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Living with DSPS for 46 Years - I am NOT LAZY, you ignorant jerks....

by Lori Schneider
(Quincy MA)

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 a incest victim, you develop 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 they 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 worse - 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 3 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!

Comments for Living with DSPS for 46 Years - I am NOT LAZY, you ignorant jerks....

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Jan 31, 2013
Right On! NEW
by: Sparrow

I love what you wrote! I am 57 and have always been a night owl. I also was molested by my father. Since fidning this site, I have also decided to accept my normal.

Jul 04, 2013
dsps NEW
by: Anonymous

hey dear sounds so much like me speaking but ofcourse I don't have an abusive father..... and I too am suffering from d same problem n same kind of comments from people like u faced from so many years and I truly agree with ur acceptance theory

Jul 19, 2013
Made Me Cry NEW
by: Val

It's amazing the things people go through. My sleep issues started when I was 23, during an extremely stressful period in my life. I couldn't imagine having been affected at such a young age. My heart goes out to this soul.

Jul 19, 2013
thanks NEW
by: Ara

I wrote the above comment - thanks so much for being supportive and letting me know I am not alone.
I have had such a difficult time with this.
I see a big-time fancy-pants sleep specialist in Sept...I can't wait ot hear what he says.
I saw a so-called specialist a few months ago that had diagnosed me before even talking to me - he told me that just by looking at my facial shape (?) he could tell I had sleep apnea and THAT was my problem. He NEVER let me anser a question - he's ask - then cut me off after 3 words. Coincidentally, his personal website is completely filled with ads hawking sleep apnea machines and devices. What a jerk. I write the clinic owner to let them know how unprofessional this man was. Pathetic that there are docs out there that do this to people.

Oct 22, 2013
Thank you for writing your story NEW
by: Ely

I cannot even describe how much I relate to this, and how overwhelmingly happy I am to find others with DSPS. I did not suffer the same kind of abuse as a child, I was emotionally abused by my parents but I have also lived with this sleep "problem" most of my life, existing on sometimes no sleep and mostly 3 hours or so a night during my working life. I too dragged myself to work and to meetings, often falling asleep during them and being prodded by fellow workers just before I fell off my chair! "Just go to bed earlier" is a cry that echoes like a bad mantra and all the well meaning advice from doctors about not drinking caffeine, setting a routine, blah, blah. To make matters worse I am a total introvert, so to those of you who understand, I don't have to explain my track record of failed relationships, do I?
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Dec 24, 2013
Thankyou. NEW
by: Dan

That was such a very cleansing and restorative piece of writing, thank you for sharing that. I am 26 and have just in the last half hour heard of and started reading about DSPS. Realising that my sleep problems have a name immediately made me feel a whole lot less like the "lazy person" that people have labelled me as.

For the last eight years I have been prescribed sleeping tablets which I use sparingly because they give me lucid night terrors. I had to give away the art gallery that I opened at 20 and the career move I made 23 because of DSPS and and am now nearly done learning to tattoo so that I can be self employed in order to deal with my sleep cycle. And still they call me lazy! I appreciate your approach as I'm in a similar mind frame and again thank you for sharing.
The upside of this sleep condition? Leaves a lot of time to read up on things like the sleep disorder you just worked out you have.

Good luck

Nov 13, 2014
We are Many! NEW
by: Anonymous

It took over 6 1/2 years before I was finally diagnosed with DSPS. The doctors kept telling me that I was just "depressed" but I kept telling them that I was fatigued, not depressed. Finally, one listened, recognized that there was something else going on, and referred me to a neurologist.

What a lifesaver that was after allowing my body to sleep when it wanted to — all that fatigue went away! And mental clarity; got that back as well. I realize now that the sleep aids still, basically kept me sleep deprived.

I suspect that there are many people out there that suffer from sleep disorders but are diagnosed with depression, adrenal fatigue or CFS.

I haven't been able to work full-time for nearly 7 years because of this disorder (wow, writing it down makes me realize how long it's been). Now that I'm getting my energy back, I'm trying to figure out my work situation. It may be easy to think that an employer must accommodate one's DSPS hours, but it's not that easy to find a workplace that wants to accommodate them. When I first came down with all the fatigue, my company basically forced me out.

Nov 13, 2014
Just commented NEW
by: Anonymous

I forgot to mention that I also have the Per3 gene. It definitely has morphed in my family because my cousins and mother have UC, which is a polymorphism of the gene too.

Additionally, I suffered abuse as a child, but my symptoms didn't really appear until after two years of very stressful events. I never liked mornings but was able to fall asleep at 11 PM before the stress began. When I when the stress began I think that I may have shifted to 1 AM and then it shifted to 3 AM with extreme, chronic fatigue.

Dec 17, 2014
thanks NEW
by: me

I am so glad to have read your story. I was abused by biological father too. I have the hardest time with sleeping when it feels right. My husband calls me lazy all the time. But I have been like this since I was very little. I'm trying to see if my husband can finally accept this, but it is hard.

Jan 17, 2015
DSPS cause of PTSD NEW
by: Stefan

Hello, im from the Netherlands and im just 23 years old. Also suffering of DSPS, people call me lazy and stuppid or any bad kind of words that make me feel even wors. Thanks to your story im a bit more positive now. Knowing that im not the only one and knowing that there is hoop for happines and joy in life. Thank you so much!!

Jul 01, 2015
Wow, I am not alone. NEW
by: Anonymous

Wow, I always said I couldn't be the only person suffering from DSPS because otherwise there wouldn't be so may morning coffee drinkers who can't get going without their java.

I never had a problem sleeping at night while growing up but I also never really felt "refreshed" in the morning either. My bedtime hours slowly started creeping up to a later and later hour in the night during high school but I also remember not having good meals and nutrition and feeling depressed, slow, fatigued, foggy brained since 6th grade (kind of about where the hormones start kicking in). But the worse DSPS has been for the last 32 years because I started having children then (ten total), breastfeeding on demand for a year for each one and responding to all sorts of middle of the night interruptions while my husband continued his perfect alarm clock circadium rhythm schedule of to bed at 10pm and up at 5:30 am. Not fair, not fair, not fair. Now that most of the kids are out of the house, and there's no reason for me to be waking up for the last 10 years, I still can't kick the DSPS problem. So, I also have conceded that it's my norm (like my sister as well) and I truly do feel refreshed after sleeping all Saturday and Sunday afternoons when I can. I feel absolutely terrific and actually kind of bionic. No pill, light, sleep deprivation or other mechanical devices have helped like just good old afternoon naps! Too bad we can't incorporate those into a daytime work schedule because I beat anybody at anything if I could just get my sleep in!

Thanks for an enlightening and encouraging post!!!

Dec 05, 2015
abuse and dsps NEW
by: Anonymous

It is interesting that you bring up abuse as a cause. I was emotionally abused as a child. That would be an interesting cause affect.

Jan 11, 2016
questions NEW
by: rs

So there seems to be no cure for dsps. And has anybody got depression and attention deficit out from dsps through time. I am myself having these

Jan 26, 2016
Yes! NEW
by: Anonymous

I am 30 years old and have suffered from day schedule society my entire life, I have so much sleep deprivation and had to leave my tech job because of it. I was emotionally abused as a child yes, however I don't believe that has any connection to my sleep times as it seems to run in my family back to my great grandmother, plus the abuse started after my father started spending more time at home and by then I was already up all night as a child.

Jun 25, 2016
A social misfit NEW
by: Another Sufferer

I've also been suffering from DSPS for somewhere in the region of 35 years. Hard to figure out when it really started but I just remember as a child never being able to sleep and being permanently tired when woken for school. However by the age of about 16 it kicked in the strongest and started to affect me far more noticably. Unable to sleep, missing classes and making a real mess of my education. Since then and over all the years I have never been able to hold a job down for very long due to it. Medications, sleeping pills, alcohol - all totally useless. Sleeping pills were generally the worst as they would just prolong my actual sleep rather than induce it. Alcohol worked, but the hangovers makes it semi-pointless. The only way I could comply with the regular 9-5 world was to only sleep every other day but for a longer duration. After a while though this becomes pretty unhealthy and drains you mentally disregarding he unhealthy amount of coffee consumed during this process. Melatonin (as prescribed by the sleep clinic) was particularly annoying. Sure it made me very sleepy, but I'd still be lying in bed feeling incredibly restless at the same time. Not only that, but after giving them my 3-month sleep diary, the sleep clinic still insisted upon midday follow up appointments that I ended up failing to attend.

For a while I did manage to 'shift' my circadian rhythm and fall asleep directly after finishing work (while there was still daylight) and then wake up in the very very early hours of the night. However even this kind of schedule is impossibly difficult to maintain. You can't go out with friends or co-workers in the evening without killing the routine and resetting everything.

And that's one huge pain with having it. Unless you can accept it and sleep at the times your body craves (in my case typically 8am-3pm) you have no social life. Trying to rigidly maintain a painful routine of sleeping early, not doing anything for several hours in the evening and using a lightbox in the morning means you have zero social life, adding depression to the list of other ailments and side effects (like regular migraines). One small slip - one late night out with a friend and the imposed routine gets wrecked in a heartbeat.

Then there's the relationship aspect. I've never had any problem finding a girlfriend, but it never lasts or becomes too stressful because of sleeping habits. Lying in bed for 6 hours watching your partner sleep before you eventually fall asleep is somewhat tortuous and puts a lot of strain of a relationship - especially when the other person really can't understand 'why' and comes up with 101 of their own ideas and reasons for your apparent 'insomnia' and 'laziness'.

Trying to fit in with the rest of the world's 9-5 is difficult in so many ways that most [normal] people don't even consider. With my sleeping routine even things like going shopping, or to a doctor is particularly awkward. Going on holiday or travelling? A hotel is almost pointless unless you are staying more than 1 night - given that for most of them you need to check out in the morning (just after the time I would typically fall asleep)

Trying to 'fit in' with the rest of society makes my DSPS more of a Non-24 (and seldom yields any quality sleep), but given the option to accept my DSPS and sleep when I need to can be very routine with good quality sleep.

Now 44, never having been able to hold a steady job or relationship, I remain single, financially insecure, and currently unemployed. It has also led to me having to try and cope with depression on and off for countless years. DSPS can really make you feel like an outcast most of the time - either that, or incredibly uncomfortable while trying to 'fit in' with everyone else. I just wish more people would recognise it and accept it rather then simply incorrectly labelling it and trying to 'fix me'.

I didn't suffer any abuse as a child unlike several have in this thread, but bullying at boarding school is quite possibly what compounded and intensified my DSPS. However, I was mildly suffering from it well before then.

For me, it has always seemed like the sun saps my energy. As it rises, I begin to feel sleepy (much like the majority slowly get tired during the evening) and by 8 or 9am I fall asleep pretty quickly and easily. The outside noise, the light through the window, nothing particularly disturbs this sleep. I can even drink several cups of coffee right before sleeping at this time and still fall asleep with ease. Very seldom do I wake up prematurely and after 6 or 7 hours of daytime sleep, I wake up feeling fine, invigorated and ready to roll. The only real cost and downside is being a social jobless misfit - but at least I feel healthier and happier about myself.

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