The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Time and a half

There’s an old joke, which goes something like: if you quit smoking, drinking, fatty foods, chocolate, gambling and sex, you don’t live longer – it just feels like it.

Regardless of the truth, it does raise the concept of the difference between objective and subjective time. The world may spin through space, rotating every 24 hours, while orbiting the sun every 365¼ days, but our experience of the passing of time often bears little relation to the constant rate shown on sundials, digital watches and wall planners.

We talk of long days, short summers and continually wonder how it can possibly be Monday, again, so soon. And we all know that 15 minutes in the dentist’s chair lasts 37.4 times longer than 15 minutes on the Internet.

And so it is the CFS is playing havoc with my own internal clock.

For a start, it feels like I experience two days for everybody else’s one. From the long night and struggle to move from not-quite-asleep, to more-or-less-awake, through the highs of the morning espresso, the caffeine comedown and the slump after lunch, by the time I crawl into bed around 2pm, I feel as exhausted as if I’d done a long hard day’s work. Day 2 lasts from sometime around 3.30pm, which needs to be kick-started with a strong coffee, and lasts until the approach of midnight, when most people are finishing their only day of the day.

And yet, the amount I manage to achieve in any one of these half-double days is minute and trying to work on any longer term projects is exceptionally difficult. In my former days of energy, it would generally take half an hour to properly get into something, but then several hours of work could be committed to it there and then. These days, however, I have barely started before I’ve run out of gas and my mind starts floating about, unable to sustain the focus required. Needless to say that constant starting but never getting anywhere is a frustrating process.

So despite the fact each week lasts a fortnight for me, I achieve in that time less than I used to in a single day.


Freakazojd said...

I really can't understand how difficult and frustrating this must be. I really hope you can find something to aid you soon. Wacky tabaccy perhaps? I kid.

Sayre said...

I wish my days would slow down a bit. The years are going by way too fast. My son turns 9 on Tuesday. I don't know how that can be, seeing as he's only just been born recently...

PI said...

I really do sympathise. Every now and then I get a glimmer. Today for instance I had my half an hour snooze after lunch(MTL has strict instructions to wake me after 30 minutes)and I felt listless and as if I could lie motionless for the rest of the day. Possibly as a result of doing a tiny amount of gardening yesterday. I need some pep, some vim some zip! And where am I gonna find it on a Sunday afternoon?

Kim Ayres said...

Freakzojd - not only would that make me feel even more tired, but the ensuing munchies would play havoc with my weight

Sayre - My son turning 9 was one of the turning points in our life changes. I remember thinking "9! How on earth did he get to be 9? He was 3 last time I looked!" I realised I was missing out on him growing up and knew that any changes we made in our life had to include the idea I could spend more time with him before he became a bolshy teenager.

Pat - ah well, you're up against it on a Sunday afternoon - there's a whole cultural history cotributing to the idea of the Sunday afternoon nap.

Styopa Likhodeev said...

Constant starting once got my stalled car out of the creek. Part of the ignition dealy got wet and wouldn't ignite. So, I put it in gear and turned the key and let it lurch it's way out on the battery. Who says constant starting never got anyone anywhere.

Jeff said...


Hang in there Bro, I wish I could figure out something that would help.

Peace Dude

cabronsito said...

What are you waitung for?
What do have to do?
What do you want to do?
What DO you do?

Maybe the answers to these questions have a lot to do.
Connected to age and family - advance.

I´m feeling similar and it seems to me that it all started when I moved to Mexico.
But looking a little deeper I discover that the moving and the beginning of my real family-live fall almost on the same chronological point.
And since the children have been with me --- time flies.
Never enough time for them.
Never enough time for work.
Never enough time for ....

Doing something about it?
Still looking for the way.

Mary Witzl said...

I do know how you feel about the sleep. I'm trying to get by on just four hours, and so far that is working: at the end of every day, I'm reasonably sleepy now instead of wide awake.

One thing I've found that makes time go quicker (in a good way) is having a real goal -- something you are desperate to attain. In my case, it is getting a book published. If I ever eventually manage this, I'll have a new goal: getting another one published. In this way, I hope to keep the carrot ahead of me -- always something to look forward to.

Kim Ayres said...

Justin - I was told to use that technique if ever I stalled on a railway track. However, it only works in emergencies and will wreck the car if you try and drive like that all the time

Jeff - don't worry, I know you're not holding out on me :)

Cabronsito - I'm still trying to find a way out of this. At the moment, however, each path I take seems to lead to a dead end

Mary - you're absolutely right.

savannah said...

*hugs* just because, sugar

C in DC said...

I suffer from recurring insomnia, and yet I can't really imagine what you're going through. I hope for you that you find your way out.

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah - hugs are always appreciated and reciprocated :) *hugs*

C in DC - insomnia is no fun. I hope you find a way through that too

Anonymous said...

HI KIM,I have cfs so know how hard it can be just to exist.Where I live there is a liason service to help people with cfs,ms etc. they use cognitive behavour therapy tecniques- dont know if you have access to similar service? has HELPED ME TOWARDS SLOW RECOVERY.


Kim Ayres said...

Hi Rose, thanks for taking the time to visit and comment.

I'm on the list for CBT.

Actually I'm on the list to get on the list for CBT. So far, no idea how long the waiting list is. Will hopefully get there eventually :)

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