Updated: Feb 22, 2020
When I chose to become a dispatcher in 2009, I willingly agreed to go on overnight shifts (3rd shift or "midnights") because it was the only way I could make a living AND raise my soon-to-be-born daughter. I didn't realize what an absolute horrible decision it was from the perspective of my mental and physical health......until now.....10 years later.
People are generally aware that if you don't sleep, you can feel a bit groggy and lethargic---however---not many know of an unfortunate disorder caused by CONTINUOUSLY not getting enough sleep, or sleeping during times that we are not anatomically built for....(daytime sleeping)---You can get what's called, circadian rhythm disorder, which is a lot worse than some people realize
Real quick if you're unaware of what circadian rhythm is--- It's the magical internal 24-hour biological clock (similar to the clocks found in computers) that is responsible for regulating our NATURAL sleep/wake cycles and also plays a part in our digestive processes, motor skills, coordination and general cognition; therefore, when that rhythm is thrown off by abnormal sleeping (either by choice or pathology) the result can lead to immediate effects towards physical and mental impairments in school, work and social interactions, as well as:
-Difficulty initiating sleep
-Difficulty maintaining sleep
-Lack of Nonrestorative sleep
-Impaired performance, including a decrease in cognitive skills
-Poor psychomotor coordination
-Inhibits mood regulation
-Can cause brain damage by over activating the amygdala where fight-flight or freeze response and aggression lives.
So yea, lots can go wrong when sleep is disrupted or skipped all together, and after an entire decade of having to sacrifice my sleep in order to maintain my employment as a dispatcher, I unfortunately experience all of the above mentioned symptoms either all of the time or the majority of the time. And the worst part is that I am not 100% certain how much neurobiological damage can be reversed if at all. I will unfortunately have to work and wait to know that for sure with my case specifically....luckily according to resent sleep studies, there's hope for reversing/repairing the damage caused by constant sleep deprivation.
As much as I love and live to help others, I've come to realize that there are better ways of still helping others other than working for this company, in this profession.....healthier ways! I know in my heart AND head that I can't keep going on like this and expect to be wildly successful in my own pursuits. Just in the last 4 years alone.... I have been hospitalized once for a week and had to increase my anti-depressant medication...TWICE---medically suggesting that these constant overnight shifts, are in fact, setting me up for utter disaster (high risk of depression relapse).
If I stay, I'm doomed to remain on a course to die out little by little and be riddled with regret; which really just makes my decision to take the full-time entrepreneurial leap that much easier because if I'm going to die working for something, I'm going to die fighting for my own ambitions and goals, but not the ambitions and 6-figure salaries and ego strokes of others whom just see dispatchers as nothing more than a "warm body" to fill a chair. Never taking into account all that we sacrifice to make them their money. Fuck that jazz!
Days remaining: 135!