Tiredness is a big part of my life. Not the “oh I need a nap” tiredness but the bone crushing weariness that comes from not being able to sleep properly for months on end.
At the shelter it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep. With 20 women in one house we all share a room with at least one other person, and as many as four others. Doors bang constantly, there’s shouting in the middle of the night, people coming in and out of the room, arguments. It’s like trying to sleep through a jet taking off right next to your head.
The beds are all bunks, with metal slabs and a mattress that is literally no more than an inch thick. Trying to get comfortable in them is an impossible task. After a few days all your joints ache, your back hurts and you feel like you just can’t relax.
I’m thankful for the shelter providing me with a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in, but the lack of sleep, the interrupted sleep, gets to you after a while.
My mental health becomes worse. I have severe PTSD, and ironically as my sleep quality gets less, my horrific nightmares increase. I become scared to go to sleep because of the nightmares. So I stay up for days at a time.
My mood swings when I’m tired. My ability to cope lessens. My concentration wanes. My anxiety increases. My judgement gets skewed and I make stupid decisions. I feel that my depression gets worse. And then I sleep. For anything up to 18 hours in one go. It’s as if my body can’t hold out anymore and just shuts down.
Feeling bone tired is, in itself, exhausting. I’ve found myself almost standing up asleep when I’m panhandling. I fall asleep on the bus regularly. I feel my joints aching and my head hurting. If I sit down for five minutes I’m likely to nod off.
The reality is the same for a lot of homeless women I’ve met. While the shelters provide for our basic needs, it’s not a home. It’s not a place equipt for long term residency. The mix of characters who reside in the shelter have different ways of living, and it can be hard to relax. Tempers fray when others don’t consider those who are trying to sleep. I’ve seen more arguments break out during the night than during the day. Obviously alcohol and drugs play a part in that, but sometimes it can be people who are being loud downstairs disturbing those trying to sleep that can be the spark that ignites the gunpowder.
It’s hard to drag yourself up when you are tired. It’s hard to be positive, to try and focus on a light at the end of the tunnel, to remember that I still have hopes and dreams that one day I’ll be able to realize. I try to stay as positive as I can, despite feeling so weary. I need to hold on to that hope and those dreams.
UPDATE: I have been asked to have my immigration medical, and need to raise around $200 as soon as possible. If you feel you can help then I have a gofundme account gofundme.com/2t6y7ds4 and would be grateful for any assistance. Namaste