Over five years ago I handed in a pink sheet of paper to my supervisor, hands shaking and on the verge of tears. It was definitely a moment that made my stomach turn and my heart rate soar. It read "I will never ever work another night shift ever again. I will eat human feces before I do" Ok, no it didn't. It was my transfer form to the evening shift. I was kissing nights' ass goodbye.
But yet, here I am again, working the wonderful graveyard shift and hating every stinking moment of it. Instead of sitting here and wallowing in my own self pity, I decided to be more constructive. I am going to write about all the heinous and out of character (okay, mostly out of character) things that I have done, said, felt, etc. Some may be ridiculous, even I say "I did that, wtf?!" Despite that these moments sometimes change the way I feel about myself briefly, I know that underneath this overtired, overly emotional, crazy chick I have become, Melissa lies dormant and waiting to break free of her current torture. Anyone have vodka?
If writing these down does nothing more than remind myself of why I need to find a new job, I would consider that an absolute victory.
-You know you work night shift when you can't ever find a sleep schedule that allows you to feel rested. You find you stay up all night and sleep all day. Which equals no life whatsoever. It's a crappy existence.
-When I worked evenings, I would always count the hours of my shift, days of work until a day off. Now that I work nights, I count the hours every day until I can sleep again. My life isn't about living, it's all about sleeping. Something I can't even do well anymore.
-One thing it has helped with is laundry. I don't seem to wear anything besides pajamas and scrubs. I have no motivation to get ready on my days off. Which means I don't do anything, and I know that is bad.
-I have not had the energy to clean a damn thing in this house. The dust bunnies started breeding, the dog hair has weaved its own blankets and if it weren't for my husband we would be eating out of the dog dishes.
-I've lost my appetite which could be considered as a good thing. I am eating, but it is more sporadic with my schedule. I find that I only eat one meal and a snack on the days I work. I can't fit in anymore. When I get home from work in the morning, I want to sleep. I wake up, shower, eat something and go back to work. I have a snack at night because I can't eat during the night. When I get home, I repeat the cycle. I don't believe this is very healthy. Unless I'm eating a Big Mac, Fries and a Shamrock Shake (which I'm not), I'm pretty sure I am not getting my expected calories in.
- While sitting down for my 30 minutes of relaxation/dinner time between shifts, I realized that I didn't bring a knife to cut my food. Instead of just simply getting up and getting one, I got all upset, tears running down my face..."All I want is a moment to myself and now I have to get up to get a knife." It was as if I had to walk to china to get that last piece of the puzzle. My husband decided he would be a champ and walked 10 feet into said china and upon receiving my gift of cutlery, I continued on as if nothing had happened.
-After working Friday night into Saturday, we had to go to the in-law's for dinner. You would have thought someone was requesting my attendance at a funeral of an enemy. In my head, all I could think was that I wanted to stay home and I was being yanked from my happiness. If it wasn't bad enough that I wasn't sleeping more than 3-4 hours a day, I was being told that on my only day off I HAD to go somewhere, and my emotions were in high gear. At the gas station I even went all big eyed with a crazy bobble head move in my husband's face. Then proceeded to cry the entire way to my in-law's house, babbling about all the things I hate. Do you want that for your company?
-After working just two nights in a row, I need two days to recover with a third day off to feel normal again. With my current schedule, I'm not getting the third day off. I worked Wednesday night into Thursday, slept for 2 1/2 hours on Thursday after my shift and was up all night. I slept for about 2 hours on Friday morning but couldn't sleep the rest of the day. I couldn't sleep at all Friday night and had to get up at 4 am to work a day shift on Saturday. I went 39 hours without sleep that day. Before going to work I cried so hard, I threw up. I screamed at the top of my lungs while slamming the bedroom door "I can't do this" and told my husband I hated him for sleeping. This moment made both my husband and I realize that night shift does NOT agree with me.
If I continue to work night shift, I have a feeling that we will need to buy new doors more often since I seem to break them when I slam them. My strength is over powering.
If I continue to work night shift, I fear that I will need some sort of medication to get through. Whether its for sleep, anxiety or depression. Not something I ever thought would happen to me. One, I love sleep and have never had a problem sleeping long peaceful hours. Two, I've always been able to find my center and let myself cool off without needing assistance from medication. Without sleep, I am a very scary person that I don't even recognize.
My husband has been so good through all of this. I feel bad that I'm not handling it the way I thought I would or how I think I should. I want to be stronger than this. Maybe it's just not for me and I should have listened to my gut when I knew this job was a night shift. I should have listened to myself when I thought "hey I sucked at that before, why do it again?"
You live and you learn. You make bad decisions and then you just have to make another choice. I am choosing to be happy in this life, and it does not involve night shift.
Thanks for listening to my rant if you have! On the flip side, I slept for 12 hours last night and feel like a new woman! This will last for exactly two days, then back to that fire laden pit of my life called the night shift.