I have had DSPS since I was about 2 or three yrs old. Granted, one may surmise that it developed due to the nightly sexual abuse from my biological father. As an incest victim, you develop an odd response to the abuse. I have crystal-clear memories of the events of those nights…and some days…If I was awake, sometimes he would leave me alone. I imagine he had a form of DSPS since he was a classic “night owl” and also had issues with getting to jobs on time – much like I did when I hit the job market. Then, some of my recent research sent me to the human genome, specifically the hPer3 gene (and others), suggesting that there is a genetic cause for this antisocial night owl syndrome. Gee, Dad, I have SO MUCH to be thankful to you for, don’t I? Gag me.
Thanks to this DSPS curse, while I was a kid, I was often “out” of school more often than I was “in” school. But. Thanks to the cursed DSPS, I used to crank out my homework and managed to be a straight A student my entire life, in spite of my “poor attendance.”
Thanks to DSPS, I have had to leave professions I loved (law enforcement, the 7a-7p legal field, biotech), and, I have lost best friends and romantic relationships (because of my “inflexibility, stubborn ways, and always getting sick” to quote an ex-husband).
Society lives under this odd misconception that everyone could be a better person if the just “got up a little earlier!” Think about the words you hear if you come i a bit late to a meeting, to a class, to a special event. “You should have got up earlier,” said with the requisite smirky know-it-all I’m-better-than-you-are smile.
Spend a week in my shoes and learn how it just is not possible to “go to bed earlier” so you can “get up earlier.” I have 30+ years experience of taking every kind of sleeping medication on the market (no, not all at once) and not having a SINGLE SLEEPY MOMENT from any of them – or even wore – having a paradoxical reaction to them – getting jazzed, spastic and hyper. It is not a conscious choice, people. In fact, I am REALLY pissed off at YOU, you know who YOU are, YOU, who twisted my arm into trying all the natural sleep remedies that were a monumental WASTE of money (LIGHT THERAPY – REALLY?! What a joke. Put me right back to sleep. In the morning. When I SHOULD be sleeping.). YOU, that insisted that everything would be just fine if I “learned” how to go to bed “on-time.” ON WHO’S TIME? And, YOU – who prescribed Ambien, Restoril, Tranxene, Lunesta, Valium, Klonipin, Amitryptiline, Nortryptiline, Trazadone and several muscle relaxants like Flexeril…all to get ME to “become normal.”
Well guess what, YOU? All of YOU? I AM normal.
Scientifically documented, peer-reviewed, ICD-9 coded and ISCD defined. And the number ONE way per a person to handle being a DSPS “patient?” ACCEPTANCE. So, I chose to accept it. For one week, I let myself go to sleep when I was tired, naturally, sans chemicals. I let myself wake up, sans alarms or light boxes. And guess what!!!! You won’t believe THIS one. I had a GREAT week! I had less chronic pain. I had NO migraines – NO MIGRAINES! (That should be front page news!). I ate normally. I went to yoga cheerfully and came back from class feeling happy!
So, I am now 5 weeks into this ACCEPTANCE phase and loving it – and dare I say, loving myself. Not only have a cleared my body of unnecessary and conflicting chemicals, but I have removed the self-deprecating voice from my head, chastising me for simply being me. I know I AM normal, for me. Whether this was caused by the PTSD from being sexually abused for the first 14 years of my life, or it was because of a genetic anomaly in my hPer3 gene, or other related genes, I am a DSPS sufferer, that is no longer suffering.
By the way, the ADA (effective 2010) recognizes DSPS as a “disability” and requires workplaces to make reasonable accommodations for people with DSPS. In other words, non 9-5 hours. So, when I go back to work, once my chronic neurological issues are under control, I plan to return to work to offer my research skills to the world – while I am at my peak effectiveness, and I can give my employer the most for their money!