Joe Metcalf is trying to act like an adult while living in New York with three human roommates and Edgar the Dog.
Collages By Joe Metcalf
Joe Metcalf is trying to act like an adult while living in New York with three human roommates and Edgar the Dog.
Photos By Grace Gregory
In her work as a creative producer for ENDPAIN, Grace draws on her degree in American Studies as well as her experience writing, acting, photographing, and working in radio. She strives to bring compassion, empathy, and thoughtfulness to each ENDPAIN project she works on.
Sleeping with S.A.D.

*sound of an alarm*

I can’t stop sleeping. This is what it sounds like when I’m trying to wake up:

*my morning song*

I sleep through hours of alarms, no seriously, hours of alarms. One time, I was 15 minutes late to my 30-minute-long psychiatry appointment because I had slept through four hours of alarms. The appointment was at 3:00pm.

I often sleep through important appointments. One time I slept through an appointment with my dermatologist. I was gonna try to get back on accutane again but instead I decided to just keep rubbing my acne-ridden face into this pillowcase that I haven’t washed in weeks.

I sleep through work. Oh yes, work. I’ve been on time to work twice, maybe three times, in the past month. (But I was early this one time). On the day the HR rep from the parent company came to visit the office, I stumbled in two hours late. She said, “nice to meet you,” I said “Oh, we met earlier in the year…” She did not remember me.

Every time I’m late for work I text my boss, saying “sorry! train trouble!” or “sorry! running late again!” or “sorry! I slept through a couple hours of alarms and then when I finally woke up, I couldn’t get out of bed to get in the shower, and then when I finally showered, I got back into bed and then I stayed there for another 20 minutes, and then finally started getting dressed and then I stopped for coffee, but I’m on my way now!”

I’ve snoozed every single alarm for the past three years. Though it’s actually really sad, it makes for a great party joke, like, “Hah! Yeah, I suck, don’t I! I can’t even wake up to the sound of an alarm!” or “Ding dong! Wake up, you sleepyhead idiot stupid ass Joe! You were supposed to be in the shower two hours ago!” or “What? Do I need my mom to wake me up every morning?” (Sometimes I think I do). But I’m good at laughing about it with my friends. I’m extremely good at making light of situations in which my life is crumbling before my eyes.

My chronic oversleeping is just one part of my conscious effort to self-sabotage. A lifelong duty to ruin every opportunity, every job, and every relationship in my life.

Every night I sleep with my computer open almost every night, bathing in the gorgeous blue light of the laptop screen, (but don’t worry, I have f.lux, so it’s more like an orange light) and comforted by the voices of fictional friends from sitcoms I’ve already watched at least once, probably twice. Even though I’ve read about the effects of blue light on sleeping, and the potentially dangerous radiation that it is probably zapping my brain from my computer, and all the problems of sleeping with a computer (sleeping with a computer in bed… not like, sleeping with a computer… anyway), I can’t stop doing it.

And it is exhausting to constantly self-sabotage. In fact, I’m kind of tired right now. But then why do I sound like this when it’s actually bed time:

*manic singing to Kelly Clarkson*

Why am I awake at 4 in the morning, searching WebMD for diseases that have fatigue as a symptom? I mean, I’ve diagnosed myself with Mono, but then I started finding blood in my stool (I’m sorry I went there, but I wasn’t getting laid so the only reason I would have blood in my stool is from something like hemorrhoids or anemia). So I’m like I’m anemic—so I go to my doctor, explain my situation, and he says “blah blah do you smoke, do you drink coffee, etc., etc.” and I say “Yeah… I’m not a friggin’ square, Doc” And He says he’ll run some blood work but that what I really need to do is change my lifestyle—stop smoking, start exercising and stop drinking coffee.

Speaking of coffee, I did sleep through that coffee date with my friend I haven’t seen in a long time, because “I completely forgot” and “Thursday would actually be better for me anyway.”

My sleeping has affected every single area of my life. I know I have the ability to control it, but I’m a Sub... and it’s a lot easier to let myself be Dom-ed by my REM cycle, okay?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is described by the National Institute of Mental Health as, “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.” Some symptoms include: feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day, feeling hopeless or worthless, having low energy, having problems with sleep, specifically hypersomnia, and social withdrawal which, as the National Institute of Mental Health so eloquently puts it, feels like “hibernating.” I like to think of SAD as my regular clinical depression on steroids. Or actually I’d rather like to think of it as my hibernation period.

I’ve done my research. I’ve read the Wikipedia for Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’ve talked to my psychiatrist about SAD light therapy lamps. I’ve looked on Amazon for SAD light therapy lamps. I’ve changed my anti-depressants. I’ve downloaded apps that make you play a series of games before the alarm turns off. I’ve set alarms on both my laptop and my phone. I’ve moved my phone across the room so I have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm.

It is a frustrating feeling to know there are solutions out there, to know that it just takes a little bit more effort on your part to fix this problem, but to leave it be.

It’s hard to wake up when you don’t want to. Because waking up means spending money, or mustering the energy to make yourself some food, or getting on a crowded subway, or facing the fact that you haven’t paid your credit card bill and it’s way over its limit.

And it takes a lot of confidence to invest in yourself, in your success. Maybe I’m not there yet. Maybe I just need like… 5 more minutes of sleep and then we could talk about it. Or actually, what if we did 10 minutes, scratch that, in half an hour…?

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Thoughts on Depression: An Audio Story
On Sleepless Nights and Notes to a Friend
There's Something About Insomnia
On Recovery That Goes Deeper
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ENDPAIN in the World
Gentle Mentals
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On the breakthrough drug for PTSD
Directed By Ryan Ederer
Have we got MDMA (aka ecstasy) all wrong? Is it the next drug with a bad rep to be used for medicinal purposes? Some think so, these are their stories....
MDMA: Stories of Treatment
On the breakthrough drug for PTSD
Directed By Ryan Ederer
Have we got MDMA (aka ecstasy) all wrong? Is it the next drug with a bad rep to be used for medicinal purposes? Some think so, these are their stories....