New Year Habits

I haven’t wrote a post in so long that I think I legitimately forgot how to start one. I guess there isn’t one solid way to begin a blog post, but I just sat here for 5 minutes not sure what the first word would be. That’s what I get for all but abandoning my blog the last few months of the year.

Actually, it wasn’t even the last few months of 2017 that I essentially forgot I had a website, rather the whole second half of the year was light on posts. I know exactly why, and it’s because I got lazy and forgot to keep up with it. That is a big portion of the reason why I even created my website in the first place- just to have something to consistently put effort into, so I would develop that habit. 

It’s the 4th of January now, and while I normally like having a set of ‘resolutions’ started on the very first day of the year, it doesn’t make much of a difference if it’s a few days later. After all, I have all the year to try and complete my resolutions. But, I want to stop calling them “resolutions”, because I don’t think what I have in mind are any kind of goals or things that can be checked off a to-do list and done with. There’s a difference between a resolution and a new habit, for certain.

As an example, if you read my blog early last year, you’d remember that one of my goals for 2017 was to simply learn the guitar, or have a decent handle on the basics by the beginning of this year. Well, not only did I forget about that, but I also held true to the idea of a resolution when I made that a priority – once you learn the guitar’s notes, strings, etc, you essentially ‘check that off’. I grew to really dislike that idea, that there are certain accomplishments I should have in a calendar year. Because, not only do those rarely get done in the span of 12 months, but they often do not have any long term impact, which is really what I think I should be going for this year.

I always try to develop better habits, and sometimes I trick myself into believing that I can take on one too many and end up getting nothing done. So, I think a better approach for myself is to just write down a few (maybe 2-3) life habits that I want to change/add and try to get those set in place before 2018 is over.

Last year, I wanted to just overall eat a healthier diet, and rely less on junk food. And, for most of the year, I did that- I kind of let loose the past few months, because I got bored. But, even from that small change, I learned a lot about diet and how it affects you. I started paying attention to the nutrients in my breakfast, started researching why your body needs the food you eat, and even today I’d say I am better off because of the stuff I learned trying to accomplish that habit.

If I can do something like that this year, where I develop a habit that becomes second nature to me by next year, then I have something clear that I can take away from the year. It’s a bit pointless to me to create a list of goals to simply accomplish, because the numerical year doesn’t really have anything to do with that. I’d much rather have a new year be a turning point in some bad habit or the creation of a new good habit.

I have a lot of things I feel I should change- sleeping schedule, self control, diet (again), exercise habits, eliminate procrastination- the list goes on. I kind of have to look at this group of things first before I decide what I need to be focusing most on. This is sort of my process for making progress, so go ahead and read on if you’re interested.

Well, first and foremost, like I said, I need to visualize the actual things I wanna do. For me, writing this blog post is doing just that- I’m making sure I’m not forgetting by actually putting it to the keyboard. I need to do this personally, because I tend to be forgetful. Organization is something I can be good at if I put the effort in, I just constantly don’t, so my website was also made in part to help that out.

Second, I try to get myself to understand that I realistically can’t make all of these changes all at once for this year- I feel like I’m not alone when I say I try really hard to get all of my stuff done early and all-at-once (the first few months of the year), and then just end up getting nothing done because I didn’t focus particularly well on any one things. Spreading attention is not very effective, and it’s always going to be a better bet to choose a few of these resolutions and choose the most important. For me, I think a better sleeping schedule should be priority one. I have always stayed up late, and I usually sleep a bunch, so a lot of my days this past years have been cut short, and that needs to stop. Being up late at night is really enjoyable to me, however, because I have alone time and most of my friends want to hangout then anyway. But, I have stayed up too late for too long- and I lose a lot of potential productive hours in the day because of it.

So, next step for me is to put a more detailed plan for the goal. I’m going to make it my goal to go to sleep no later than 2 am. I know- 2 am is still late- but trust me, for me, it’s not. I also need to be getting good sleep, but not oversleep, so I wanna roughly be up before 11 am on most days. Again, not early to you, but very early for me. By doing something like this, putting a rough frame around the resolution, I think it makes things a bit more practical and easier to adhere to.

This is one of the things I wanna fix about myself this year. Another thing? My website. I really need to make 2018 the year where I consistently post updates to my blog- maybe once a week at the least- because it really does make me become more productive overall. If I write, I seem to remember that I have stuff going on every day, because I’m doing a bit of work- it may be easy and sometimes fun, but sometimes it’s not, and there is a bit of willpower required to write regardless of the circumstances. Having the responsibility of blogging every so often gives me something to capture my attention regularly, and makes sure that I’m not procrastinating on at least one thing.

Here’s to the best year yet.

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 3:36 PM

 

The Case for Eradicating Anxiety

You know something that really sucks, something that we all deal with in varying forms, yet serves little purpose? You guessed it, anxiety.

Now, don’t get me wrong, anxiety does have a historical purpose, I get that. We needed anxiety to evolve- in a primitive sense, if you never worried about “hey, I might die today if that lion sees me”, then, you’d probably have died out of sheer obliviousness. Now, obviously that example does not really hold water in today’s society, as we don’t really have to worry about an everyday survival type of anxiety. But, even in the modern age (Strokes reference) we have to worry. It’s a function built into us, and we can’t just avoid anxiety altogether. You will face it at some point. Some of it is warranted and really does help you out. You probably would never ace a test if you didn’t have an anxious feeling telling you that you needed to study to perform. Or, you’d probably get into a lot of arguments (and some fist fights) if you didn’t worry about the outcome of what you say. But, for the most part, once you’ve learned, you’ve learned- and anxiety can then become excessive, and at times serve no real purpose. For the sake of this post, I’m going to be talking mostly about social anxiety. Some of the most pointless anxiety, I might add.

Social norms are important in our world, or at least we make them out to be. We all want to fit in, we all curb our thoughts and words according to who’s listening. For the most part, social anxiety is a good indicator that you care, and people like when others care about them. Duh.

But, so much of social anxiety is just flat out pointless. I personally have struggled with social anxiety for all of my life. In high school, I’d worry endlessly about the speech I had in a week. I’d never approach a person in class, I was worried I’d come off as awkward and they probably don’t wanna talk anyway. There’s no reason for all of this “meta-cognitive” worry- this worry about things that could happen if you did something. Worrying about worrying. A bit of social anxiety is okay, it keeps you sane to the people listening, and from being obnoxious- some people really don’t wanna talk. However, I find that social anxiety is something that often times just is serving no purpose, and needs to be eliminated. I see it that way. I want to eradicate it for good, that’s my goal.

Not only is social anxiety often pointless, but what’s worse, is that it is one of the single biggest hinderances. It hinders and weighs you down. How many times have you thought  about the things you could have said if you weren’t so nervous? Maybe you don’t think that, because you already say what you want, but if you’re like me and have been weighed down by the burden of being socially anxious, you know exactly what I’m referring to. I can’t tell you the amount of wrong first impressions I’ve made because I was anxious, how many awkward conversations I’ve uttered because I was nervous, or flat out how many people I’ve ruled out of my life because I wasn’t being myself. It sounds super depressing, but I know I’m not the only one who’s dealt with it, so I’m not feeling bad for myself. But there is another point for the complete elimination of anxiety: it holds you down for little to no reason.

Another thing I particularly hate about anxiety is the ‘awkward’ part of it. Why is someone awkward, or better yet what makes a conversation “awkward”? I’ll tell you my idea of what the cause of it is: not being yourself. I watched a video the other day, where it explained that no one is boring. And, I can’t agree more- nobody who’s lived a life is boring. Everyone has a story, and that in itself is exciting. You and I have equally interesting stories to tell if we really wanted to. I could tell you about my documentary I wrote, directed and edited, you could tell  me about your 2 year relationship, or something else personal to you. But, when we decide to hold back on these topics, for fear of revealing ourselves and being rejected (aka, social anxiety in another form), we come off as boring because we don’t share what makes our life interesting. Why don’t we? I don’t know. Because we have this anxiety shit to deal with, and there’s no real purpose for it. So, you’re not boring.

And, you’re not awkward. I tend to refer to myself as an awkward person, but I’m truly not- I just am awkward when my social anxiety clouds my thoughts and makes speaking words and having conversation difficult. I forget that small talk is not nearly as entertaining as deep talk, and then I tend to anticipate too much, and before you know it, it’s gotten awkward. But, I’ve had days where I feel myself and I speak my mind- and then, like magic, I’m not awkward at all. I’m who I am, and I don’t feel uncomfortable. The change was that, for whatever reason, I wasn’t anxious that day- and it revealed my true self.

We all have that ‘true self’, and social anxiety or just generalized anxiety can morph that person without our conscience effort. So, fuck anxiety. Kill it, get rid of it.

I like to think I’ve come a long way from ‘high school level nervousness’. With the help of practice, medication, and experience, I don’t really feel the burden of social anxiety anymore. Sure, I still get nervous and anxious, and I always will have a degree of that, but I like to think for the most part that I’ve beaten it. Do I miss it? Hell no. Not one bit. It’s useless, social anxiety. I couldn’t be myself when it was really bad.

My advice to you, is to see it this way- get rid of anxiety. If you have it, make this a priority on your mental to-do list, if you have one (if you don’t, get one asap): eliminate anxiety. If you feel you can’t do it by conscious effort, or you’ve tried it and it hasn’t really helped all that much, let me offer some natural supplements that help- phenibut and L-Theanine. Both are 100 percent legal supplements that have worked wonders for me. If you’re interested, give them a look up- they’re cheap, natural, and totally legal. No guilt in using supplements if you have a problem, that’s what they’re there for. And, lastly, if you’re trying to obliterate anxiety for good, you still need to make effort. That’s how I see it- no matter what, keep trying it. Fight through the uncomfortable until it’s comfortable.

Anxiety is non-essential, cut it off for good.

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 11:31 PM

 

Thoughts on Introversion/Extraversion

Yes my site is still alive, and so am I. It’s been about a month since I posted on here, and that was in August-I only managed to write one post that entire month. And, as September is wrapping up, this is the first time I have decided to write. It’s not the most efficient way to gain a following, to put it nicely. But, for the fans of my website, the few of you, not to worry. I still intend on writing for this site for a while, and I am going to make a conscious effort to finish 2017 strong in terms of blog posts. So with that out of the way:

I’ve been really pretty busy for the past ~ month or so. And, in a very normal sense of the term. I have no new video projects, or art pieces to describe, as it’s not that I’ve been occupied with that sort of stuff, but the usual: work and school. I’ve been working close to 40 hours a week for almost two months or so now, because my job has been short staffed, and with my classes going on now, I don’t have as much free time as I did say at the beginning of the summer.

I kind of like it, to be completely honest. It keeps me active, I’m making money, I’m working towards my degree, I’m doing stuff that matters. On the flip side, though, is less time for creative outlets such as my website.

One thing I did in some free time this weekend, however, is revisit the Myers-Briggs Personality test. You know, the one that everyone knows about, and the same one I took and wrote about in a post at the start of the year. It’s really interesting stuff, and as I said before, it’s very accurate, at least for me.

I took it again, and got the same result: INFP. The dreamer/mediator.

So, if anything, this just confirms again that I fall into this category. What was different, this time around? Well, I tried answering even more truthfully, if that makes sense. Not that I wasn’t trying to be 100 percent honest the first time I took it, but I spent more time on it and thought through my responses more. Imagining more scenarios. Thinking about past experiences in which the question came up. That sort of thing. And, as a result, only one thing came back different, and that was the part- the introversion part. First time around, I think it was something like I was 60 percent introverted as opposed to 40 percent extraverted. This time, it was a 90 percent introversion spread. Which, to be fair, I think is a bit more on the dot.

I’ve always been an introvert, I know it, my family knows it, and my friends know it. There is no debating it, unless something drastically changes, I am a typical introvert. I can’t really be much more introverted than I already am. I mention this because I feel like a lot of people (online, in person, etc) claim they are introverted when we know they are not. They may have some traits, they might mix up ‘introversion’ and ‘shyness’, that kind of thing.

I don’t know why some people are introverted and some are extraverted. It’s in genetics, in part, and the other part is experiences. Growing up, what you see and do can have a pretty big impact on how you are socially.

Nothing exciting happened to cue my general quietness, sorry to disappoint. I know you were probably hoping for some juicy backstory, but there isn’t one. I just always have been this way. Apparently, as a young kid, I would refuse to talk unless completely necessary- my mom said that when I wanted something, I would just point at it and grunt until I was like 5 years old. In grade school, I was always the shy kid, I always had a friend group but the ones I invited over were few and far between. Never wanted to walk in the middle of my family when we took walks. High school rolls around, I try the whole ‘popular thing’ with the basketball crew, and I always find myself skipping out on the dinners and being the odd one out. Present day, I accept my view more, and realize I need that alone time. Anyways.

Do you ever think that the population of extroverts is small, or at least dwindling? That might sound a bit dramatic.

Seriously, though. I feel like more often than not, people are more and more introverted, and that socially confident person in the group is becoming less and less common. It’s a gift to be naturally extraverted- to be born with a sense of wanting to socialize and doing it fairly well from the get go, I understand that. Practically everyone who wants to be more outgoing has to make a conscious effort, to a degree. Being outgoing is learned. However, the difference that I find separates someone from being categorized as a extrovert/introvert lies behind desire. 

Anyone can be more sociable and improve their people skills. It’s true- with some practice, maybe a little help from medication (I’m talking only if you have social anxiety or anxiety that is mentally holding you back-not recreational drug use), and some self motivation, you and anyone else can be a better talker. However, when you do this, you practice it, maybe multiple times, whether or not you enjoy it is what makes the distinction, in my eyes.

I have forced myself to go out countless times, to parties, friend-kickbacks, family gatherings, you name it. And, for some part, I always will do that- you can’t be a hermit and say no to everything, even if the majority of the time you want to stay in for the night.  And, not all nights do I wanna stay in- there are plenty of nights this summer that I was away from home with friends. In fact, even a majority I’d say. The catch? They were all my closest friends. The people I know best and have taken a long time to get to know, there is more desire for me because I feel way more relaxed and at home with them. My friend David mentioned something to this point the other night- he had some other friends over that he hadn’t seen in a while, and when they left he said he’d honestly felt a bit ‘relieved’- he felt more relaxed and calm with me since we’d been hanging out so much this summer. It was something he was used to, and because of that, it was less socially taxing to him. 

I’ve learned that I require a lot of motivation to go hangout with new people, if there is no close friend in the group. And, if I decide to stave off my natural inclination to ‘hang a different night’ with the group, I find myself pretty exhausted mentally when I get back.

A sort of formula could even be made up for this phenomenon. Using made up numbers, I’ll put together my quantitative definition of an introvert vs an extrovert:

An introvert is something like for every 1 hour spent with a relatively new group of friends, they need something like 2-3 hours alone to reflect or just be alone. On the opposite of this made up formula, an extrovert would take an hour with that same group and maybe need no alone time to reflect, in fact they might want more than an hour in the group in the first place. You get the point? Sure, you can go out and you can even be with friends often, but what can define you as quiet or reserved vs ‘life of the crowd’ is how much you desire to do it, and how much satisfaction you get from it.

So what do you think you are?

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 11:02 PM

Clinical Procrastination

This site still exists.

I need to put that there because, at this point, a lot of people who followed my blog probably have wondered if I’ve just thrown in the towel on blogging. Well, I haven’t, I’ve just forgotten time and time again to write stuff. I’ve even planned a few posts, put them off a few days, and then days morph to weeks, and here we are, the 2nd or maybe 3rd post in ~2 months.

It’s a shame because I’ve always acknowledged that ‘consistency is key’ and all of that, yet I have periods where I ignore that statement completely. Truly, if I want a consistent and true following on anything, I’d have to learn to push past procrastination.

The mighty, infamous, procrastination. Likely, you’ve done it before, you’ve heard your friend talk about it before, and you’re pretty familiar with the word itself. It’s the lazy man’s choice in high school- why do today what you can out off ’til tomorrow? Well, because it’s a habit, and in some ways, an addiction.

I don’t mean to say I’m addicted to procrastination, because I hate the act, but I seem to constantly keep coming back to it. Just ask my Mom what my biggest weakness is; she will probably tell you all about my procrastination issue.

It’s almost to the point now where it feels somewhat involuntary. Like, I procrastinate so often that it’s just part of ‘the process’ at this point. It has seemed uncontrollable at times, but that may be a bit dramatic.

For example, my New Year’s Resolutions tell the story pretty well. I said I’d learn guitar, I did for about 3-4 months, and now I haven’t picked up the instrument since June. I also made it a point that I’d get a documentary churned out by this year, and although I actually saw that goal to completion, it took maybe 2 months longer than I planned it to. I also have just generally procrastinated this summer a lot- oil needed to be changed on my car at the end of June, routine maintenance light needs to be shut off, need to finalize my decision on a college to go to after this semester, etc. The list really goes on and on, and I feel like addressing the issue (procrastination) only slightly alleviates the problem, yet I haven’t been able to more or less ‘cure’ myself of it. It’s truly the one symptom of ADD that I believe I actually do have. Earlier this year, when I was on ADD medication and still weighing the chance that maybe “yeah, I do have ADD”, that was the one thing that strung my curiosity along: I am a master procrastinator. That is the one thing that made me think I maybe did have ADD, because when I look objectively on my life and the sort, I’ve always stumbled upon putting things off until tomorrow. I still have iOS9, I have been clicking the ‘remind me tomorrow’ button on my laptop for months, you get the point. I can stop it though, if I wanted to. Wait, but, can I? It’s the same kind of thing drug addicts say about their drug addiction. Well, I could stop smoking if I wanted to. I could never open another bottle of beer if I truly desired that. Well, think about it- could you? 

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 3:56 PM

Cold Showers and Coffee

Ahh, just in time before July ends! I think that’s…two posts this month? Man. If I had a following, I’d have lost them by now, surely. The key to keeping people interested is really consistency, and man have I been the opposite of that this summer. I remember I thought about doing a “post-a-day” thing, where I’d make a new post for each day. Safe to say that didn’t happen, but does it really matter? Eh.

There is no real reason as to why I’ve been absent from my website, I just haven’t felt like writing about much. Summer has been good, but it has been really quite normal if that makes sense. I’ve basically just been working, hanging out with friends, and making some videos.

Oh, by the way, my documentary is finally finished and posted. Took me long enough. It came out alright, it definitely feels like it could’ve been better. But, that’s how I feel about every thing I make after it’s made- not to worry, I’m working on new videos already. Here is the link to “The Pursuit of Prescription” (my mini documentary):

 

Check it out if ya want.

Anyways, I did want to write tonight, as evident by what you’re reading. I’m not abandoning my site, promise. Never was gonna just let it sit and disappear, I just don’t wanna force writing. I’ve been pretty “at peace” all summer, and thus, no real writing inspiration. Writing usually comes about when there are troubles or fortunes, it’s never really something you think about doing when you’re just comfortable doing what you’re doing.

One thing that’s happened of note is I finally cut ties with amphetamine. It was a 4-5 month relationship and I couldn’t really wait to find a way out. It seemed I wasn’t going to ‘find a way out’ for the longest time- it seemed like I was gonna rely on vyvanse or adderall or some edgy stimulant for the end of time. Because, it was supposed to fix my ‘ADD’ or whatever- really, I needed it for my alertness. I’ve gone over this before- it was a double edged sword. 

Why a double edged sword? Well, I wanted to stay on it, because it (vyvanse, aka extended release amphetamine/adderall) kept me more awake, and reduced my urge to nap, and I got more done on it, naturally.

Whilst having that productivity and general increase in wakefulness, however, there was a hefty load of anxiety, social anxiety, robotic-ness, and overall flatline emotion. Never feeling like myself. Feeling too anxious to go on dates. Feeling too robotic to joke. Not being  able to wholeheartedly laugh. Ask anyone that’s had to rely on amphetamine or the similar, they’ll tell you. Or maybe they won’t, or maybe you yourself have been on it and don’t really follow. Well, a CNS stimulant as powerful as anything with amphetamine in it is going to magnify anxiety, so if you’re an anxious person, strap yourself in. You’re in for a ride.

I read a post that someone made online in regards to adderall/vyvanse. They titled it something like “amphetamine; the drug you learn to hate”, and the post was devoted to explaining the stages of getting accustomed to being on a stimulant. Starts off as “wow, this stuff is amazing!” to “ehh, I’m getting more done but ehh”, all the way to “holy shit I’m agitated all of the time”.

How did I find a way out of it? Well, as much as I wanna say that I cured my sleep issue, that’s not what happened, but rather I found something else that just works much better.

First, I’ve cleaned up my diet quite a bit this summer. More vegetables, fruit, coconut/MCT oil, curcumin, methylated folate, antioxidants, etc. I had to get that part nailed down, because if anything health related is going to be fixed, it starts with lifestyle, in my opinion. Then, I started exercising daily again- I’m getting back into basketball, and hopefully by August I’ll be in the weight room. So first, natural stuff has helped.

Next, I started doing new habits and minor things like that. I don’t know how much all of my 2 am Google science research will help in the future, but it definitely is time well spent, in my eyes. Figuring out all of my issues, relating them to people online- it doesn’t scare me, in fact, it does the opposite. The more knowledge I have, the better off I am. I believe that. Minor little habits also have helped; for example, I haven’t taken a warm shower in weeks. Cold water every day- the willpower it takes to hop in has gotta be doing something for me. I (literally) feel it.

Reducing sugar, less dairy, less processed food, less snacking, I’m sure has done a lot to help. But, the medication switch is what has allowed me to leave vyvanse in the rearview like I’ve wanted to for a while. I am now on what’s called modafinil, and man I couldn’t recommend the stuff enough. Well, if you have sleep issues, that is. Modafinil (or ProVigil) is not amphetamine, it is technically qualified as a ‘CNS stimulant’, but what it really is is a “wakefulness promoting drug”. That is what I needed, something that was simply designed to just wake me up. 

I’ve said this all along, I told all of my doctors this same thing: I’m sleepy, I’m not having attention issues, I’m just sleepy. It’s always funny to me to hear some doctor’s responses: “You’re not sleepy”. Think I’m bullshitting you? Nope! One of my doctors literally told me that to my face. Safe to say, I stopped visiting that dude. He’s a waste of my time, if he’s going to tell me what I feel. Now before I get angry talking about that man, I’ll continue along with why modafinil has flipped the switch.

It’s subtle. My heart doesn’t race on it. It’s not that strong at all, but it clears my mind up better than anything yet. It makes me feel ‘normal’, which is just what I wanted. I still can feel sleepy on it, but the edge of sleepiness is much gone. I don’t need to nap, and I have more and more wakeful moments on it. Best part? No more anxiety on it. I feel like myself, I am being myself, and people are noticing. All my coworkers are asking where this new “joking Luca” came from. They just don’t know it’s who I always was, underneath that shit amphetamine mask.

Modafinil is a medication for sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder, and narcolepsy. It’s not for ADD. If a healthy individual takes it, they won’t feel much, maybe just a cleared head. Many people online claim modafinil/provigil to be the “limitless drug”, a ‘cognitive enhancer’, a smart drug. I’ll be the first to tell you, so you don’t waste your time- it’s not that. It’s so subtle and calm that it’s almost like a vitamin supplement. For me, though, a person who’s always sleepy for seemingly no reason, it helps me level the playing field.

So that’s been an update on what’s going on with me lately. I’ve been comfortable, I’ve felt like myself, and I don’t feel the need to do any much more than that. It’s good to be back!

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 2:29 AM

Sleep Pseudoscience

This is going to be a weird post, I’m just going to start with that. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘google research’ about sleep, sleep cycles, sleep disorders, and all of the related. I’ve done plenty before, not just because I am trying to understand my own sleep issues, but because it’s a genuinely interesting subject.

Sleep is actually relatively mysterious to the scientific community. That sentence alone took me personally by surprise, as I thought that much of it was understood at this point. But, no- scientists don’t know much about it, they don’t know why a lot of the sleep disorders that people have exist, and they don’t even confidently know why we dream at night. I don’t know about you, but that fact shocks me. I guess I put too much confidence in science with thinking we had it all figured out, but regardless, there’s always going to be more to find out.

I’ve got an idea, maybe an unofficial theory, about a sleep disorder that is probably regarded as the most mysterious of them all. And, I’m gonna attempt to explain it in simple terms, without dragging on, because I’m selling myself on it and I want other people to be sold. Maybe a professional research scientist will read this and he will get funding and figure out a solution to a currently-solution-less disorder. I’m just joking, by the way, but read on if you’re interested.

So the disorder I’m referring to is known as “idiopathic hypersomnia”. Never heard of it? I don’t blame you. I’d never heard of it before I got technically “diagnosed” with it. The idea of this disorder is just a blanket term when they don’t know what’s making you sleepy, really. No, that’s exactly what the term exists for- the word “idiopathic” means of unknown origin, and “hypersomnia” is just a fancy word for super-sleepy. In simple terms, this disorder is “super sleepy for an unknown reason”. Could be anything- anemia, depression, chronic fatigue, etc. But, they can’t figure it out, so they diagnose this. It’s pretty rare, because there are so many other causes for sleepiness, and once they are all ruled out (or, one is misdiagnosed), you’re left with idiopathic hypersomnia.

Usually, idiopathic hypersonic is associated with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep-wake disorder where your brain can’t regulate sleep cycles normally, causing you to wake up a lot during the night and potentially be so tired during the day that you fall asleep. The difference in the two is very blurred. They both have all of the same symptoms, except muscle weakness known as cataplexy is unique to narcolepsy, and narcoleptics usually fall into REM sleep immediately upon napping. Oh, by the way- the diagnostic ‘test’ for narcolepsy is a series of naps, and they measure how long it takes you to fall asleep… to see that you’re actually sleepy and you’re not faking it or misinterpreting it. You fall asleep on most of the 5 naps under 8 minutes, and enter REM in any of the naps, you get narcolepsy as the diagnosis. You fall asleep in the same amount of  naps in the same amount of time (aka, you’re just as sleepy), yet you don’t hit REM sleep in any naps, you’re diagnosed with IH.

So, as the word suggests, this disorder hasn’t been solved. ‘Idiopathic’ anything is just something that hasn’t been explained yet. Cause and effect. Everything has a cause or an origin.

Anyways, with that brief and probably confusing background, I’ll give my theory.

So as far as modern science understands, the daytime sleepiness seen in narcolepsy is caused by the brain losing it’s ability to regulate sleep wake cycles, and this is most likely caused by the loss of wakefulness-promoting neurons in the brain (named hypocretins). If your brain doesn’t have the regulatory neurons to keep you awake during the day and to shift stages of sleep at night properly, then you won’t be sleeping well- and you’ll be sleep deprived no matter what. That’s in narcolepsy.

I’ve heard from many doctors and people online that in IH (idiopathic hypersomnia), sleep at night looks relatively normal, unlike narcolepsy where it’s dysfunctional and fragmented. So I look over my results for the 1000th time- and notice one thing that stands out- the number of “sleep stage shifts”. That is the number of times your brain changes it’s brainwave activity, from high frequency in light NREM sleep, to low frequency in delta wave deep sleep. I’ve looked up various personal accounts of sleep studies, read a few published research articles, and read personal responses online, and discovered that your brain is supposed to only shift between stages 7-10 times per hour. That way, it can stay in a stage, get it’s benefits, and maintain your sleep.

My number of sleep stage shifts? 200. Yep. I slept around 8 hours that night, so that equates to about 25 shifts an hour. My sleep was not at all staying in a certain stage; it was constantly jumping up and down and never having any continuity.

There are reports online that make the plea that doctors should pay attention to this, but when going over a sleep study, they don’t pay attention to how many times your brain switches stages, only the technical “awakenings” you had. Being in stage 1 sleep, I’ve learned, is not refreshing and you essentially feel awake. 105 of my sleep stage shifts were back to stage 1. That is enough to make even the longest night of sleep feel un-refreshing. So is this idiopathic, or did I just figure something for myself?

Don’t take my word for it, read an actual scientific study performed, a study that highlights exactly what I’m talking about, and concludes that “number of sleep stage shifts in a night can impact daytime sleepiness”- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2982738/

What I’m rambling about, is that maybe the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia is this. The brain’s inability to stay in certain stages of sleep continually. If it is the cause, that’s something worth looking into. I have no power here, however, I’m just a 20 year old who is blogging it. But that would be something, if this theory became a scientifically backed up cause. It’s a long shot, but I wanted to write, and this is what I’ve been honestly thinking about.

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 4:19 PM

Complacency

I just shaved. I don’t know why, but whenever I shave I feel ‘new’ and motivated. I didn’t really need to shave tonight, but I did, because it’s like a little burst of motivation. Is shaving a drug?

So anyways, here I sit, clean shaven and all. Writing a post, its 1:39 am right now. I know it sounds really late, but for me, this is somewhat an early time of the night. I’ve gotten on this ‘3rd shift’ kind of sleeping schedule over the past ~ year or so, where I usually go to sleep around 4 am and wake up around 1 pm. It’s a bad schedule and a habit that I’ve tried to break numerous times, just haven’t tried hard enough, I guess. I’m gonna go to sleep soon, and starting shifting it back starting tonight.

How did I let my sleeping schedule misalign so bad in the first place? I mean, a year is a long time to leave something unfixed. Part of the problem is that it’s okay for me to sleep in- I still live at home, I have a school schedule that caters to the night owl, and my job utilizes me as an evening worker. So, there isn’t a whole lot of responsibility in the morning for me, so I don’t really have to be up then. That’s the way it’s been for the past 2 years now.

The other part of the problem? Complacency. 

Becoming complacent. Being complacent. The thing I always say I want to avoid. I never want to fall into a zone of complacency, a one where my life is essentially ‘what it is’, and I’m not really looking to move the needle at all. I guess that’s standard, to want to be improving, or at least changing. Sure, not everyone actually does constantly improve, yet if you ask anyone, they’d almost all say that it’s their goal. To steadily become better everyday, to move forward and make life better each step.

In a lot of ways, when I look back realistically on me in the past few years (since starting community college), I’ve really become sedentary in a lot of the aspects of my life. I stopped worrying about working out, improving my jump shot in basketball, setting personal goals, and even my morality.

I’m not a saint, far from it, but there was a time in high school where I took morals a bit more seriously. The virtues of self control, willpower, the idea of stoicism, building confidence- they’ve gone missing in my life. I still am a nice person and that’s one thing I’m proud of, I’ve never let the main moral of “treat your neighbor as yourself” slip away from me. That’s the most important one to me. That one above all else. But, I no longer find myself practicing the same standards I did for a while. I used to be much better at being health conscious in my diet. I used to force myself to find motivation in tough spots. It’s like these goals that I would work towards, in order to practice to just be a better person overall, those have silently gone missing.

It’s not that I don’t care, because I do, but it’s that I’ve gotten comfortable. Being comfortable can lead to this idea of complacency. You don’t feel that need anymore, that you once did, because ‘everything’s fine, maan’. It’s not until something happens that kind of ‘wakes you up’, that you realize change is needed. When life isn’t throwing you that message, it can be hard to receive it. How do you receive it, anyway? I find that writing this out, for one, makes me realize what nothing else is telling me: I’ve gotta make some changes for myself and for those around me.

I’m sounding super general, I know, but it’s just because, well, in general I need to change some stuff. I don’t want a new school or a new friend to be that thing that ‘shifts me into gear’ all of the time. It’s not a pride thing, it’s just that I believe I need to invent my own gear shift. I feel like everyone should have the ability to find fault in themselves and seek out a solution. In saying that, I hope I’ll practice what I’m preaching.

A customer came into Starbucks a few days ago. He points to a bagel and asks “Is this the sprouted grain vegan bagel?” 

“Yeah, I think. It replaced the multigrain bagel”, I say, with a slight bit of doubt. I didn’t realize we had a ‘vegan bagel’, I thought it was just another bagel.

“Is it vegan? I didn’t even know that! Are you yourself a vegan?”

Yeah man, I’ve been trying to switch to veganism. It’s hard, I’m only on week five, but I’m hoping I can keep it. I’m feeling more ‘chipper’ already since I started watching my diet”.

Five weeks? On a vegan diet? To me, that seemed impossible. It’s not impossible, obviously, but man, I just realized how far off I’d be from having the same sense of willpower as this dude has. He’s kept this incredibly restrictive diet up for 5 weeks straight and is rolling on, meanwhile I had some southwest chicken microwavable taquitos with a soda late last night. I give this guy props. I could learn a thing or two about self determination from him.

With that, I’m gonna wrap this one up. We all need self determination, or the ability to produce it. I don’t have it, but I hope I’ll stop being a lazy fuck and actually fix that. Maybe by the end of summer, I’ll be awake in the morning, hitting the gym in the afternoon again, and mentally overpowering that urge to get some Jack in the Box tacos.

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 2:08 AM