Recently I have been troubled with insomnia. This is one of the cruelest forms of ailment for me, as I am a self -confessed lover of sleep. When I was a teenager I could easily sleep sixteen hours a day, often coming home from school and taken a nap of several hours. My parents told me I would grow out of it, but I never did. Over the years I have mentioned my sleep-proneness to many doctors and have been given many explanations : anemia, written loss, growing pains, social adjustment issues, autoimmune issues… the diagnosis keep coming and yet the symptoms stay the same.
So insomnia is an entirely new thing for me. Well, not entirely new, I had a period in university when I also struggled to sleep, but I wrote it off to homesickness. One thing I have learner from insomnia is that I am a dysfunctional tired person. I literally fail to function. I am cranky, hungry, irrational, and emotional if I have any less than seven hours sleep. Currently I am lucky to get three or four “real” hours of sleep a night.
You see, now I am a “real” adult I have that terrible oppressive and dreaded thing called a routine: get up at 6.45, drive to work at 7.15, home by 6pm, dinner by 7.30, bedtime at 10.45. Our household follows these rules whether my brain plays along or not. So at 11pm each night for the past many, many nights I have been in bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to my husbands and hounds reap the slumber-based benefits of a body on a routine.
So as to not upset the balance of sleep for my family it is important to keep sound and movement to a minimum, so I have passed the time as best as I know how – listening to my breathing and trying not to stimulate my brain with anything as radical as a thought.
Most of the time I fail. After realising what an erratic breather I am (something many people have told me in my life but I always considered exaggerated), I have spent my insomnia doing the following things: planning my novel for nanowrimo (its coming along nicely), panicking about nanowrimo (its a pretty big project, y’all), reading (thanks kindle fire), learning how to proficiently use a touch screen keypad for large chunks of text (this blog post is proof of that.. thanks again to my kindle fire), and making a mental list of all the things I plan to do the following day / week / year.
So, as far as my own breathing goes, my conclusion is this : I know this question is supposed to encourage people to slow down and take more time to be introspective, but forced introspection is a terrible thing, especially when doing so jealously listening to the contented snores of three blissfully dreaming bed-dwellers.