I hate insomnia, because I love sleeping. I love that weightless sensation as you’re dragged into unconsciousness. I love that feeling of ‘everything’s okay’ and total relaxation.
And I love dreaming. Oh, I absolutely adore dreaming! All of my dreams are so vivid, they feel real. To the point that when I wake up, I think for a few minutes that everything actually happened. (Which is an issue when a loved one dies in a dream, let me tell you.)
But lately, I’ve had the worst insomnia of my life. Well, as far as I can remember. I can’t sleep at night, but I can sleep all damn day. It doesn’t matter if I pull a twenty-four hour Stay Awake™ deal, either. I’ll wake up six hours later and won’t be able to pass back out.
Melatonin? Doesn’t touch it. I’m not one for sleeping pills, either, so fuck that. I guess I could abuse NyQuil, but again, not really my schtick. It’ll eventually correct itself, I’m sure, but this is getting annoying.
I’ve even tried not drinking coffee close to bedtime. Coffee doesn’t ever keep me from sleep, usually, but I figured ‘what the hell’? I’ll give it a shot. Still nothing.
Why is this happening? Is this because of Bipolar II? I was diagnosed several years ago, but living in America means there’s no way that shit’s getting treated. (At least not in my tax bracket.)
Why Insomnia Is A Problem
If it wasn’t for the fact that people need me during the day, this wouldn’t even bother me. It wouldn’t matter at all to me when I slept if I wasn’t expected to keep certain hours. If I was a full-time writer, a successful author, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.
But I’m not. Not yet. And real estate is where I earn my money. Real estate, where most of my clients and such keep regular business hours. I’m somehow managing to attend to my career duties despite my insomnia, but it’s a lot of work.
And there’s so much guilt hanging around me because of it. I feel like I let someone down almost every day. (We’re on day six or seven of this right now.) Even when I pull an all-nighter to make sure I’m conscious during the day, I’m practically useless. I’m exhausted, my mind totally preoccupied with sleep no matter how much coffee I pour down my gullet. I still manage to get my work done, but I’m miserable the whole time.
Boo-hoo, right? Someone is unhappy at work. Bet you’ve never heard that one before.
How My Insomnia Started
At the beginning of this seven-day stretch of insomnia, I wasn’t able to sleep because bad memories kept me awake. Those passed within a few days and I tried to flip my sleep schedule again, as I always do. It’s a common enough occurrence that I have a plan for it when the Memory Lane of Horrors™ comes to an end. That plan is simple: Force myself to stay awake all night and the following day. Then I pass out the following evening and wake up at 7AM (without an alarm). All done. It’s over. Life is back to normal.
Except it isn’t working this time and I’m not sure why.
Breaking It Down
I stayed up all day on the 15th, running on three hours of sleep. I went to bed at 8PM that night and woke up at 2AM. I stayed up until 5AM and managed to go back to sleep. Then I woke up at 1PM. I wound up staying up all night on the 16th/17th, and passing out at 4AM. I didn’t wake up again until 6:30PM. Maybe sleeping until 1PM on the 16th is what screwed me over…?
So I guess the only thing I can do about it now is to pull another all-nighter/all-dayer and see if that works. Today is the 18th @ 12:55AM. I’ve been up for a few hours now (went back to sleep at 6:30PM so that I could do this). If I stay up until 8PM today, I’ll have been awake for twenty-two hours. Hopefully that will be long enough to where my body won’t be able to stay awake any longer. Hopefully that will be enough to get me to pass out until 7AM and I can get back to normal.
Again, this isn’t new to me at all. This is a constant cycle in my life. Insomnia is a bitch.
I wish I was a successful author.
So, to recap:
- Insomnia wouldn’t be a problem if people weren’t counting on me.
- Resetting the circadian rhythm is a delicate process and makes me miserable for a day.
- I want to be a successful author with a writing career that pays the bills.
I really hope this slice-of-life blog post hits home for someone and makes them feel less alone. You aren’t a waste of space because you sleep at strange hours or for longer than ‘normal’ people. This isn’t your fault any more than it’s mine. Our brains are wired weird and we’re doing the best we can with what we got.
I can’t tell you it’s going to get better, because this has been an issue for me for sixteen years. It’s something a lot of us (or at least, me) will probably be battling for the rest of our lives. It might not get better, but it does get easier with time. You learn to work around it.
Do any of you struggle with insomnia? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments.
Also, the REM World trilogy is still a thing, even if I am having trouble focusing on my writing at the moment. Go check out the first three chapters and let me know what you think.