Go The Fuck To Sleep: A Lullabye to My Maniacal, Stubborn Brain

shut-the-fuck-up-stfu-sleep

While I wish I was clever enough to think of that title or write this page, this comes from the book by Adam Mansbach (read aloud by Samuel L. Jackson) and is worth a read…and I don’t even have kids.

Look,  I believe in the lyrics “you can’t always get what you want ”  but I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around “But if you try sometime you find You get what you need.”  That’s where I’m going to call bullshit. my body my brain my legs my stomach -they all know that I want to sleep.  That I  don’t just want it, I need it.  And I assure you I am trying as hard as I can.

it’s like my brain is laughing at me as I try breathing exercises, body relaxation, mocking me for my attempts. I even tried doing visualization, which I think is a bunch of shit, and I tried to lock each of my problems  into boxes with keys so that my brain would be empty.  I don’t want to give away the ending but let’s just say I’m still awake.  I’m on day four of this wacky insomnia bout. I was able to lie down and close my eyes and relax my body, but my brain still wouldn’t let me sleep. and so now I’ve been in bed for three hours: I’ve tried reading, writing, (I don’t want to do anything too important since I’m not sure I’m fully awake,)  i’m doing my best to avoid medication but I don’t know what else to do and I don’t know why I can’t have this.

maybe it’s  my depressions’  childish way of telling me to fuck off since I slept so much when I was depressed and now I can’t seem to slow down enough to enjoy a deep dream sleep.

even when I do fall asleep I’m usually half awake, directing my dreams and getting up every few hours. it’s just this process of falling asleep  that I find so fucking frustrating.

it’s such a simple idea. I remember as a kid I was so good at sleeping. I could sleep anywhere, I slept through anything, it was a problem because I was just so damn good at it. it doesn’t make sense to want something so bad, to try so hard, to even deserve it and still eyes open brain thumping racing twirling, body aching, and wanting.

there’s usually a point when I decide whether to keep fighting or just watch TV until I pass out at three or four in the morning.  This is my current conundrum that I’d really prefer not to have.

Advertisements

Conversations with My Insomnia

article-2040037-0e04bc2a00000578-667_634x324

I’m the one on the far left – I wear a lot of black. And while my hair is brown now, who knows – if I don’t sleep long enough, maybe my hair will turn white?

Insomnia begets itself. This was my sixth night. I’m running out of patience…or maybe that was three days ago and I’m just too tired to be angry anymore.

At least if I couldn’t sleep, but I could get work done and be effective, I could see a small positive to this aggravating problem. Or maybe if I didn’t have a mental illness that made it really important to get sleep, it’d be okay. I mean, there are people that have full lives on 4 hours of sleep. I used to idolize them. Now I just hate them with a deep, dark, irrational jealousy.

But the real bitch of it all is that insomnia’s such a bully. Here’s just a sampling of a few of her dick moves in my battles with sleep. Note: I never seem to get a word in edgewise:

Insomnia: “Oh, you want to sleep? Did you just close your eyes? How cute, with your little mask. I should totally Instagram this. But wait – you’re not forgetting your schedule tomorrow, are you? You think you’re going to be able to get to the gym? Are you going to fuck something up? Oooh, what if you wake up depressed? Or sad? Or fatter than now? But seriously, you don’t want to be tired or you’ll really fuck it up even more than you were most likely going to. Wait, did I interrupt you?”

Insomnia:”How adorable is this. You are trying mindfulness exercises? How’s that ‘breathing’ working out for you? Are you sure your toes are really relaxed? You know, you should really do this better – this whole relaxing, meditative shit. ‘Cuz you suck at it. Maybe you should meditate on that for a bit.”

Insomnia: “You think you’re drifting off thanks to the meds? Well don’t forget you’re sleeping alone, running out of money, still not in shape, and your kitchen is a mess. But seriously, think of ocean waves – that should help with your failing life. Quick! In about half an hour, that sleepy feeling is going to wear off and if you’re not asleep by then…well then you just wasted a very expensive Xanax, you pill-popping loser.”

Insomnia: “Did you fall asleep?! Well I’m going to have you continue your conversation in the dream out loud until you realize you are speaking to yourself in your room and wake yourself up. (And then continue the conversation until you finish your sentence because you clearly were passionate about the argument you were making.) Maybe I’ll even have you physically get out of bed in the middle of your dream, half-awake, and then once you’re up, have you forget what you needed or why.” (snickers…)

Insomnia: “Okay, you got to sleep. Kudos. Let’s see here…yup. Here’s a dream where everyone is yelling at you for something you didn’t do and for some reason no one is listening. And you can’t apologize, and you can’t fix anything, and you still don’t get why everyone is mad. Are you catching the theme that you suck and no one likes you? Okay, just checking. Enjoy.”

Insomnia: “You think you are dreaming, don’t you? Then why did you just make him come back to talk to you? Are you actually trying to ‘replay’ that ‘scene’ again? You know you are totally awake and directing this dream, backseat driver. There’s no REM in that but enjoy what we here in the sleep world call ‘daydreaming.’ Oh, and even though you are directing the dream, he’s still not going to come back and tell you he likes you. Sorry if I ruined the ending – but was it really a surprise? Yeah, that’s called throwing shade.”

Insomnia: “You think you’re asleep? Oops! Well, it looks like you have to go pee. Careful not to wake up. But hey, while you’re peeing, don’t forget this list of things you might fuck up. Ahem, number one…”

Insomnia: “Oh shit! Wake up! Wake up! Are you up?! Syke – I totally got you! It’s only 4am and now you are wide awake. Muhaha, bitch.”

Insomnia:  “Girl, you really should get to sleep. It’s really not a big deal. You know you want to. I know you love sleep, and hey, from what I hear, sleep loves you. After all, aren’t you about to take on a shitload of responsibility when you go to London? You better be awake for that. It would be so sad to see you squander all your money just because you need your ZZZZ’s.

Insomnia: “Oh and P.S. You look worse than shit. There is no concealer that can fix that mess. Maybe you should become an extra – I mean, zombies are really ‘in’ right now and you would really help cut costs – no makeup needed! I’m just trying to be helpful.”

See, she’s a total bully. But damn, she’s good.

Pillow Talk: Can You Fail at Becoming Yourself?

Tonight, as I got prepped in bed to battle the anti-sleep demon, I began to think about London. Ever since I got in to graduate school again, and basically made the decision that I have to go, I think about it several times a day. And really, London is really just an analogy for decision-making in general.

I hate to harp on this, but I can’t seem to find a sense of peace with it – making decisions without losing my mind. And tonight, I really did. I turned off the lights and London popped into my head. I started thinking about the feeling of being lost, stupid and clueless, which will inevitably be a constant for the first month at least. I get lost a lot – even in places I know. I actually don’t mind it so much, especially if I have time and shoes that don’t give me blisters – but I know I’m going to have to ask someone where the hell to go. And with my American accent, well my fear of judgement rolls over me like this giant wave, and I feel like I can’t breathe. I detest being a tourist – it drives me mad with embarrassment.

And then just for a moment, I thought about leaving completely. If I was gone, I wouldn’t have to make all these decisions. I wouldn’t have to know if I was right or wrong or deal with the fear and anxiety before the decision has been made. I wouldn’t have to hear people telling me different things and not knowing who to trust. I wouldn’t have to feel so fucking lost in knowing who I am. All of this fear would be gone.

And I would be an unknown. Still young, without a career, partner, or lifestyle, people could only imagine the person I would have been. You hear it when people talk about those they’ve lost too soon: “She would have made such a difference” “if only she had more time.” People would just fill in the answer of who I might have been for themselves.

I cannot believe I thought this. I’m so frightened of myself. I know I’m not going to do anything, and this thought has drifted in my head a few times over the year, usually as a passing thought of why I had wanted it when I was clinically depressed. But it’s not fair. I don’t want my fear to overtake me so violently that it makes me want to vanish from all the questions life provides. ‘Cuz that’s what life is, right? Exploring questions and choosing answers that eventually form who you are.

Isn’t this why I spent years trying to get better? Why I left my life and moved home? Why I did ECT? Why I’ve spent two years trying medications and exercising and challenging myself to leave the house every day?

I’m okay now. I know that the thought I had was basically a flight response to another fear of something that isn’t happening until September. I know it has something to do with my first DBT class tomorrow, and meeting new people, and how much I really do not like mental health groups. I have so many fears in my head, big and small, though they all seem to carry the same weight of anxiety.

I’m here. I get that. Maybe I’ll figure this out. Maybe I’ll have a breakdown. Hopefully it will be a mix of something in between. I’m just so exhausted of being so terribly frightened of life. I worry that my failures of simple decisions might be indicative of larger decisions to come. I never really thought much of the future because I never thought I’d have one. And now there is a prospect of perhaps having one, and I’m terrified of wasting it.

Can you waste something that is undefined? Can you do something that is only within you, incorrectly? Can you fail at becoming yourself? Can someone please invent a worthy sleeping pill, for fuck’s sake.

this too shall pass?

Something’s wrong. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I can feel it deep within. I have decided to play this one out…see if I can wait it out until it gets bored and subsides. I know it’s a futile attempt.

This mounting, ominous presence has made my torrid relationship with sleep even worse. I want to outlast my inevitable sleep – a looming fear that begins when I wake up. Every decision I make throughout the day, I wonder “will this help tonight or make it worse?” I’ve become paralyzed. Complacent. Sad. Scared. I remember six months ago, when the medication was in full effect, still waking up scared, but excited too. I didn’t know if I would have a good or bad day, but I wanted to try. I miss that feeling.

For the past year, I have tried really hard to develop a sleep regimen to lessen my insomnia. I have to be in bed by 11, take my pills to help me sleep, and read, not watch tv. I turn on my fan and my noise machine, prep my eye mask, and as soon as I feel my eyes begin to tire, I turn off the lights and wait for my dreams or nightmares to come – I’ll take what I can get. But now, I feel a panic inside as I start to wash my face and begin my process for bed. I brush my teeth and I start to think about my day, my life, what lays in store for me once I get underneath the covers – the thoughts that will consume me no matter how much white noise I use to try and block it out.

I tried to avoid dealing with this panic for a few weeks by staying up until I was exhausted and over-medicating myself with relaxants. The problem was, I woke up painfully exhausted, spending the day with a headache, frustrated and sad, and unless committed to someone else, canceling all of the things I use to keep myself above the tow of depressive thinking because I was just too fucking tired.

Before I fell asleep last night, I reviewed the day. I did not get any errands done. I did not do any homework. I did not contact any friends. I did not do any cleaning. I did not go to the gym. I did not shower.

I opened the book I have attempted to read with little interest, and noticed the age on my hand: veins, dry skin, worn down knuckles. I am not a child anymore even though my life is like one. In therapy, we talk about trying to volunteer one day a month; we discuss learning who I am and who I want to be; what could make me happy; why I have so much hate and detest for everything I am. I have barely maturated past the emotional age of 15, but my age hasn’t. And I started to cry.

I cried for how little I have accomplished. I cried for the potential my life has and had that is slowly and constantly draining away. I cried for the exhaustion of fighting this disease even with medication. I cried for the craving I fight every day not to self-harm, to punish myself. I cried at how long I have been fighting this and how when each day passes, opportunities lessen. I cried because I am so painfully lonely. I cried because I never wanted to make it past 30 for this very reason. I’m getting older, but I’m not moving forward and my life is passing me by – unlived.

I cried because I’m losing hope in myself that I can be saved.

I woke up this morning, and did not want to get out of bed. Once I got out of bed, there would be choices to make, and I knew already that I wasn’t going to make the ones I wanted. And I knew that that was my fault. Maybe this weakness has been triggered by events beyond my control but I haven’t been fighting it, at least not enough.

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and find the power to push past my fear. Maybe it’s just a phase in the process. Maybe it’s just a down time, “like all people have.” But maybe it won’t, and I’m scared, and I’m sad; and I’m just so fucking tired.