Of sleep and kind truth

First published 1st October 2013

As I have mentioned elsewhere, chemotherapy has had a massive impact on my sleep patterns. Knowing this was on the cards Liz decamped to the spare room the evening I had my first dose. This tactic has ensured at least one of us gets a good night of sleep.

Given this backdrop I have been surprised not to have sensed a lack of mental sharpness or experienced feelings of overwhelming fatigue. The Red Bull effect of the various chemical agents has instead kept me feeling slightly overstimulated or hyper for the majority of the time. I have had to factor this element into my journalling and reflections after some intense times of prayer in the night hours to make sure I am not losing my grip on reality!

Yesterday was the first day I felt mentally exhausted and having intended to catch up with correspondence in the morning I realised I simply needed to take a nap. That turned out stretch from 10.30am to midday and felt wonderful.

The sleep deprivation has, however, been making itself known in other ways. Liz pointed out to me that I had been getting increasingly 'ratty' over the past week not news I found easy to hear but feedback I needed. I had the sense not to blame it on my lack of sleep even if that has been a factor; in the end we have to take responsibility for ourbehaviourand own it.

The key for me in giving and receiving feedback, as Patrick Lencioni writesin Getting Naked, is holding together kindness and truth. Fortunately I have a wife who does this beautifully. Truth without kindness can be cruel, while kindness that avoids the truth is simply dishonest. How are you holding these two together in your conversations?

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