What other known medical conditions might it be like? I next thought of "sundowning" which is when someone with a fragile brain gets confused in the evening into night-time and then clears up during the day when the doctor observes them. The prevailing wisdom is that the timing is because there is less natural light and less stimulation in the early evening. I was reflecting on the similarity between sundowning and my anxiety (and, I must admit, wondering if my bed time anxiety was a very early form of sundowning). My worries about my brain's fragility may or may not be true, but what they did make me consider is whether or not the darkness, stillness and lack of stimulation was contributing to my anxiety state. Again, I didn't think so; it didn't feel right.
|Transitions in New Foundland|
Casting about for more parallels, I considered the toddler who falls apart with transitions. That felt more like the cause of my anxiety flaring up, the transition itself. I returned to considering the sundowning patient and wondered if their sundowning might be related to transitions rather than the actual level of daylight or amount of stimulation. Sundowning does occur with the change from day to evening shift, with the shift from the business hours part of the day with lots of staff and testing and activity to the more restful part of the day with a focus on tasks like eating and sleeping. No one would mistake the evening hours feel of a hospital for the day time vibe. I wonder if there is a difference in sundowing in institutions that have twelve hour shifts instead of the more traditional eight. Interesting thoughts, all.
May our brains be robust.