August 23, 2011

This is Insomnia

I used to wake up early.

I would relax and watch a show before bed, then I would have a drink of water, brush my teeth, use the restroom, and get into bed. And I would wake at least once more in the night to get another drink, brush my teeth, and use the restroom again.

Every night, for as long as I can remember.

Then I started having babies. And I would be up, and then baby would be up, and then it would be morning, and the whole cycle started over again.

Bit was okay, because I never really have needed a lot of sleep.

In the last few years though, the not sleeping has begun to have a life of it’s own.

It’s a little before six in the morning, which means that I have now been awake for more than two days.

Fully awake.

I tried laying down. I tried having a bath. I rubbed some oil on my feet, and then on my neck. I read a book. I folded some laundry. I read another book and took some sleeping pills, and still, nothing.

It’s the nothing that kills me.

Usually I try to fill the time with a quiet activity that doesn’t require much lighting.

Jobs like scrubbing the floors by hand. Washing down the walls. Oiling the cabinet doors. Folding the laundry.

There is a peacefulness in the tasks that at least allow me some sort of rest. The repetition soothes me… it gives me something to focus on besides the pain in my body.  I don’t think about how much my legs hurt, instead I begin to count.  I count the chains on the chandeliers, once and then twice. I count the floorboards, and the books on the shelf, and then slats on the wooden blinds. I could the seeds on the strawberries in the picture on the wall, because this is my rest.

My children will be waking soon. DadGuy will be headed to work. We will have kindergarten screenings and back to school shopping, and we’ll do all the typical family-type errands.

But it won’t be quite right, because I won’t be there enough. My body will be present, and so will my heart, but my mind will be watching the clocks count the minutes, as I try to distract myself from the fact that I haven’t slept. Tonight after dinner, I’ll encourage quiet time with books. We might watch a movie, as long as it’s not very exciting.

I’ll do everything in my power to facilitate rest, so that at the very worst, I can get to sleep, and at the very best, I can stay asleep.

Never being fully alive and never being fully awake… this is insomnia.