Insomnia has been keeping me up at night. In younger days I slept like the proverbial baby–normally, restfully even, because I was sleeping. Now I think of restlessness while I toss, then turn, then toss then turn. My shrink prescribed Ambien, then suggested I don’t take it. I tried melatonin, yogic stretching, and multiple masturbation. I tried valerian root, then Xanax, then booze. Then Xanax and booze.
A typical work night might go something like this:
Pop a melatonin (I have no idea if this stuff works or if it is pure ritual) and a Benadryl (who knew my allergies would be a boon to my sleep maintenance!) and slip into bed confident that tonight will in fact be “the night.” Morpheus, my god of sleep and rest, I am yours. Time: 12:00 a.m.
12:25 a.m.: Have run through minute details of day’s work events twice, becoming more anxious with each passing moment.
12:43 a.m.: Run through minute details of next day’s probable work events, utilizing my last remaining optimistic brain cell, becoming more anxious with each passing moment.
1:17 a.m.: Calculate time left in sleep night if I fall asleep RIGHT NOW!
1:18 a.m.: Conclude I am deeply dissatisfied with time remaining for sleep.
1:50 a.m.: Ponder whether popping Ambien is right move.
2:10 a.m.: Calculate, utilizing my last remaining optimistic brain cell, time left to sleep versus effective duration of Ambien-induced narco-haze. Cell, although still optimistic, worries that Ambien will be effective too long and will leave me groggy for work in morning.
2:12 a.m.: Pop Ambien.
2:50 a.m.: Ambien not working.
2:53 a.m.: Last optimistic brain cell dead.
3:10 a.m.: Anxiously play out in mind antagonistic scenarios with coworkers that never materialize.
3:30-4:00 a.m.: Useless and silly Hippie breathing exercises pushing the “red” anxious air out as I exhale, and pulling in the calm “blue” air as I inhale. While report claiming that one cannot simultaneously fixate on the troubles of the day while performing Hippie breathing exercises proves true, mind instead fixated on thoughts about breathing exercises.
4:30 a.m.: Send desperate text message to Singaporean girlfriend 9,525 miles away concerning how bad “this fucking sucks.”
4:45 a.m.: Receive reply from Singaporean girlfriend saying, “Wish I could be there to give you a BIG HUG!”
4:45-5:515 a.m.: Think about big hugs whilst rotating in bed like a pig on spit, trying futilely to relieve aching neck muscles (which could use a big hug).
5:25 a.m.: First thought about pros and cons of being dead.
5:45 a.m.: Philosophically ponder how being dead is much like really, really good night’s sleep.
6:15 a.m.: Conclude that death ultimately hollow as sleep aid because you never get to appreciate restful feeling of “greeting the brand new day!”
6:30-6:45 a.m.: Deathly fearful of greeting this or any other “brand new day!”
7:00 a.m.: Have strange, fleeting, abstract thought that I can’t quite account for.
7:01 a.m.: Realize that I am half asleep and half awake.
7:05 a.m.: Fully and restfully (because I’m sleeping) asleep.
7:10 a.m: Alarm rings.
7:11 a.m.: Realize that I’ve been “greeting the brand new day!” for 7 hours and 6 minutes.