Insomniac Doze

Crazy bonus points for you if you get the reference in the title of this blog post.

A while back, I was seeing my doctor for something or other.  It was probably a sinus issue or something like that.  Anyway, she asked me how I slept, so I told her.  And she told me that it was bad.

Up until that point, I had always considered insomnia to be what they show in the movies.  Insomnia, I believed, was sitting on a couch, watching television in the wee morning hours because you couldn't fall asleep.  Apparently, I seemed to think that lying in bed meant that it wasn't insomnia.

Better yet, I did fall asleep at some point, it just took a few hours, so obviously that couldn't be insomnia.  Sure, I woke up more or less every hour and stayed awake for anything from five minutes to an hour before falling back to sleep, but I was still sleeping, right?

Apparently, normal human beings do not lie in bed for hours before falling asleep.  And, evidently normal human beings can sleep for many hours at a time without waking up.  Who knew?

So for some time now I've had a prescription for sleeping pills.  I try not to use them that often, but even when I don't, I end up self-medicating in some way.  I've got particularly sensitive sinuses, so it's not unusual for me to take benadryll at night, and that does a pretty decent job of getting me to fall asleep.  And, of course, there's alcohol, which might make it easier for me to fall asleep, but certainly doesn't give me real rest.

Every once in a while, I try sleeping with no chemical assistance and it all comes back.  Now that I know what it is, I see the pattern to insomnia very clearly.  It's a lot like the stages of grief:

Denial -- "It's not that late.  I can still get X number of hours of sleep.  It's fine."

Anger -- "Why the fuck can't I fall asleep?  I just want to sleep!  Why won't you let me sleep?"

Bargaining -- "I just need enough sleep to make it through the day and then tomorrow I'll go to bed super early."

Depression -- "The the sun is coming up.  My alarm will go off in two hours.  I want to cry."

Acceptance -- "I've done it before, I can do it again."

I don't know what the usual causes of insomnia are.  I suppose it's probably stress.  I know, for me, it's the fact that my brain won't stop.  I usually have about a dozen thoughts every two minutes, and those thoughts seem to create some kind of kinetic energy in my head.  The only way to stop it, generally speaking, is with chemicals.

The upside to insomnia is that I'm in good shape when Nicole and I have kids.  I'm not really going to lose sleep because you can't lose something you don't have.