‘I have a circadian rhythm disorder. It’s called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Basically, my body tells me that four o’clock in the morning is bedtime so while everyone else’s biological clock says bedtime is at ten o’clock at night, mine doesn’t. I dealt with it all through high school where I was up all night and would fall asleep in classes because I couldn’t stay awake and didn’t know why. Everyone said, ‘oh, you’re just a teenager…you’ll grow out of it.’ When I got older, I found a graveyard job that was so easy for me. It felt perfect.
Then I got married and my husband would be ready for bed around midnight but I wasn’t. We went to a sleep doctor who looked at my patterns and he told me what I have. It’s common to go away when you turn eighteen or nineteen. I’m twenty-four now and I have a baby. Everyone said I’d be OK if I match my sleep schedule with hers but she wants to go to sleep at ten and wake up at eight. I try to get to bed between two and three in the morning so I can be awake for her, but I’m always tired and I’m always going to have to deal with being tired.
There’s no cure for something like this. I wish people could understand that, with work, I’m just not physically able to come in early in the morning. The dream is to have a job from eleven in the morning until nine at night. The medical community is pretty casual about it. The doctors tell me to work around it as best as I can but, I can’t do that with a newborn. When I think of the future, I’m afraid of all the things I’m going to miss. I’m afraid I’m going to miss her firsts…her first day of school, her school activities, her birthday parties. I’m scared that I’ll sleep through something special or that she could hurt herself while I’m asleep. It’s all right that I haven’t seen the sun rise in years but I hate that I could actually miss my daughter’s special moments.’