the kids....but it was the choice I had to make. 

 

 

I make those choices too.  I agree that sometimes it’s just what needs to happen.  

But it’s also been almost 3 years since I’ve had the luxury of daytime hours with these two so I need to balance.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

Well you did say that there might be the option of another pool so if the early morning isn't going to work for you, then try that other option.  This isn't so much about the time you do the exercise, it's about the type of exercise you are doing.  Swimming is a different type of exercise than most others and works your body in different ways. 

 

Friday was DH's service, and when 9:30pm hit, I took advantage of DD25 being here, and I left the kids to her.  On the one hand, I felt a bit guilty because DD12 in particular was still processing things, she was crying, etc.  On the other hand, I simply recognized that I could NOT anymore.  I holed up in my room with an adult beverage, some snacks and my tv and I let her deal. 

I can't say this was the best choice for the kids....but it was the choice I had to make. 

 

 

I am sorry you DH’s service was hard.

 

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