Unrequited Sleep

My body kept me awake until 8am this morning. No really, I’m not exaggerating – I wish I were. Last night, I lay me down to sleep round about midnight as usual, and proceeded to lie there… for 8 hours! The previous night, I also lay awake far longer than normal, but 5 hours of counting sheep seems slightly less ridiculous when you imagine staying awake against your will until both the sun and the entire productive world have fully risen. Even my cat gave up on me eventually and drifted off to her own mouse-filled neverland, cozily curled up against my restless legs. All the house was still, the usual late night bass from down the hall having retired some time ago, and the only remaining sound to keep me company now was the ticking second hand of my wall clock.

And I mean, I tried everything. I tried not thinking, I tried not thinking about not thinking. Then I tried actually letting myself think, about anything and everything I could think of. I tried breathing deeply. I tried counting my breaths. I even tried the good old reliable sheep counting. Nothing worked. Daydreaming usually does the trick for me, quieting all the other voices in my head and letting me drift into another fantastical world. But even that failed me last night.

Last night, I was being punished. Though I honestly can’t say what for. See, I’ve been getting a solid 10 hours of sleep nearly every night for the last two weeks. I’ve been faithfully going to bed by 12 or 1am each night, and waking around 10 or 11am each morning. I was paying off my very large long-standing sleeping debt, appealing to the slumber bookies. I was trying to get my health back on track, do good by my body for once. And this is what I get? This is how I’m rewarded for actually trying to take care of myself? You might as well just end the foreplay now and tell me that it’s hopeless, that I’ll be a weak miserable wretch the rest of my life.

Well about 5am, I saw the pattern from the night before repeating itself, and I decided I had to do something. So I reluctantly rose (for as awake as I was, I was still extremely weary) and attempted to occupy myself in the hopes of tiring. I signed online, found the one friend still awake and tried to engage in some friendly chatter. I went to the kitchen to consider a (very) late night snack. I went to the bathroom and re-brushed my teeth. I danced around my room like a marionette in the hands of an epileptic. I must have looked like a complete fool, but I had to do something! I don’t know how long I went on. But when I finally ran out of fresh ideas, I slumped back to bed, nestled deep into those familiar flannel sheets, and closed my eyes.

And still nothing! Not even the slightest faded feeling. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever fall asleep again. I’m lying here, physically exhausted, mentally wiped, psychologically drained, and now I’m actually starting to imagine that I’ll be stuck like this forever. I don’t know what else I can do. It’s maybe the first time in a very long time that I’ve felt unequivocally utterly lost and alone. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like all your hard work, all the hopes you harvested, all the time you’ve invested, all of it was worth nothing? All is wasted in the end and can no more bring you solace than a fish can fly. You are what you are ever and always, and no amount of desperate effort can change that. In this moment, and the lifetime of moments ahead of me, I will forever be an incomplete restless soul.

I suppose that’s the message I’m supposed to take from this. No matter how hard I may grit my teeth and brave through the labyrinth of my twisted mind, no matter how long I try to give my body rest, in the end I will still be the same person with the same defects and the same unrequited dreams.

It’s all worth nothing… And if nothing is at stake, then nothing can be lost. So to be lost myself is to have nothing to lose, and thus everything to gain. I know that may make no sense, but I was up till 8am this morning, so you’ll have to forgive me.

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