© by Perry Holzman. Used with permission.
Posted to http://www.cpaptalk.com on Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:51 am
Walking Dead is where most of us start at. That is how a person with severe OSA problems feels before PAP. You seem to sleep very well - are always tired, cannot think hardly at all, and can barely function well enough to eat, bathe, do a basic job (with not a good performance), and usually come home to die in front of the TV and sleep (you can sleep at the drop of a hat). Life is no fun at all, and you can be extremely frustrated because you know that something is wrong and you used to be able to do better. Your personal relationships sink to all time lows. You are probably so far out of it that your \"other\" in life may seek others for intellectual level or intimate companionship so that they can have a life at all (The best time to tell your “other” that you love them or care for them is before someone else tells them – I suggest that you do so daily – starting right now: even if you are not in the “walking dead” zone).
Basic Treatment is the next step. In my case this happened first on CPAP, then on AutoCPAP that was set-up totally wrong for me. All the sudden you feel much better. You start to notice that there is more to life than you have been experiencing lately. You now find the energy to do things in the morning you really should have been doing all along like flossing teeth, or some house cleaning. But you still cannot think clearly like you used to, while your job and personal relationships improve a little, you still come home from work exhausted, and retire to the TV or recreational reading because you don\'t have the mental energy to do anything else.
It is amazing how well you feel compared to before - but you still don\'t have the energy that you remember (or that you see other people with). Naps are still needed if you are to function at all throughout the day. Often it takes a couple of months – but there comes a point where you know that you are not where you should be.
I will note that most sleep doctors are satisfied once a person progresses from Walking Dead to Basic Treatment. They consider you a success, and are not likely to provide much support past this point. My personal experience is that I was better off dealing with a family doctor to move beyond this point as I was dealing with other health issues.
Advanced Treatment may follow. Here your feel so tremendously great compared to before. Life starts to be good again; you can see that there is a future (especially in the morning when you get up). Your sleep seems to be under control, you have the opportunity to do things in your job and personal life that you could not even imagine before. Mentally you can start to think of several different things early in a day. But you still feel run down in the afternoon (this must be normal you figure) and look forward to bed each night.
Mental Zest is where you want to be, what happens when treatment is really working well for you. All the sudden your mind and life is free again. You typically wake up feeling great, can do multi-tasking of different mental task (which really helps your job and personal life), and have energy all day. Can stay up much of a night if needed - with energy and mental involvement - without major effects on the next day. You can see how to make life great once you solve those problems that accumulated when you weren’t feeling so well (and some of those problems can be major issues to solve). You finally realize that this is what normal life should be. You may recognize at this stage that this is how you felt when you were a teenager. As long as you have a positive attitude about yourself and life - you are ready again to take on the world…
It took me years to get to the Mental Zest stage. I would like to claim that I can stay there. Pollen season knocks me back to the Advanced Treatment, and excessive work hours can easily knock me back to the Basic Treatment Stage (simple exhaustion). Proper diet, nutrition, and exercise are also required to keep you at the Mental Zest stage.
May each of you have a safe and quick journey to “Mental Zest.”