Couldn’t think about something to blog about, but really wanted to write, so I decided to pick something that piss got on my nerves today.

A lot of people don’t realise how serious and unavoidable insomnia is. A lot of people confuse it with sleepless nights because of nerves, or sleep deprivation because of some kind of distraction such as the internet or reading a book. Other people have qualms about it, saying that people should sleep during the night-time and get up in the morning and that they could sleep if they just lay in bed and relaxed and counted sheep and didn’t drink caffeine after 6pm. This is absolute bullsh codswallop in my opinion.

Whenever I go through a bout of insomnia, I can be awake for 2-5 days with no sleep whatsoever. The first 2 days are fine, but then the tiredness starts to set in. I become like a zombie, unfocused and with less than my normal brainpower. I lose any will to concentrate, or listen to people’s’ problems, and even walking becomes a huge physical effort. This can last up to 2 days. Then, I either crash and sleep for 12 hours straight, or I become almost manic with hyper energy. I am on edge and easily irritated. This lasts anywhere between 1 and 2 days. By this point I’m like an elastic band, stretched to my limit.

But, like the clichéd metaphorical elastic band, I’ll have to snap back or I’ll break. I go into shut down. I can be going for a jog, or reading, or on my laptop and I’ll suddenly feel very heavy. My eyes will be hard to keep open and there’s no way you’d be able to hold my attention. I’d just have to lie down and I’d be gone to sleep in a second.

People say ‘If you’re tired, just go to bed and try to sleep.’ I usually reply with ‘I’ll try.’ but, to be honest, I just wanna punch them in the face. They have absolutely no idea what it’s like. I will feel tired and think ‘I may actually sleep tonight.’ so I get into bed with a book and read for a while. I turn out the light when my eyes start to sting, and get comfortable. I lie there thinking about a million things at once. I get lost in thought, then suddenly jerk back to being aware. I will sometimes even jolt, like somebody had frightened me.

When I settle myself down again by just refusing to pay attention to any of the ideas or thoughts that are lining up for me to examine. I focus on the darkness, and on sleeping, and on the type of thing that I’d like to dream about. But not entertaining what my brain wants to deal with has its side effects. I’ll start getting this niggling sense of paranoia. It gets stronger and stronger. The covers become too tight around my neck, and too loose around my feet. The bed is too lumpy, or it’s trying to swallow me up. I have an insatiable itch in my foot, or my scalp, or my back.

If I’m listening to music, I have to turn it off so that I can listen for sounds that I might or might not have heard. I squeeze my eyes shut, but want to check if there’s anybody in the room with me. I feel a slight breeze on my face, like somebody’s breath, and I know it’s just my imagination, but I want to open my eyes to see if anyone is there to comfort myself, but I don’t want to in case there IS somebody there. I feel both claustrophobia and vertigo steeped in poisonous paranoia and left to steep in the darkness. The fears that I never experience otherwise. I’m fine with heights and tight cramped spaces.

It is not like night terrors or nightmares, I’ve had them both too. This is just my body telling me that I’m not getting any sleep. All of my irrational childhood fears come back, the most basic urge to flee, to get up and stop lying vulnerable and asleep. I’m too busy thinking at a million miles an hour for that.

I snap my eyes open after about 2 minutes deliberation, and realise there is nothing there. I’ve gotten a shot of adrenalin for my trouble, and sleep is impossible now. I could try again, but my thoughts are racing even faster than before, and my body refuses to relax. I shut my eyes and the paranoia starts to eat away at that little corner again. So I give in to my brains need to process everything right here, right now. I’ll go on the internet, or read a book, of watch some tv, all in an effort to tire my brain out. Doesn’t work all that often, but I live in hope.

My doctor seems to think that I inflicted it upon myself with my erratic sleeping pattern, and that it’s psychosomatic. She doesn’t even think insomnia is real. I’d love to hear her say that if she spent years worth of sleepless nights battling it out with her basic instinctual fears, trying to get her brain to shut up for a half a fuc freaking hour so that she can have a nap.

I don’t lose sleep by staying up on the internet, or reading, or watching tv or star-gazing all night. I all do these things because I’m wasting my time by trying to sleep. People need to understand this, and stop rebuking me for not putting myself through mental torture because of the always-unsuccessful endeavour of trying to get some shut-eye. I really want to sleep, but I really/actually/literally/physically cant.

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