It's 2 a.m. on Thursday morning and I'm wide awake. The situation is pretty typical. My prolonged insomnia isn't picky. Monday or Saturday morning; it makes no difference. Heavy meal full of carbs and grease renders the same sleeplessness as a dinner of dark leafy greens, nuts and fish. Glass of wine or two versus only water, exercise over laziness, feeling stressed or completely relaxed; no matter what I do, I rarely get a successful night of sleep. I've been this way since I was a little girl and based on my paternal similarities (that I've also mentioned here and here) I'll be this way for the rest of my life.
Sleeplessness sometimes makes me think and do weird things. One early morning I sat awake in bed starring at my husband trying to figure out what part of his face was making this quiet rhythmic whistle. Fueled by a little bit of jealousy and certainly some irritation, I slowly began putting pressure over one nostril, then the other, realizing that it was actually his mouth. Thankfully I stopped before trying to obstruct his air passages anymore than I already had.
What's more annoying than an insomniac sharing a bed with a sound sleeper, and nearly suffocating said sleeper, is the terrible circular thought cycle. If you don't know about this, be thankful because once it starts in a wakeful sleep, it. will. never. stop. Think one word turning around and around again in your head for hours on end, or a single thought or experience from your day vividly repeating itself "Groundhogs Day" style. The fixation is unbreakable and becomes this surreal beast haunting you in the night. Scary!
Fear not. There are some upsides to insomnia. I love that my dog Duke can tell when I'm awake and always comes to keep me company. My breathing pattern changes as I wake and he comes lopping into the room and crawls sleepily beside me resting his head across my chest. I've rearranged my closet, finished books in just days and prepared lavish breakfasts. During warmer months I make a cup of tea and sit outside, sometimes watching the bats flutter about in darkness or catching the first rays of sunshine beam over the houses in my neighborhood. Winter is more challenging but headphones and Podcasts are a great thing.
Insomniacs can sometimes be grouchy, short-tempered, baggy-eyed, misunderstood, short attention-spanned zombies. But sometimes, we can simply be nocturnal and diurnal. Functioning in both worlds. Crazy people.