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July 12, 2021

Insomnia: When the demons keep us up at Night.

 

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For me, insomnia comes and goes—it is short term, not chronic.

I don’t claim to understand other people’s relationship with insomnia or the reasons they suffer from it. This text is only a mild account of my experience with it.

It’s one of those nights that I cannot sleep.

The rest of the world is safely tucked in their beds, snoring, resting, dreaming, and I am sitting in bed, with wide eyes, with the light on, staring at my reflection in the window, contemplating life.

No matter how tired I feel, I refuse to close my eyes and pretend I can fall asleep. I know it’s not happening tonight. Overthinking is pouring out of my every pore. My mind is playing tricks on me, trying to distort my reality. I’m emotional, I’m paranoid, and tired.

I’m always tired lately.

I don’t drift off to sleep as easily as I used to. In the past, no matter what went on in my life, I always depended on a good night’s sleep to keep me calm and rested. This lasted decades. But it seems I’ve reached the point where not even sleeping comes easily anymore.

Maybe it’s my guilty conscience that keeps me awake until dawn.

Heavy breathing, burning eyes, a fried brain, and yet sleep refuses to humour me. In the morning hours, when silence is deafening, to the point there’s a piercing buzzing in my ears, I sit still—staring at nothing in particular, either overwhelmed by thoughts or entirely empty of them.

I write down everything that’s going on inside me, to get it out of my system, and to monitor myself.

I never thought I’d turn into one of those people I came across in life who had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep; twisting and turning in their beds, taunted by nightmares and roaming thoughts. I used to study them, discuss insomnia with them, wanting to learn more about everything that kept them up at night. I found it fascinating how they had difficulty doing something as natural as sleeping.

I used to pity them when I wasn’t one of them; never take things for granted, never be cocky, because karma is a beast. Back then, my mind had the capacity for more anxiety, more fear, more pain, but fast forward a few years, the mind has reached its peak, and it’s struggling on a daily basis to keep the calmness, to keep the control.

I try to remember the turning point—what person, what words or actions, what day or even the exact second—that led to this (I’ll dramatically say to my downfall). I guess it was a series of events that I failed to stop, a series of decisions that I put too much faith in.

We’re always at a crossroads, and being asked to make only one out of two or more decisions, and we may not have enough time to think things through.

Perhaps at the time we’re sure of what we believe, and then these monstrous decisions end up shaping the rest of our lives.

And I keep taking deep breaths to calm myself down, but it isn’t enough, and I need to take another one, and then another one, until my chest tightens.

It’s 3:00 a.m. precisely, based on my smart phone, and I need to sleep so that I can wake up in three hours to deal with another dreadfully insignificant day.

Better this way, than dealing with a dreadfully significant day that’d bring changes I’m not yet ready to bother with (although changes aren’t that bad, they move you along to the next chapter, and they are unavoidable).

In the end, I turn the light off, and I lie on my stomach. I feel my heart drumming against the mattress, as anxiety is running at full speed, and it cannot be ignored. It demands attention.

Eventually I can face it, to slay the dragon, which will keep spitting fire until I take action; if not tonight, then some other time.

~

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