Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo of the day: Fractured sleep

Fractured sleep, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
For the past two years, I've strugged with exhaustion. In 2009 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and after a lot of trial and error, I finally began sleeping better with an oral appliance that keeps my airway open during the night. This winter, the problems returned, and it now appears that I'm suffering, as well, from "central apneas," where the brain simply neglects to send signals to the lungs to breathe--in my case, about five times per hour, all night long. The lack of oxygen triggers the brain to wake up, just enough to disrupt my sleep but not enough to remember. I start breathing again, and the process repeats. My dreams--really just my consciousness surfing the waves on the surface of sleep--are pretty interesting.

I created this image in an attempt to capture what the effects of this condition feel like. I live my days feeling half awake, half in a surreal dream state. My thoughts struggle to come together, but it feels like my synapses aren't aligned properly. Time exists in a strange state where every moment feels the same as every other, with no sense of the passage of time between them. Whole days go by without feeling like time has moved. I observe my life and feel detatched from it.

I'm looking forward, now, to another sleep study, which hopefully will not only confirm my diagnosis but test solutions for dealing with it. Meanwhile, I look in the mirror, and see a fractured soul.

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