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April 5, 2021

Deep Sleep Reveals NEW Fears!

Deep Sleep Reveals NEW Fears!

Finally J Smiles has a healthy sleep hygiene routine... and it works, perfectly. Well, she sleeps long and hard. The problem is the depth of slumber unlocks unknown caregiving consternation. She has to decide whether to ditch healthy sleep or face what the dreams are telling her about her relationship with Zetty.

J fights through the frustration because she and Zetty are  worth it. She shares what she figures out, what scared her the most and more.

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J Smiles:

I was so excited. I finally had my own sleep hygiene. I figured out a short routine, five to seven minutes that would allow me to be mentally prepared to fall asleep. For some people, maybe you can just get into bed and go to sleep for me. Yeah, I can fall asleep walking on the couch or maybe even driving a car. If I actually get into bed under the covers, now all of a sudden, I got monkey brain. Not this time, I figured it out. And I had a series of really good movements that lead all the days dress up. My thighs, front and back, so that's quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, lower back, upper back, shoulders, neck, and I was good to go. No lights, no TV, really big deal. Since junior high school, I had on some kind of stimulation, usually the television and the light. I could turn the volume down, but I needed one to help me go to sleep; it was like my own adult version of a pacifier. As a caregiver, they told me you got to get more sleep, and you should try the sleep hygiene technique. I even did the no cell phone, no laptop, no digital device thing for 10 minutes before getting into bed. Yes, true experts say an hour or something before you go to bed, but that's just foolish talk. That's like somebody telling you file your taxes in the United States on April 15th, who does that? That extension is there for a reason. Success, every part of the strategy worked deep, deep sleep was now mine. Not success, dreams came with it. Y'all deep, deep sleep meant deep, deep, scary dreams, who said that was possible? I didn't know that dreams meant all your fears came along with it. Listen, take me from the deep ocean, get me back in the shallow area over there with the little kiddie pool. I would rather not know what's going on inside my real mind and my consciousness. Hey Doc so sorry, this sleep hygiene, maybe I need to be sleeping dirty. I call quits. I can't do this. Okay, bye. What? Hello, no. Parenting Up- caregiving adventures with comedian J Smiles is the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my mama. For almost a decade, I've been chipping away at the unknown, advocating for her, and pushing Alzheimer's awareness on anyone and anything with the heartbeat. Spoiler Alert- I started comedy because this stuff is heavy, be ready for the jokes. Caregiver newbies, OGs, village members trying to just prop up a caregiver, you are in the right place.


Hi, this is Zetty. I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Is that okay?

J Smiles:

Today's episode, deep sleep reveals new fears. You know how medication comes with a warning that says be careful, if you take this medication and you drink alcohol, you could get woozy, you could get sleepy. Or if you take this medication, and you drink lemonade, you could break out in hives, all kinds of stuff. Somebody should have told me, J Smiles, if you get proper sleep, that deep sleep that good good that you liver needs to cleanse itself, that your brain, and your eyeballs need to get the proper kind of hydration through your blood vessels. You're also gonna unlock your consciousness, and you're gonna remember it, didn't nobody s y that. All this time, literal y all my life, I just thought, o , I don't dream. Some people dre m live in vivid Technicolor, I don't. I live a vibrant li e while I'm awake, then I go o sleep and it's a silent mov e. The doctors have told me tha I am wrong. Actually, I was 't dreaming because I did not et into the proper stage of sle p, but you can't just let someb dy find that out on their o n. That's like telling a girl ow she could get pregnant after he baby is born. That's what ou call "No, sir, No ma'am Pa , Sam ham." Y'all, I was so disgusted because these dreams weren't little bitty dreams. These dreams we're all scary dreams related to Zetty and her health and my responsibility as a caregiver. Don't nobody want to dream like this. Maybe that's why I never slept hard in the first place. Maybe my guardian ngels knew, oh, you know what, let Jay take little bitty cat aps because that's all her poor ittle soul can handle. arenting Up family, let me set he stage for you- first of all, hate when I do things, ccording to the rules, and it oesn't work out to my benefit. mean, I despise it. I don't are what it is, if you tell me ow to cook the steak and that's oing to make it more deliciousy nd it doesn't, I am then mad at he Chef, the .com, the cow, the armer, and whoever gave me the ecipe and all the seasonings. I ean, livid, because generally peaking rules normally get in y way. So if I take the time to orph, and then it doesn't work ut for me, ew we, I'm hot. Thi is one of those instances, her I am rearranging the way I pre er to sleep, which is on the cou h with at least six lights on nd the television, I'm com ortable like that. But no, you re telling me I got to get thi deep sleep, I got to go th ough 12 hamster wheels and a fe ris wheel and over the brick wa l and through the woods and co e out on the other end or at a all hit Donkey Kong and 12 Pl yStation five pokemon butt ns and then I would have slep well and that's going to allo me to care properly for my body Alright, cool, but then I do i and I start waking up with a sc riest nightmares of my life pert ining to my mom. You know what kill yourself. And I'm speaking other people who suggested that I use this sleep routine, sleep hygiene. Not against sleep hygiene, I'm just say ng it didn't come with a w rning people. I did it so well I followed it to the T. An I don't know why we say to the , why don't you just say y u followed the rules? Wel , I followed it to the T. I na led it, especially if it pertain to my health that's going to a low me to be a better caregive . I go hard. One night, everyt ing was working smoothly; did the routine, got in the ed. Actually had, my favorite sh ets are red, and they're re lly really soft. Not satiny, ike some old soft, buttery. I d n't have no idea what the mate ial is. I just know it's not sl ck. And I remember it was t ose sheets because I remember b ing excited about, oh this is g nna be awesome. Did my stretc es, did my breathing I got rid o my digital devices. Boom, thi is to go down somewhere doin my slumber, Zetty is callin my name. JG I mean so clear, his is real. I could taste i . I could bite it is no questio . I can still recall this d eam right now. JG, JG and I'm calling back, yeah, mama, w ere are you? I'm right here, ho ey. And I'm trying to find he . I can only see hallways. And I'm going down various hallways and the doors and I'm just wal ing in and out of doors and hall ays and doors and hallways. And there are no people to even ask anything. But I hear that his voice and sometimes it ge s a little louder and sometimes ore faint. But as time has pa sed and she starts to sound

ore distressed:

JG, JG, where are you? I'm like ma Where are ou? Tell me where you are, what oom are you in? I'd like to say something. JG mama needs ou. Where are you? Hurry up, b by. So now my mama needs me a d I can't find her. I don't see myself, it's as if I'm the camera so to speak and I'm j st moving around in this spa e, like some fierce maze but i 's clearly a building. There re walls and there are doors. I 's not ominous. It's not dark. I 's fairly bright. It feels like an office building. I don't ee gurneys, so I don't think a a hospital but I very clearly o ly hear her voice and I can't I et to her. Then she starts cryi g, JG, baby, why you do mama l ke this? You said you would be right here. I don't imit te anyone well. I do not do imitations well, so I will sp re you of me trying to do a cry ng Zetty. But there was a po nt where she starts doing he crying thing. Mama, I'm comi g. Where are you? JG I said, I'm right here. Mama, I'm coming, I m coming, I'm coming, I'm alm st there. Baby. You keep saying ou almost here mama needs you. Where are you JG? JG, wher are you? Seriously, this is t e benefit of deep sleep, mi s me with that, okay. When I w ke up, my stomach was hurting. I went into Zetty's room to see er. She's knocked out sleep. Cl arly, she was not looking for m . She was not calling my n me. I was distressed and the ne t day, my chee was off. I thoug t hey, J, listen. Everything ood comes with a price. You're n w to this deep sleep stuff, you body and your mind don't know h w to act. You're like a fish out of water. You got to give it a chance, ease into it, you g t to keep going. You're reaking a lifetime bad hab t of poor sleeping. You ave a bad relationship with sle p, child. Don't abort your new ission so quickly. So I did not automatically throw a ay all of my sleep hygiene steps from that one experience, but I m telling you something I su e thought about. I was like, th s is not, this ain't working. T is is the opposite of good for G. What I was happy about though is I now knew that scary sleep was possible because of t e depth I could reach. Like, o ay, I got my own warning. Go hrough my routine, what used to ake seven minutes is now taking like five and a half. I am bette at it, I don't have to look at the paper as many times to say okay, now what am I supposed o do? How many hamstring stretch s and how many back stretches I really did write down all of the steps for the stretches, t e order I would do them in, the number of reps, so that it c uld become second nature. hat night, waiting at the bottom of my deep sleep ocean, Zett was cured from Alzheimer's. Now during this particular dre m, I don't know how the cure ca e. I don't know if everybody i the world was cured from Alzh imer's. If it was a miracle from on high or pill, found some pl nt growing in Mexico, shout ou to my boy Carlos or if it was surgery, I have no idea. The d eam opens with Zetty h aled from Alzheimer's, but s e's aware that she had the d sease and she's trying to cat h up with what happened. Whe does she catch the disease? While I'm saying caught th disease, that's funny. I don' know how to say it though. L t me know what you all t ink. What language should we us when she was diagnosed? In t is dream, she wasn't asking ab ut when I was diagnosed. She was like, how did I get it? She was examining me like I was a witn ss on the stand. I was b ing cross examined by my mama t say, JG, when did I get it? How did I get it? What did you do? H w did you know? She was givin me a very exacting set of quest ons. Which makes sense, who wo ldn't want to know that? And def nitely, if you know Zetty, hat in the world, all of her exp rt witness forensic account nt, brainy stuff was on full d splay. She looked gorgeous hough, her weight, her face, he hair; she was poppin. I wa answering everything, we we e having a great time and then t is little chick turned on me. S e started saying, well, why'd yo do that? Well, why did you take me to Dr. A, and not Dr. B? Wel , I don't know if that was a go d idea. I wouldn't have done that. Why don't you use bank app e and not bank banana? Well, w y did you move me to Atlanta an not move me to LA? S e started questioning everyth ng that I did in her care. I was floored. I started crying. An she was like, JG, mama would h ve hoped that you would put more time and effort and considera ion into decisions affected my life. It doesn't seem like yo thought very hard at all, or r ally put a lot of oomph in o either trying to get me heal d or get me the best care. I do 't know, JG. I mean, I know yo love me but I know when you put your mind to things, you can move mountains. And this ju t seemed like you were moving a few mole hills. I was like Zetty are you serious? Do you have ny idea? And then we started g ing back and forth, but nothi g I said resonated with he as good enough. Old girl was li e, yeah, you know, kind of li e, well, thank you. I gue s. I was crushed. I was devast ted. I'm like, Are you kidding e? What? Okay and I don't know ow much time it passed. As of n w, I've been a caregiver about a decade. I don't know if we had another decade in five mor years, whatever. There was no way for me to know that in the d eam. It was the loosey g oseyest lukewarmness thank yo I have ever received from my mo her for anything. because Ze ty is a totally grateful person. My mama will say a prayer in g atitude for two Tylenol. If you and her a piece of gum in chu ch, she will go on and on with how she hopes your day is bles ed and she means it. You too about crushed the previous ream I share with you I couldn't get to Zetty. She's calling me, 'm the only person she's callin and I can't find her and she tarts crying. And this current o e I'm talking about oh, I fin her and she has given me what f r as a lackadaisical lackl ster performance as a caregiv r. I woke up that next day, I w nted to cancel on Twitter the en ire sleep hygiene community. He e's the kicker, I refused to giv up. Let's regroup, J. What' the next strategy? Okay, aybe you're not relaxed enough Too much of the day's stress s on you as you fall asle p. I extended the sleep hy iene routine to include more stretches, now it lasts abo t 15 minutes, essential oils b hind my ear, just a dab under your nose and let me tell you, a dab almost means no oil. Man, you mess around and dab too m ch, your nostrils are on fire, dragon flame coming out of y ur nose every time you inhale, o don't do that. A positive affi mation, I picked a new one ev ry day. Words that would encoura e me to think about someth ng fun. Usually pertaining to travel, food, forg veness, accomplishment, worldwid peace. I'm kidding, nothing w s about worldwide peace, that's for the beauty pageants. De initely about an altruistic, on ness in humanity. Actually, playing around with the new ver ions of the sleep hygiene was kind of fun. The engineer in m nerded out. I had va iables, intellectually, I coul make a Gantt chart, pretty much just an Excel spreadsheet to sa , okay, what worked last night? hat did I do differently? I ould do that kind of thing for m nths. I love moving ar und the variables- considering what is new is that the temperat re, the sheet, the pillow? Did I sleep in a different positio ? Did I eat something new? Did I watch a different kind of te evision program? Did Zetty ha e a bad doctor's appointment I will wrack my brain trying o think was anything out of the rdinary about this day that mi ht have catapulted me into a s ries of wacky dreams. Anywho, had my fifth iteration of y sleep hygiene snuggled up li e a bug in a rug. Y'all the deepest sleep yet, the scari st dream yet. I went to bed brain as clear and is happy. I'm mean singing, literally. I remember kind of humming and sin ing some of my favorite songs o the way to sleep. No stress in my neck. My stomach wasn't hu ting. My sinuses weren't acting p. There was nothing worrying me All the bills were paid. Smiles Clients were happy. S mewhere between Harry Potter B ulevard and Peter Pan Alley, Ze ty died because I forgot to co e home, that was the stupi dream, y'all. I forgot to come ome, so I finally get home and I find Zetty, literally deceased She's wasted away because she hadn't had any food, any hydrati n, any medicine for what look d like weeks. Nobody had been t check on her. Mail has all p led up outside on the doorstep FedEx boxes, UPS boxes, Amazon, chaos. I called the caregivers. I called my friends. I called m family. Everybody says, oh, J, you told us you had it. You to d us all we were off and you di n't need anything, that you h d it all covered. What? In this dream, I was out of the country I don't know where I was but I ame back home with a lot of bags I mean, a gaggle gaggle thum bags, a trunk that they us to give military people, duffle bags and everything. So how in he world had I told all famil members, friends, and my hired aregivers, oh, you know what, I don't need you all I got Zetty But then I'm off traipse in the world with a Beyonce, Kim ardashian, Ava Gardner, Mich lle Obama, entourage f luggage. Apparently, I did 't phone a friend. I didn't ph ne home. I did not do a sa ety check, elderly care al rt; I just forget. You kno , like the parents who hone tly forget their newborn baby is in the car and then unfortunatel , the baby dies from heat exha stion. I'm not talking about he parents who are abusing the r kids and choose to end the bab 's life in the backseat of a c r. I'm not speaking to that at a l. Anyway, it appears th t I was on something like tha . I forgot that Z tty was my responsibility. In th s dream, I climb up on the be and start giving Zetty's cold lifeless, emaciated body C R. Can you imagine? Can you magine it? Imagine the shock and horror and the mental trauma f giving a clearly, I have gon to heaven to see the Lord per on, CPR. I tried to wake up o hard, my body was frozen, pa alyzed. Do you want to build a snowman? Okay, Elsa let's c me out and play. I remembe fighting, trying to get up It was my fault that my mama wa dead. All of the caregiving parameters that have been i place for years, the team, t e doctors, the love, the care, t e treatment plans, all flew ou the window because for so e reason I decided not to put a chedule in place. Which sounds idiculous, but in this dream, it was the choice I made. And I couldn't figure it out in the r dream. I just kept trying to ave Zetty. I'm on top of her crying and trying to give cold dead person CPR. I'm gon a tell you this parenting up fa ily, don't ever try it. In you dream and in your real life. I you touch a person and they' e cold, do not put your lips on heir lips, that is free advi e from you girl J Smiles. Some of you may be wondering, da g J Smiles every time you had a deep sleep was it a scary d eam? Nope, absolutely not. any of the dreams were fun an fanciful, often, not ev n based in reality. I was a purp e unicorn, flying through the o ean, loved it. Zetty and I kick ng it from when I was a k d, awesome blossom, or th ngs that I couldn't fully reme ber in the morning, but I had a mile on my face. The drea ful dreams pertaining to Zetty were numerous enough plentiful enough that it regi tered in a way that I was like do I want to keep going down he road of this sleep hygien thing? My grandfather alwa s said, J, that's what he called me, J. Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Now, for the mo t part, he was a pessimist, my randmother Flo, these are b th Zetty's parents. She was a optimist snd I left thinkin about my granddad with his dr aming. He was like see, he jus couldn't get much sleep. If e ght hours is giving you these b d dreams, then maybe stop sleep ng around six hours. I c n hear my grandfather decided t at is the answer. In my waking oments, I chose to think about w at is the underlying message in he dreams that are scaring me. A d I'm not God, I'm not a higher ower. I'm not a psych logist or psychiatrist. What I took from every one of them w s fear, A fear that I am not aring for Zetty well enough that I've made a mistake, or that she would rather I do it diff rently. I wrote those thoughts d wn, and I took him to my therapi t. Then I was able to comforta ly return to my sleep hygien efforts. Like okay, great. You now what, actually, coo , this is beneficial. I wasn't ven aware that these fears exist d on such a deep and intense le el. Thank you deep sleep, scar dreams. Now, I can tell my th rapists, hey, I got these mo sters. I would like you and to talk about them. So we can g t rid of them. In my right min , I know good and damn well, th t I'm an awesome caregiver for m mother, and that my mother wou d not be upset with me bout the decisions that have ade, she knows that I'm doing t e best I can; I believe that But the mind is tricky. In the eart and the mind and the soul. t times, they don't all agree, c regiving is hard as hell, in fragile moment, we can beat our elves up to the point where we a e bloody and scarred and d n't even recognize ourselv s in the mirror. Each time here's a harrowing tale of a Z tty, JG, deep dream. If I can't hake it, I share it with my ther pist. We pull it apart, and I wo k on it. I will add it to my pr yers, as well as my meditation chedule, trying to understand as a human- J, what is it that's m king you feel insecure? I addre s it and I move the hell on, th s a very hard job. I do n t have a playbook. I know I'm oing the best I can. Zetty doe n't have anybody else. And the l st thing I need to do is to sec nd guess my gut. The snuggle u


Number one- Don't let nightm res rule you. Look for a them . Lessen fear that you need t unlock. Number two- Get a sleep hygiene routine. Whatever works or you. Get your body, mind nd soul prepared to rest every day for at least s x hours consecutively. Numbe three- Practice listening to yo r inner voice. Not only in mo ents of crisis, within everyda single simple events, like c ffee or tea. Are you going t follow Google Maps or Waze? M ybe the way you used to go when ou were a kid? That's the route you are take. Don't even eeni meenie miney Moe over it. Ask ourself what do I want, fish or hicken, water or water? They say water is good for us, so you an't go wrong there. When you o that you're building a rel tionship with your inner voic . That way it can speak more c early to you. Whether you're awake, daydreaming or s eep training. Number four- Join me every Monday nig t for a video broadcast, a v dcast. It's a video podcast, t's all about caregiving, bu a completely different topi than we have here; same title Parenting Up in pa tnership with getvokal.com Follow us on social media, Pare ting Up has a presence on You ube, Facebook and Instagr m with unique caregiving cont nt. That's it for now. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe for continuous ca egiving tips, tricks, tren s, and truth. Pretty Pretty ple se with sugar on top, share and eview it too. I'm a comedian, Alzheimers is heavy, but we ai