I never thought that I would have anything in common with Michael Jackson, but it seems that I do. I have had insomnia for, at least, ten years now. Regularly, I may get at least 5 hours of sleep in a night. During a bout of insomnia, I may get 2 hours of sleep over the course of a few days or weeks. Even when I am sleep, I am rarely in a deep sleep. I wake up or am pulled from sleep multiple times in a night. After several days of staying up, I can crash and sleep for ten to twelve hours. I don’t ever remember having a restful sleep. I don’t remember waking up feeling well-rested. I generally wake up feeling more tired than when I went to sleep. I knew that something was wrong, but I thought it wasn’t a big deal and it was just the way I am.
When I was younger, I rarely wanted to go to sleep. I always thought I was missing something. As an adult, I found that I just can’t. Thoughts race through my mind and before long I am up doing something. If I happen to fall asleep and drift into a dream, before long, I feel my eyes opening as if someone is pulling me out of it. At one point, I tried to take sleep aids but they caused me to sleep through everything. I would miss appointments and was late for work because I was unable to wake up so I avoided them. Drinking became the alternative. When I needed to go to sleep, a glass of wine was my sleep aid. It worked, in only giving me a momentary deep slumber, before I was up again for days.
I used to manage it. It didn’t irritate me as much when I was younger because I had enough energy to do everything I wanted to do without sleep. Now, that I am getting older, it’s not working for me any longer. I found out that this is dangerous and I have been playing with it for way too long. Over the past month, I think I have slept a total of 5 good hours. My blood pressure is high and my moods have been all over the map. I wanted to sleep so bad that my mind began to tell me that I should take pills or do whatever necessary to get some sleep. I was so distraught that suicidal thoughts were whispering to me. I would do anything to get some rest. Normally, I would’ve known this thinking was crazy, but without rest, it made sense. All I wanted to do was get some sleep.
Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing”- Bill Cosby
I never realized that it was that bad. I never thought that missing sleep could push me to these depths. Now, I understand that much of what I have been struggling with is tied to my lack of sleep. I always felt like I was just an emotional person or a sad person and that is why I was on this journey to find positivity. I have discovered the missing link that I wasn’t even paying attention to. It’s more than just the challenge of getting over my past. My body is being robbed of sleep which is creating more problems in my life than I realized. I am locked in a vicious cycle of stress and sleep. The lack of sleep creates stress and the stress keeps me from sleeping. I’ve been like this so long that it’s my normal. So, I no longer know what my normal is.
I have a better understanding of Michael Jackson and other celebrities that we have lost. I can only guess that he was using the drugs to try to get a night’s rest. I can understand the desperation. There is no worse feeling than to want to sleep and to feel your body begging for it, but to never get comfortable enough to fall asleep. The feeling of your mind racing and sleep alluding you is horrible. I scared myself with these thoughts and the potential of where these thoughts could lead. I know that I can no longer tell myself that sleep is unnecessary and I can do without out it. The health issues are appearing and my moods are untrustworthy. I am committed to finding a way to do it safely. It’s now on my list of things to do. I’ve done a little research and it seems that women begin to lose melatonin in their twenties. Tonight, I will be taking some melatonin until I can find a regimen that works for me.
If you are not sleeping or suffer from insomnia, please take it seriously. Don’t be like me.
For more information on insomnia: Article, “The Waking Dead”
Side effects of Sleep Deprivation
- Loss of concentration and daydreaming
- Inability to remember tasks and information
- Excessive yawning
- Impatience and Irritability
- Feeling stiff
- Slowed reaction time
- Depression and mood disorders
- High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease