Okay, I’m going to write an unapologetically long blog post, so long that you might fall asleep reading it, which would be a rudely ironic thing to do because this post is about this huge thing in my life called INSOMNIA.
Insomnia sucks. It is this awful thing that I deal with on a daily basis. It used to be that I’d go a few months sleeping great, then I’d have 4 to 6 weeks of insomnia, then a few months of blissful restful nights. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now I have long spells where I don’t sleep well followed by long spells where I sleep even worse, and it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. I guess I know it’s a worse week when I stub my toe and instead of just yelling out a swear word and moving on, I find myself curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor, sobbing and saying, “I want a new life.”
Each night I go to bed I tell myself, “Tonight is going to be one of those nights when I sleep great.” Then I lay down and put on some hypnotherapy. Sometimes I fall right asleep, only to wake up every hour, on the hour until about 2AM when I’ve put myself back to sleep four times already, I’m exhausted, and I just can’t do it again.
Sometimes I fall asleep beautifully, but for some reason I always have some stupid nightmare at about 2AM that results in my body being flooded with adrenaline that leaves me more ready to run a 400-meter-dash more easily than I could fall back to sleep.
Sometimes it takes me an hour of listening to hypnotherapy/soothing music and finally I’m about to drift off to sleep when, for some reason, my brain sits bolt upright inside my skull and says, WELL THAT’S ENOUGH OF THAT! Then I don’t even feel tired, so I have to get up and read or watch a show until my eyes actually start bleeding, and only then will my brain is all HEY, U NEVER ACTUALLY WENT TO SLEEP, BRO! By then I’m finally able to fall asleep, but as it’s 2 or 3 in the morning it is too late to get a full night of rest.
Most hours of the night are a torturous series of flipping from one end of the bed to the other, laying absolutely still for hours at a time but nothing happening, listening to hypnotherapy, putting on relaxing music, doing self-meditation, moving to the couch, moving back to the bed, reading books, and/or watching something from the nature channel. By the time morning comes, I am no longer cheerfully optimistic about getting a good night’s sleep. I am Mr. Hyde, and the first person to look at me sideways is really gonna get it.
All the fun is gone from life when I don’t sleep well. I am irritated with my husband, I find my kids to be substandard, my to-do list is to overwhelming to even look at, I don’t smile or laugh, and I’m sure I will never amount to anything more than what I am right now: a tired, past-her-prime homemaker with an attitude problem. I’m like a whiny teenager who doesn’t want to go to the gym, who doesn’t want to take out the garbage, who doesn’t feel like folding laundry. My body goes on autopilot, driving the kids around and distributing foodstuffs until finally, finally there’s enough break in my schedule to take a nap.
Oh, those naps. How I live for those naps. A 45-minute nap makes all the difference in my day, the difference between being Angry Zombie Mom and Flowery, Sing-songy Mom. Waking up from those naps, suddenly my kids are brilliant, my husband is the love of my life, I can’t wait to get started on that to-do list, I smile at strangers, and I think I’m going to even start writing that novel finally.
I’ve been to the doctor, a sleep psychologist, and a sleep clinic–nothing is physically wrong with me. My oxygen levels are at 100%. My sleep problems are purely mental. I’ve tried peppermint oil under the nose, a cup of cherry juice before sleeping, melatonin, baths before bedtime. I have tried cutting out screen time before going to sleep, I’ve tried going to bed earlier, I’ve tried staying up later. Anything I try is about as effective as putting out a fire by trying to cry on it.
I don’t know what to do about this insomnia thing, other than to just keep plowing through it. It’s like living with a chronic illness, I imagine. I feel like I have a personality disorder. It’s this crappy thing that I have to deal with, and I don’t really have any good reason for having written it all out here other than sometimes, you just gotta let it all out.
Maybe now I’ll have a good night of sleep?
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Salad with lettuce and stuff in it
Strawberry-rhubarb tart with whipped cream