Shift work and my four-letter-thing

14 Feb

It’s 3:30 AM and I can’t sleep.

It’s 3:30 AM on a Friday morning, exactly 6 days and 12 1/2 hours after starting work after a glorious 4 weeks of normal rhythm…

And I am screwed.

I can’t sleep because shift work shifted me out of my natural rhythm, stealing my sense of when I am.

Sleep deprivation worsens my ADHD symptoms, even the kind of qualitative deprivation caused by, well, getting too bed too late and missing out on those melatonin rich hours before midnight.

I tried to relax and get ready around 11PM. I got distracted, my body no longer responding to ‘I am tired, time for bed’ because with shift work it can’t afford to. Supposedly I should listen to the clock…. Except that time as dictated by a clock has no inherent meaning to me. Listening to a clock costs a lot of attention, something I don’t have when sleep deprived.

I see a circle.

To make it worse, my home is once again crashing into chaos because I am too occupied with just getting through the day, tired and trying to figure out when I am. I used to have a plan, but I lost it in the chaos.

My GP got a little frustrated about me trying to take care of all of my business in one go. I tried to explain that I needed to, before chaos happened. She didn’t get what I was saying, thought I meant I wanted to sort stuff before my training starts.

No, I just needed to ride the wave of relative normalcy and energy before this happened again. Because for example, I still hadn’t made an appointment with the podologist, over a week later, and I really don’t know when I will manage to. It just landed on the massive stack of ‘didn’t get round to in the few days I had’.

The hard part is I have to get my shit together with low energy and no concept of time or regularity. My rather extreme irregular schedule left me incapable of remembering what I am doing the next day, I have no reference to remember it by. I used to be pretty good at that. No point to even try using Sundays as a reference; as a friend suggested… Sunday could be just a work day too. Managing to get myself to church is a massive accomplishment.

And then there is the part where fatigue and confusion and enhanced ADHD screws my plans and makes fun into stress. It’s valentines day. Plan (fun) was to surprise TDH with a living room picnic. I had already forgotten all my brilliant ideas, and now I will be stressed out tomorrow trying to get just a normal meal done because that’s what happens. I am behind on my housework; and I wanted to make something special out of my living room. I have no idea what to cook.

I have no idea what to do in general; this shift work thing severely impairs my limited ability to plan, execute my plans or to simply get anything done.

I can’t concentrate anywhere outside of work. Work is pretty much a clear cut setting. So, yes; I am functioning at work. Yet; my private life is crashing and burning and I am being frustrated by how little I get done. And how overwhelming simple tasks have become; tasks I did while on the phone a week ago.

And then TDH isn’t really helping me set a date for stuff, and I need him, so that’s another thing I’ll worry about and then probably forget.. Only to remember when it’s too late. That’s why I tried to sort it out TODAY.

Because everything is just too much when you combine ADHD with shift work. (Well, in my case anyway)


Posted by on February 14, 2014 in ADHD, Health, Work


Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Shift work and my four-letter-thing

  1. David

    December 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I am a 45 yr old male. I have worked shift work all of my working life. I make an excellent wage have raised a family (functional enough) I have somehow held it all together but no one will ever know the struggles unless they have been there. I feel your pain. Best and Worst advice I have ever received “Endeavor to persevere”

    • busydarling

      December 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Thank you!

      I have however decided to limit shift work when possible. During the last bit of my pregnancy I couldn’t manage it at all!


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