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Three days to go

May 26, 2012

Not calender days. Working days. I plan to finish fieldwork at the end of this month, literally on Thursday 31st May. I have been struggling recently. Months of weird hours, circadian rhythms pendulating, running on adrenalin with all neurones firing, finally caught up with me. Throw in a few distressing personal issues, I found myself in a bout of insomnia that was easily the worst of my life. Under stress, I sleep badly at the best of times, but this was excessive. Last week I literally went three full nights without sleep. I did sleep for an hour at one point during the second day, but that was it. I had to stop fieldwork because it was clearly dangerous to drive. My mind wouldn’t stop whirring, my body felt electric, and I felt fogged but not tired, even though I knew I was exhausted.


I retreated back to Co Derry and I’m beginning to come round. I missed two days of planned fieldwork, but the weather’s been good so I can catch up. I have slept a little the past two nights, so I’m able to function again. I went out yesterday morning, back to the RSPB reserve at Lough Foyle and got the last of my reed buntings. That was good. I’m planning to go out tomorrow if the wind dies down, and chase down blackbirds and chiffchaffs in a local woodland. Then it’s back to Belfast and two planned outings on Wednesday and Thursday. And then folks, at some point it’s off to the West, to Achill Island, to rest.


Then I’ll be able to review the last few weeks. There are stories to tell.


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