I'm laying in bed with a flashlight wiggling my toes to watch their shadows move on the walls. One went to the market, one wants roast beef, and I'm just wondering why liquor stores don't have a delivery service.
...this is what my life has come to.
Obviously I'm exaggerating. This is not what my life has come to, it's simply one night where I chose to stay in and am now deeply regretting that decision. I hadn't even wanted to go out, but now that I'm stuck at home, all I want to do is leave. It's kind of like "the grass is greener on the other side," but this grass is a pint glass and it's full on the other side.
...I have insomnia. I've had insomnia since I was 17 years old, and within these last six years, I've found that there are only two cures: 1) alcohol; 2) death.
To me, "chronic insomnia" has a negative connotation. I think it should be renamed to something more alluring, but it's hard to come up with one word to make the life of an insomniac sound more glamorous.
"You have insomnia?"
"No. My eyes are just always open to the world."
"But you can't sleep, right?"
"No. I just choose to live every minute of life that I can."
"So you just stay awake all day and all night?"
"No. Gods stay awake all day and night."
"Draw your own conclusions."
"The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world." - Leonard Cohen
Many people seem to see insomnia as a bad thing. But was it bad for Abraham Lincoln? Vincent Van Gogh? Napoleon Bonaparte? Marilyn Monroe? Benjamin Franklin? Mark Twain? Franz Kafka? Name-droppers?
"Why are you still awake? It's 4 in the morning."
"I'm pretending to be Benjamin Franklin."
Imagine all the things that may not have occurred had these famous people not had insomnia. The lightning rod may have never been invented, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may have never been written, Vincent Van Gogh would still have his ear and Marilyn Monroe would of had a lot less sex. The world would not be the same.
"Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation." - Author unknown
The first thing my psychiatrist told me in high school was to eliminate caffeine from my diet.
"If you want to start sleeping, stop drinking coffee."
For anyone who drinks coffee as habitually as I do, you know this is the same thing as saying:
"If you want to stop having bowel movements, stop drinking coffee."
Basically, I had a choice between sleeping and shitting. I chose the latter.
Once my doctor realized that I was not going to give up caffeine, she started prescribing me things. We began with melatonin.
"It's a vitamin. It's natural."
You know what else is natural? The coca plant.
This didn't work, so we moved on to Trazodone.
"I'm putting you on an anti-depressant."
"But I'm not depressed."
"Not being able to sleep is a sign of depression."
Then Snow White must have been the happiest person in the world. And Prince Charming was just the asshole who ruined it for her.
After Trazodone failed to cure me, we finally moved on to the Big Girl stuff.
"I really didn't want to have to put you on Ambien, but we'll start you off with a small dosage and see how it goes."
This didn't work, either.
"Alright, we're going to up your dosage."
Still didn't work.
"Okay, I'm doubling your dosage."
It worked! Just kidding. It didn't. I just didn't want to sound so repetitive.
"So the Ambien still isn't working?"
"Nope. I'm only getting about an hour of sleep each night."
"Are we going to up the dosage?"
"No, I can't do that."
"Because Ambien is the strongest sedative out there. There are very dangerous side effects to taking too much."
"The most common things people do on Ambien, which they never remember because it makes you black out, is drive, eat, and have sex."
"So is this why I've gained so much weight?!"
"Do you think you've been sleep-eating?"
"I've woken up with a soggy, half-eaten Pop-Tart sticking out of my mouth for the past two weeks."
"Last night, I woke up to a mattress made of Pringles."
They must be serious about the "once you pop" thing. It's no fucking joke. It's crack in a can.
"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep." - Dale Carnegie
So here I am, six years older and a quarter of an inch taller, making shadow puppets with my feet. Or there I was, since now I am writing at my laptop. I just opened a Red Bull, as well, because I don't like to half-ass anything, and that includes insomnia. And my shadow puppets. They were some damn good shadow puppets. I made my toes resemble all kinds of things...lima beans, ear plugs, cap erasers, someone else's toes...I can't remember the rest. There were just so many.
"Dawn: when men of reason go to bed." - Ambrose Bierce
I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of my night, but I'm sure it will resemble the things I do during the day. Which does not include sleeping. Or Pop-Tarts.