therein i bitch

Insomnia is a funny thing. Since I'm in my (ahem) 40s, people always say to me, like we're soul mates or something, "Oh my God, I heard it's a 40s thing, and I'm so glad I'm not the only one."

To which I try (depending on how much sleep I've had) to smile politely and say, "Yeah. That must be it."

In other words, I lie. Yep. Right to your face. Because for me, it's not a 40s thing. I have long been the only one.

I have always, as long as I can remember, had insomnia. Night demons, I used to think of them, when the ghoulies and ghosties raise a ruckus in my mind. And when I mean always, I do mean always, since I was young kid. I remember distinctly laying in my bed until all the adults in my house (I was the youngest) went to sleep. At sleepovers and camp I used to lay awake for an hour or more than the last girl standing. On school nights I read after bedtime by closet or flashlight, depending on the vigilance of my parents.The summer I turned 13 I wrote my first book and made a great deal of art, staying up until 2 or 3 in the am. I was on sleeping medication when I was pregnant, I slept so little it really wasn't safe for me to drive. After the babies were born, due to some postpartum depression, I was almost beyond functioning. (I might go to sleep but the kiddos do like to eat every 4 hours or so in the early weeks.) To this day, most nights I read or watch TV until I'm beyond exhaustion and thought.

Except it's got a new twist: After I fall asleep, I twitch back awake.

And then, I'm Awake.

That happened at about 11 last night. Miracles of miracles, I was asleep and then I heard a noise that jerked me out of it. Finally at 1 I went to get iGor and read a bit (finished DARK AND DISORDERLY, fun read) and started on a drier revision how-to text. That seemed to do the trick.

But I was up at 7 (the same thing happens to me in the morning: wake me up in daylight hours and it's unlikely I'll get back to sleep). I don't nap. It takes me so long to fall asleep I rarely get the time to actually go to sleep.

Anyway, I don't know that there's much to be done. I know it affects my thought, my memory, my reasoning, my moods, my appetite. (Right now I'm in a downswing on appetite. Don't want much.) It also enables me to stay up later than most folks on occasion. I've had late night experiences I wouldn't trade, and been haunted by demons I think I'll never escape, learned how to function on a few hours. Insomnia is so much a part of my identity, of  who I am, I'm not sure what I'd do if I did sleep.

Today, though, it's about pulling myself out of the seething cocktail of exhaustion, annoyance, self-pity, and self-loathing and get out of the house. Sitting here bitching about it (and probably reading about it too) just makes me more tired.


Travis Erwin said...

I too suffer especially in the beginning stages of a writing project when i cannot shut down my mind.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

That's funny, I think I'm exactly the opposite. I think drafting helps silence the demons somewhat. I do dream about it sometimes though. :)

Beth Partin said...

I wonder if you had night terrors. I had those when I was a child. Apparently I would start screaming in the middle of the night when I was a toddler and they couldn't wake me up. The treatment then was UV radiation.

I never used to have trouble sleeping, but I do now. I take melatonin most nights. It usually helps me fall asleep but does not help me stay asleep. So a few nights a week I wake up and can't quiet my mind. Usually reading a "comfort book" helps.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I wish I had a comfort book. Maybe THE OUTSIDERS?

I've yet to be taking many drugs for my insomnia. I'm not really one of those "throw drugs at it" kind of people (or herbs or whatnot).

I've never heard that I had night terrors. In fact, I think I could count on one hand the nightmares I've had in my life. Of course, you don't really remember night terrors, but you know what I mean.

God I'm so tired I'm talking in circles. Or spirals or something.