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battling sleep

October 25th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

There is no moment darker than the middle of the night, when some tiny slip of interference inserts itself through my consciousness and rouses me from a deep restful sleep. The worst part about most of these moments is that there is nothing happening outside the cocoon of my bed that needs my attention.

But there I lay, awake yet not awake. I’m exhausted and unable to fall back asleep, struggling to find the off switch to a high powered mind that never seems to want to stop moving. My thoughts don’t awaken me, but the moment my conscious mind senses ‘Awake’, the process begins to spin, dance and swirl. I’m on some weird lifetime sleep deprivation program, it seems. And there is no relief. The word ‘Insomnia’ hovers over me daily. But I adjust, surprisingly. My body has learned to make it through most any day, with or without the sleep it needs. I push through fatigue and churn out the energy needed, and sometimes, dinner is barely over and I know it will be one of those nights there I collapse in to bed far earlier than normal, the deprivation biting at my heels. There is only so much one can handle before total collapse. Blessedly, those nights are long and deep with good sleep and I awaken refreshed. I have no idea what it’s like to have that good sleep, night after night, to have the energy every single day that I possess after those marathon sleeps. What I could accomplish, were that the case.

Those moments, awake with myself in the night, aren’t all bitter and salt, forming a bad taste in my mouth. There is quiet, a subtle peace that comes in the midst of everyone else’s sleep, where I feel like I am the one being awake in a world unconscious. I can’t count the nights I’ve risen to stand at the bathroom window, listening to the owls outside, hooting for territory and mice, passing silently on feathery wings through the trees. When it’s intolerable, the awake state at 3:00am, I’ve risen to avoid the endless toss and turn, and in peace have sat in the darkness, enjoying a few moments with myself. I can open my computer and pour out my mind and release the thoughts that churn inside and then, finally, make my way back to bed, the warmth of my spouse and a sleepy cat or two and drift off. Thankfully those days are gone, and the conscious moments past midnight now are not so intense. Still, they come and I awake and I wonder what drew me from sleep so I listen to the house around me, the cats snoring, my husband breathing deep and peacefully. This is my life, whether it’s a imperfect slice, here in the pre-dawn utter darkness, or a moment of daytime that takes my breath away. This is what I have, and it’s me and a part of me, without fail. I manage to make it through, daily, on energy that I find from places I don’t know exist. And when the deprivation becomes too much and I can barely make it through dinner, I climb the stairs at far too early an hour and collapse, shutting the door behind me, drawing the quilt over my shoulders and settling, with a deep sigh, into the rare night of uninterrupted sleep.

I marvel at the energy I can grasp from these nights, incapable of realizing just how far I might go, how deep I could reach within me to release what I know is there, if only I had endless and consistent sleep.

It’s Tuesday. And you know that means Just Write is back.
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