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Are You Awake?

06 Jan

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Hey Gang!

I can’t sleep.

It isn’t the sort of thing where it is late, I am bored and so, I write a blog. No, this is a problem for me and has been since I was a kid. It is brought on, in my case, by stress. I have been to doctors and stuff and they would like to put me on sleeping medication but I am truly afraid of becoming addicted. I saw what prescription drugs did to my cousin but that’s another blog post.

So, I sit here, watching Arrested Development on Netflix for the millionth time and I start to think about what it is like to be an insomniac. I truly know what it means but I wondered if others knew. So, explicitly, this is about what it is like to be an insomniac through my eyes:

“You wake up. Your body feels sluggish. Stiff but feeling fatigued. You slowly get dressed and walk out into the apartment. Throughout the day you begin forgetting things. Where your keys went. Where you put your favorite tie. Why you were looking in the cupboard. It’s then that the thought comes to you and washes over you like a tidal wave of emotion. You know that it is about to begin. You will not sleep.

You remember when you were a kid and would sneak around all night playing with your G.I. Joes in secret to not wake your mother. You would do this until the blackened night sky would turn an ever growing navy blue. Then you would run and hide under the covers before the sun came up. In a way, you feared the sun. Sleep would come but only for three or four hours.

You remember high school when you finally got up the courage to tell your mother something was wrong with you after you started putting blankets up over the windows in your room; inside, it was perpetual night. You remember how much she worried about you and about what was wrong with you until you heard the doctors say “You have a mix of Transient and Acute Insomnia.” You remember how it seemed like a dream. After a month without sleep, his words sounded far away.

You come back to now and realize you were looking for the peanut butter. It is another “little win”.

You think about the word. Insomnia. For you, it holds more meaning than anything. It, in itself, is a monster. It is the boogeyman under your bed.

You go through the rest of the day…and the next….and the next. A week. Two weeks go by.

You look at yourself in the mirror and see how you have changed. Bags hang under your normally sparkling brown eyes but now look dull somehow. You feel unclean even after your shower. Your mind is everywhere and nowhere.

Throughout the day you are not there. You hang out with your friends. At night, you watch a movie with them. Your roommate says he is going to bed. He is tired he says. He can’t stay up any longer he says. You envy him. You watch another movie but you are deep in thought. You wonder when the last time you slept a full 8 hours was. You count up how many hours you slept the past week.

32.

Days seem endless and quick at the same time. You look in the mirror and you have to ask yourself:

Are you awake? Is this real?

You know that after a while, insomnia begins having an effect on you. The doctors said that would happen. You have to wonder if it is a vivid dream or reality. You feel completely crazy.

Your friends ask you why you look so tired and you tell them. They offer you various forms of things that help them go to sleep. You listen but take no note because you already know them all.

Warm milk makes you sick. Exercise doesn’t wear you out, in fact, you feel more energized, no matter what time of day you workout. You try meditation repeating your mantra and give up after 45 minutes. You try reading but your attention doesn’t last. You turn out all the lights and lay in bed. You peer into the darkness, wishing sleep would come. You feel so frustrated you could cry but cannot. You hear only the droning sound of the fan in your room and a faint yet constant tick from the Regulator Chiming clock over head. Soon, the ticking grows louder and more malicious. It mocks your sleeplessness.

You look at the clock just before your eyes close; it reads 4:34.

You wake up and it reads: 8:16.

You go through this downward spiral for weeks. You look for jobs. Go on Facebook. Think about your next screenplay. Think about your next blog. All you do is think and it bleeds.

You sit at dinner with your roommate and his girlfriend. The insomnia has made you reclusive and the constant thinking has consumed you. You think of erroneous things like, “I wonder if puppies know they will grow bigger?” and “I wonder if anyone has ever been thrown out of a restaurant for mixing up the salad and dinner forks?” What you don’t realize, until your roommate’s girlfriend calls you out is that you know show thought through facial expressions. You become self-conscious and try to think of nothing.

You meditate at night. You pray. You just want one good nights sleep but it doesn’t come.

Then, the next night you decide to write a blog about insomnia and, for the first time in almost a month, you yawn.

You are elated and you decide that sleep comes soon. You know that this is how the cycle ends.”

That’s it. The last month of my life wrapped up in a somewhat sad package but don’t feel badly for me or anything. You know that is not why I write these. It’s all about being truthful. Good with the bad. Beautiful with the Baneful.

I hope that, whenever you read this, you think about it before you drift off to sleep and know that some would kill to be in your position.

Sweet Dreams my beloved bloggers

-Chris

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11 responses to “Are You Awake?

  1. beenan81

    January 6, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Very truthful and full of insights. I am glad sharing the experience like this helped you to end the cycle. The description of your experience reminds me of what I have felt like when I have been very traumatised in my life – sort of on automatic but not able to function because I am not in the present moment,but somewhere so far away I didn’t think anything could reach me.All things pass eventually, even the bad stuff. Thank you for you moving post, it helps me understand other people in my life better too.Take care Chris:0)

     
  2. strawberryquicksand

    January 6, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Insomnia is just the frickin pits. I hate , hate , hate it. There is nothing worse than continually looking at the clock after thinking you may possibly have just managed a little bit of sleep… to see that you only looked at it two minutes earlier. That and the fact that now you could only have 4 hours and 28 minutes of sleep before you have to get up to go to work. If you could just get to sleep…

     
  3. sweetsound

    January 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve been having that for the past six months. I was treated for depression because that’s what we thought it was.

     
  4. brokenheartlimeaide

    January 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I have had trouble with this for quite some time but I have been and still am hiding it from my parentes, I don’t want my mom to worry and I don’t want to see my dads reaction. With me it seems to reach me for months then all of a sudden I’m laying on the couch and then I wake up nearly a day later. luckily my parents are not around when this happends but I am so scared that they will be. It has reached the point that I have put a towel under my door ao that they can’t see that I am sitting up in my room reading for hours and hours. I will be reading up to 6 books at a time just so that I have something to fill the time.

     
    • Introspections During Quiet Time

      January 8, 2013 at 12:49 am

      Reminds me of my own situation. It’s a pretty difficult thing but I would encourage you to say something to your parents. I know it sucks and it is crazy awkward but being sleepless is worse and kind of alienating. I chose to do so because I was tired of having to hide it and I always felt drained. I can empathize with you and I am sure whatever your decision is the right one for you. Keep us updated on your situation!

      -Chris

       
  5. jlvl

    January 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Actually, my wife is a little bit in same situation as you, Chris. I say ‘a little bit’ coz hers is not as bad as yours…I mean, she sleeps almost every night…but she goes to bed very late…only at times, she complains for not sleeping at all for the whole night. For quite a long time she’s started having some kinds of tea (‘infusion’ in french) after her evening meal, which is around 8h30…they say it’s mostly for digestion, but I think it has to do with sleep…it helps…I think so. There’s also a treatment which is very much like acupuncture, but they press the tips of your fingers instead of using needles…ever heard of that stuff? Very effective they say…see if you can ‘put your hand on that’!
    A last word; would you mind if I suggest I pray for you in my QUIET TIME?
    Sincerely
    Laval

     
  6. Cupcakes and Butterflies

    February 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I reread this today Chris. I’m hoping you are feeling less stressed and getting more rest here in the new year. I wish blessings upon you.

     

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