I did have a bit of help doing these constant, back-to-back events at this time last year. It was amphetamines.
Honestly, I’m not even ashamed of that. One of the reasons why so many show-bizzy type people end up taking stimulants is because the hours are hellish and there’s no allowance for anyone to get tired. Most big crews I’ve ever worked on have had a handful of people who are on coke or speed. After a while, it’s almost necessary to keep you normal.
Not that I’m an advocate or an apologist. Sleep is the better option every time. It’s just that the work schedule sometimes doesn’t allow for sleep… and that’s wrong and it needs to change.
The amphetamines I was taking were fairly minor: Duromine. My doctor gave them to me to help lose weight, and they worked. They also helped to keep me upright and running for 14-hour day after 14-hour day. But it was hard to go from that to having to switch my sleep schedule around all the time (6am start one day, 3pm the next, then midday, then 3 to 3, etc). There’s no pattern for your brain to grip onto, so it just tries to stay awake on stress… So I added sleeping pills to the mix – which also worked, but which still didn’t really take the place of natural sleep. When you go from chemically up to chemically down you wake up feeling like you’re still in a dream and you might just use your morning coffee to brush your teeth. It’s not a good way to live your life.
It was around April that I stopped taking both. The work schedule eased off a little, and the weeks became more manageable. Like riding a bull rather than riding a spitting, wild tiger. But I’m missing those drugs a bit this summer. Riding a tiger is hard. I wake up feeling bled-out and skinned.
… I promise that one day soon I will stop bitching about work and being tired. Soon. Promise. I’ve just got to get far enough on top of things to start enjoying it again. At the moment it’s just holding on, white-knuckled until it’s over.
It’s nearly over…